July 22, 2009

Head and Heart

Our problem is that we tend to fall to one extreme or the other. We can continue adding to our list and expanding our definitions of these attributes without ever engaging or responding to God. We perceive (and too often take pride in) that we are learning more and deepening our knowledge of God. Or we can take a cursory, superficial look at the list, nod our assent or dismiss the “head knowledge,” and seek an experience or emotional peak that is deeper than just mere words or doctrines. Both of these approaches start with a correct but incomplete perspective.

One overvalues, the other undervalues God’s propositional revelation as a key part of His personal revelation. We need both His written Word and the incarnate Word. Unfortunately, the two extreme views often appear to be reactions to each other. Superficial disregard of doctrinal truth drives us to more emphasis on theological clarity. Cold, impersonal theological outlines seem unimportant and anemic compared to the prospect of an encounter with the Subject and Object of the doctrines.

Burroughs understood that the primary way we begin to see God’s glory this side of heaven is through His revealed attributes described in Scripture. God may choose to grace His servants with more direct manifestations of His glory through a vision or extraordinary gift. But those expressions of His Character and His Being and His Nature are more direct demonstrations of those attributes that Burroughs sees as the source of our enjoyment of God.

God is obviously free to sovereignly, graciously grant whatever experience of Himself He chooses to give to a believer. But it seems presumptuous to seek those more dramatic expressions of His glory if we have neglected (if we have not ardently, fervently pursued) His revelation in Scripture. Only arrogance or audacity would lead a beggar to expect a banquet and ignore the nutritious but simple fare he has been provided.

The attributes of God need to be studied in our personal Quiet Time and proclaimed from pulpits until they become a part of our thinking about who God is.

Author Unknown

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