I am preaching from Luke 10:38-42 this Sunday. It is the account of Jesus at the home of Lazarus with Martha and Mary. Often times it is allegorized, making Mary an example of quietism and Martha an example of activism. In this way, the story has been used as a means to justify a mystical approach to spirituality. It is an approach that often elevates the emotions over the mind, the intuitive over the rational.
We need to be careful, however, to not perpetuate a heart-mind polarity as if the heart and mind are in competition with one another. Is not the greatest commandment that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? There is no reason why truth should not be passionate and emotion void of rationality.
How do those of us who live in our moment of redemptive history “sit at the feet of Jesus” as Mary did? Is it not through the means of Scripture? Is it not the Scriptures that point us to Christ from first to last? What is more, the Scriptures speak both to our mind and emotions.
Peter Adam, in his book Hearing God’s Words writes, “Because spirituality has been associated with the heart rather than the mind, it has tended to neglect the value of theological insight and rational debate…So there is a recognizable trend in spirituality…to avoid language that includes clear content, information, evaluation and argument” (p. 163).
The Word of God provides us with both the content and through the power of the Holy Spirit the passion of our spirituality. This is why our spirituality must center on the Scriptures. Clear theology is the not the enemy of passionate spirituality.
B.B Warfield the great 19th century theologian and champion of inerrancy captured the right approach to the spirituality of the Bible when he wrote:
“You must taste of it preciousness for yourselves, before you can apply it to others’ needs. You must assimilate the Bible and make it your own, in that intimate sense which will fix it words fast in your hearts, if you would have those words rise spontaneously to your lips in your times of need, or in times of the needs of others. Read, study, meditate…until the Bible is in you. Then the Bible will well up in you and come out from you in every season of need.”