For those who’ve read this blog for a while, you already know that I love to travel. I’m a “it’s not the destination but the journey” type of person. It doesn’t entirely matter where I’m headed per se’. I just like the adventure of going. I’m even one of those crazy people who enjoy going to the airport no matter how busy it may be. While I’m sitting there waiting for my own flight to depart, I’m imagining all of the other passengers on their trip and where they may be headed. I will admit that I still love the normalcy and comfort of home. There’s just something special about visiting new places and seeing amazing sights along the way.
Our walk or journey as a Christian is much the same way. To play off the name of my blog, we must certainly have faith in order to be pleasing to God, but we must also realize that we’re on a journey of faith as well. What’s unique about this particular trip of faith is that it’s the longest and yet shortest journey we’ll ever take. Longest in the sense that we are on a lifelong journey of discovery, learning more about God and becoming more Christ-like every day. But it’s also the shortest trip as you’ll see in this post.
It is approximately 17 inches from the top of my head to the center of my chest. How do I know? Well, I actually measured it. While you’re imagining what that may have looked like, go ahead and pull out a tape measure and take the same measurement on yourself. Got it? Good, because that distance is equal to the shortest trip you will take in your lifetime.
Now, I know that may sound confusing, but follow me for a second. When we first have a Bible study or hear the good news of the gospel message, that information takes root in our mind and hopefully in our heart as well. For those whose heart calls them into obedience to the gospel, it’s an emotional time of rejoicing and commitment. Soon after, we find ourselves wanting to study the Bible more, wanting to share our story with others, and wanting to grow more like Christ in our behavior.
What I’ve found with longtime Christians is that, in the process of reading God’s word and attending Bible classes, in the process of attending worship on Sunday and going about our business the rest of the week, we sometimes forget to continue to move our understanding and belief of God and his word from our mind to our heart. It’s such a short distance, but sometimes it’s a long trip. Nevertheless, that trip from mind to heart is the most important journey we make as Christians.
All throughout God’s word, we are reminded that God wants our hearts. From the greatest commands (Matthew 22:36-40) to how we give (2 Corinthians 9:7) and treat others (Matthew 25:34-40), God wants us to put our heart into our worship and service for him. It’s simply not good enough to hang your hat on your Bible knowledge or your perfect church attendance record. That’s taking Christianity away from the relationship it’s meant to be and making it about following rules and checking off boxes. Instead, we should be changed at the heart level (Hebrews 4:12).
Another important aspect of taking the journey of moving God from our mind to our heart is that it will cause us to move from belief to action. Examples abound of good Christian people who only practice their religion on Sunday mornings, but God has called us to do much more than that.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
(James 2:14-18, 24)
Looking at the above passage of Scripture, we can clearly see that God must be in the mind and heart. Both are needed to have faith and both are needed to have deeds. Verse 20 rings especially loudly when we examine that which justifies us in the eyes of God. Our heart must be active in serving God if we wish to have salvation.
So I want to invite you to take a journey with me. If you’re already a Christian, great! If you’re actively spending time learning more about God and his will for your life, outstanding! Keep up the good work. But make sure your knowledge and love of God is taking root in your heart as well. Make every effort to prune out the negative influences in your life that may get in the way. And enjoy the journey. It’s the most edifying one you’ll ever take.