November 19, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Jabez Yeo who is now a friend of AMI, was first posted on November 19, 2016.  He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (B.S.) and Columbia International University where he studied Islam (M.A.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“A Great Theologian Better Known for His Devotions to God”

Matthew 22:35-7

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

One component to loving God with our mind is expanding and developing it.  Much in the same way that lifting weights can develop muscles, grappling with difficult concepts can sharpen our minds, which is the subject of today’s devotional.  Don’t throw in the towel too early; stay with it and both your mind and your heart will be enriched (P. Ryun). 

In the 4th century A.D., the church fought for true worship against the heresy of Apollinarianism, whose founder Apollinarius proposed that humans are composed of three aspects: body, soul, and spirit. Thus, according to Apollinarius, Jesus was divine in that the Logos took the place of a spirit in Him; but that His body and soul were human (i.e. “God in a body”).

In response, Gregory of Nyssa rose to combat this heresy because he saw it undermining salvation: If Jesus’ humanity was not complete, then our human nature could not be fully saved through Him. In his writings, Gregory argued from a place of humility, as he always reminded his readers, that ultimately God’s essence is transcendent (i.e., beyond this world).  Gregory then went on to explain that in Christ, there are two “what” (i.e. full divinity and full humanity) and one “who” (i.e. Jesus Himself); but in the Trinity, there are three “who” (i.e. Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and one “what” (i.e. full divinity). For Gregory, the “key to unlocking but not destroying the mystery of the Trinity and Jesus Christ is the distinction between whatness and whoness”

Interestingly enough, Gregory is widely known not for his theological contributions but for his devotional life. When he wasn’t combating heresies, Gregory “wrote many reflections and commentaries on Scripture, most notably on Moses, the Lord’s Prayer, the Song of Songs, and the Beatitudes.”  For Gregory, Christianity was not just a religion of sound doctrine but also of full heart and spirit engagement.  When historians reflect on Gregory’s life, many believe that his most important contributions to Christianity were in the areas of spirituality and biblical vision, as opposed to doctrine.

It is a common struggle to worship God with one part of ourselves but not others. As we enter into service today, let’s seek to worship God with everything we have, because He is worthy. From this day forward, let’s aim to pour out our hearts, souls and minds to Him.  

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are worthy of everything that I have. All that I have is from You, and You have given me much more than I ever deserve. Help me to fully worship You today and from this day forward. May You be the only One to receive my worship and adoration. In Your Name I pray. Amen

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 8