A Humble Mind
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. ~1 Peter 3:8 (italics mine)
A humble mind is a rare thing. More common today are the dogmatic mind or the apathetic mind, where, respectively, one is so sure of himself that he stands blindly on the rock of his opinion or one does not care enough to think at all. Everyone loathes the dogmatic mind, even the dogmatic one himself. (Picture the news pundit that annoys you the most - that's a dogmatic mind.) The apathetic mind is less intrusive and many of us will have to do some introspection to know whether or not we may fit in this category.
Here are some attributes of a person with an apathetic mind:
- They blindly accept a worldview given to them by a political party.
- When questioned on their positions, they become defensive and retreat or lash out.
- They troll social media feeds or news sources and consume information shallowly.
- They don't care about much at all.
Most of us have a mixture of apathetic and dogmatic tendencies. We are sure of ourselves in some regards and we are sure to accept the opinions of others as our opinions on other matters.
But Scripture shows us another way: the humble mind.
I read the verse above (1 Peter 3:8) days ago and have not been able to stop thinking about it. There is something that resonates about the concept of a humble mind in today's world, with a flurry of news and elections and what not. This is worth exploring.
We know what a humble mind is not. It is not a proud mind. So the humble-minded person cannot be dogmatic or obnoxious nor can he hold himself as the ultimate standard of truth. Looking at the opposite of these, we can deduce that a humble-minded person would be open to reason and peaceable (James 3:17) if he has wisdom from above. The humble-minded person understands that he has much reason to be humble because there is an ultimate standard of truth - and it isn't him.
This is what the stoic philosophers got right. In stark contrast to the relativists of today, who claim truth is based upon individual experience, the stoics understood truth was something to be sought. The stoics used reason on their quest to find the truth. The sky is blue, not green, even if you think it's green. A humble mind accepts ultimate truth and goes after it and when he finds it, he lays hold of it.
A humble mind is not a passive mind. Jesus was a thinker and reasoned with people. Humility is an acceptance of one's limits, not a call to passivity. A humble mind seeks and searches and learns.
The truths of God are at once simple and beyond comprehension. The Trinity, for example, is a concept easy enough to draw with a Venn Diagram yet it is a concept so hard to grasp that we could go on for an eternity thinking about it. The same goes for soteriology (how we are saved). God gives us the morsels to consume with our mind so they bed down deep in our hearts, where belief lies and where faith flourishes. But we don't have all the answers.
It is a foolish thing to speculate why God does something but I'll do just that - I think God gave us a humble mind because we are made for eternity. We are made to learn, seek, observe, and as a culmination of the aforementioned, worship. This goes on forever into eternity. Our mind is a tool of worship, not an information processor.
If we intake information into our minds so it can sit there like a library shelf, we waste our minds. Our minds, when used properly, are in service to worship of God. And that gives value to the mind - and for that matter, value to life itself. If that's too vague, here is what I mean: we think with our brains because we were made to explore the depths of the goodness of God.
So let us seek the glory of God with a humble mind. Let us reason and learn and explore our King with the minds He has given us. That's what they are there for.