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Friday, March 24, 2017

What is your IQ?

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15 NLT)

I have met some very "intelligent people" as the world would label them - great at math, science, the study of human language, etc. Yet, in the very short span of about 20-30 minutes, I can see also see how very "unintelligent" they might be where it comes to using common sense and the ability to "relate" to others at a deep and meaningful level. A high "IQ" doesn't guarantee you have common sense - nor that you use it. It also doesn't ensure you can be very "good at" relating to others. The most "intelligent" people I have met are those who aren't so much consumed with learning that comes from the lesson books, or even the study of a particular subject matter until they master it, but that they are committed to developing and using common sense - understanding where it applies to how they first relate to God and then to each other.

As our passage implies, we are to be "always ready" to learn - especially when it concerns our relationship with Christ. I have not been very good at this at times, sort of making a mess of things when it comes to maintaining close and personal contact with him. Whenever this is the case, I tend to drift into a place of feeling a little out of control. One might think that is kind of contradictory, for to remove myself from his control is to take control myself. The truth is that control doesn't belong with me --- I don't know how to handle all life throws my way and I don't want to handle it alone! I might be open to learning, but one of the biggest things I have learned is that we belong in deep, personal, and growing relationship with Jesus. Every attempt to live otherwise is just not wise, nor is it going to produce the outcomes we really want!

Always ready to learn reflects a continual state of both mind and heart. We don't learn with just one or the other - we really learn best when our mind and heart are equally engaged in the process. My mind has frequently been ready way ahead of my heart - especially when it comes to relationship matters. How about yours? There have been times when my heart and mind are in such conflict there can be no real progress made. How about yours? Learning is most effective when it is done with both the readiness of heart and mind that opens us up to what God intends to do, how he wants to move us, and when it is we are to move. In this sense, God is asking us to use our common sense to not respond merely with the heart, nor solely with the mind's understanding - he wants us to keep these two aligned.

Most of us battle this same issue - keeping that perfect alignment of heart and mind - allowing the Spirit of God within to guide us into all learning and help us with each step we take. We aren't "good at" this learning thing all of the time, nor are we going to do well if we are always lean toward one side or the other (mind or heart). Balance is needed. The pivotal thing which brings balance between these two is the Spirit of God within us. To remain well-balanced on this pivot, we need constant refocusing --- so the weight we give on the side of mindful intelligence doesn't outweigh the weight we place on heartfelt devotion. Just sayin!