So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-10)
As I read this passage again this morning, my eye caught that phrase to 'use your head and test your feelings'. I guess I never really saw that before, or maybe I just needed to see it this morning. Using your head means you actually think before you act or say something. As I was prayerful on my walk this morning, the idea of how much division is all around us in this world right now kept coming to mind. Division in the government; between churches; and even between those we used to call friends. Why? Masks, vaccines, political parties, governmental policies, and the list goes on. We have found hundreds of things to be entirely divisive over these days and to be totally truthful here - most of what we are quibbling over isn't going to matter when we stand before Christ. Use your head - think things through - what will it take for you and I to become peace-makers in this divided world?
The answer is two-fold: 1) we spend some time gaining the perspective of the other person (using our heads); and 2) we test our feelings (not just responding to every one that emerges). Using our heads means there is 'cognition' involved in our responses, while testing our feelings indicates that there is indeed an emotional response to everything we think or hear. Lots of people would say using your head is the most important lesson here because it will lead to more 'tangible' or consistent results. I agree somewhat, but I also believe if we don't balance our 'head' with our 'heart' we will live with all kinds of regret in this world. The older generation would say we are to use our heads more because of the reliability factor we attain when we do. The younger generation may be more inclined to follow their hearts because they have been taught to do so by societal norms.
Balance is needed - we cannot just use our heads and ignore our emotions. We cannot rely upon how we are 'feeling' in the moment and totally dismiss the sensibilities only our brains can truly comprehend. We need both - think because you care - care enough about others to really think before you act or react. When we do this, we live in such a way so as to see bountiful fruits produced from the soul. Soul = mind, will, and emotions. What we may need more of today is balance - so fruits are born out of our thinking and our feeling. Trust between friends, neighbors, and countrymen isn't rebuilt without both being in action. Just sayin!