Spirit and Intellect
By Alan Wright — August 13, 2019
When you are filled with the Spirit, you don’t lose your mind!
I’ve been around traditions that value the Spirit but not so much the mind. I’ve also been in Christian circles that value the mind but pay little attention to the Holy Spirit. But God places value on both. In fact, God draws us and grows us up in different ways.
Some people are moved to Christ through a thoughtful, meditative process of the Spirit revealing truth to the intellect. Others come to Christ by glorious interventions from the Spirit. It matters not how you come.
Over two decades ago, when I began ministry at Reynolda Church as a young man, I immediately discovered a sub-surface tension in the congregation between those who valued charismatic experiences of the Spirit and those who valued deep thought in the Word. Some hoped that I would lead the church toward much more freedom in the Spirit with plenty of expressions of the gifts of the Spirit, while others hoped that I would lead the church in a diligent commitment to meditation in the Word.
It was Christmastime and, as I was preparing to teach one Wednesday night, the Lord showed me something beautiful in the Christmas stories that settled much of the tension in the congregation. I noticed how differently the shepherds and magi came to Christ. The shepherds experienced a sudden, supernatural visitation and, with haste, they ran to find the babe. The magi, on the other hand, were quite thoughtful. Because they were students of the skies, they saw something in the heavens that no one else saw. Their trip was long, methodical and meditative. Exuberant shepherds and contemplative scholars both visited the young Christ.
I realized that I had come into a church (like all churches) that had some shepherds and some magi. I realized that God deliberately drew the shepherds in one way and the magi in another. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you come to Christ by a supernatural moment of glory or a thoughtful process. God just wants you near.
When you realize that the Holy Spirit doesn’t shut off the mind but, instead, brings clarity to the intellect, you can surrender to Him without fear. And that’s the Gospel!