My Grandfather was a Salvation Army officer for many years. One of his favourite themes was the difference between what he termed “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge”. We spoke at length about it just a week or so before he went home to be with God, or as the Salvation Army puts it was “Promoted to Glory”.
It’s something I’ve been mulling over for over 15 years now as he died in the 1990’s. He was a very passionate man who did what he could to truly live his Faith in everything he did – with the possible exception of repairing his motorbike, when his language was less than holy.
He differentiated between what we comprehend in our intellect and what we truly believe. It was a revelation to me when we discussed it. Knowing about faith and having Faith are not the same thing. We need to do more than understand with our minds. It needs to permeate every part of our being, become so much a part of ourselves that we can’t experience a day without experiencing God in what we do and say.
Head knowledge and heart knowledge are what James refers to when he says even the demons know there’s one God. Knowing simply isn’t enough, ew must make that knowledge a part of us.
The truth alone cannot free us. It is only the Truth we know in our hearts that can liberate us from poverty, sickness and walking a dead life in this world. That’s not to say we don’t need to understand with our minds, rather that we need to understand with our full beings, transformed by the renewal of our hearts and minds on a daily basis by the presence of God.
Perhaps as Christmas draws closer this year it’s a chance for us to begin to renew our minds. Really think about what we’re really celebrating. Not a transcendental baby glowing on a bed of hay, but God Himself coming into a war-zone to take back from Satan what had been stolen and restore a true Relationship with His children.
It’s something to hold in our hearts this Christmas.