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Student Pastor at Bay Park writing and sharing content connected to discipleship at our student ministry.
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The popular mentality of North America in 2017 encourages us to seek personal happiness as the highest priority in our lives. This encourages a lifestyle where your emotions become the dominating force.
For example, stop and ask yourself: How am I feeling today? Are you grumpy? Tired? Thrilled? Bored? If you have experienced positive emotions so far today you will probably stop call this a "good day" when it's over. Likewise, if you are experiencing negative emotions this will be dubbed a "bad day." Your emotions are driving how you categorize the success of your day, and ultimately your life.
This is not wrong. It just goes to show that the younger generation is primarily emotionally-driven.
From a Christian perspective, God gifted you with your emotions. Sometimes they're out of whack, susceptible to human error as well as biological and circumstantial conditioning. But, overall, they're from God. But that's not it! God did not create you simply as emotional being, you are also a material, spiritual, and intellectual creation. This means we cannot gage our relationship with God solely based on emotions. Anyway, the current mental health crisis shows us emotions cannot be trusted 100% of the time.
Although it is important to grow an emotional relationship toward God (a sentimental affection toward him) we also need to develop an intellectual, spiritual, and active relationship with him. Jesus tells us this, quite bluntly.
In Luke 10:27 Jesus encourages us,
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind."
Imagine any relationship, like a happy couple or best friends. If these two people in the relationship only ever express emotion and affection, it will be an empty relationship! You need to know the person--and continue to the know the person better--to grow your emotional connection with them.
To put it briefly, we need to grow our relationship with God by loving him with our hearts (growing affection), with our souls (connecting on the spiritual level), with our strength (serving him actively), and, finally, with our minds (getting to know him intellectually).
This last one is what we are focusing on this year in the student ministry.
Think of apologetics as studying God and his creation so that you can get to know who God is on a deeper level. Then, much like when you tell people about your best friend's personality, you can tell other people about who God is and why you believe he is this way even though you have never seen him.
Apologetics, or, knowing God and explaining God, is not just for smart people, pastors, or philosophers. Apologetics is for anyone who needs to grow in "loving God with all their mind," which is... everyone.