One of the first things we teach small children is to identify parts of their bodies by pointing. “Where is your head? Where are your hands? Where is your heart?” But those questions ask us to reflect on a deeper reality too, as adults. Who or what is it that we love, that we serve, that we worship?
These three words—head, heart and hands—represent three important areas of human personality. When Jesus commands us to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, he is asking us to make a full surrender of our emotions, intellect and will to God. The heart represents emotion, the head represents our intellect, the hands represent our will. True surrender to God includes surrender of the emotions, the intellect and the will.
When I ask “Where is your head, heart and hands?”, I am really asking, “To what or to whom have you surrendered your intellect (head), your emotions (heart), and your will (hands)?”
Learning that informs the mind
We are commanded to surrender our mind to Christ. Christ has commanded us to love God with all of our mind. Our ‘mind’ is the centre of reason, the vehicle of thinking. To love God with our head is to respond to God with our intellect. Through his Holy Spirit, Christ enables the believer to ‘have the mind of Christ within him”. To love God with one’s mind is to think God’s thoughts after him. A committed Christian is one whose life is being transformed by the daily renewing of their mind.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Temptation attacks the mind first, then the emotions, and finally the will. The Scripture exhorts us to guard our minds. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:5) The psalmist tells us to meditate upon God’s word day and night. And Isaiah 26:3 says, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you”.
We need to fix our minds on God. We need to ensure that the things we think about, dwell on and focus on bringing glory to him, that we take every thought captive to Christ and that we seek to wrestle with all content and intellectual ideas through the lens of scripture.
At Illawarra Christian School we are about learning that instructs the mind. Learning that informs students about the world they live in, learning that helps them to understand maths, geography, languages, history and science. But we also want to look at God’s world with biblically-informed eyes. We want our students to be robust in mind and thought and equipped for intellectual conversation and rigour, while taking every thought captive to Christ and loving him with all our mind.
Learning that informs the heart
Our ‘heart’ is the centre of emotions and affections, the vehicle of feeling. To love God with our heart is to respond to God with our affections, made possible because of Christ and through the gift of his Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5 says: “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”.
The covenant love we’re called to must be wholehearted, life-encompassing, community-impacting, exclusive commitment to our God. And this God is our God only because he has now revealed himself to us, in the person of his son Jesus.
God commanded us to love him absolutely, but he is well aware that we, in ourselves, aren’t even capable of such love. We need to realise that when God makes a demand, his intention is that he himself would come to meet that demand for us. Our love for God actually originates from God himself. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.”
Learning that informs the will
Christ also has commanded us to love him with our hands (with all our soul). The ‘hands’ are the expression of our wills, the vehicle of acting.
To love God with our hands is to respond with our wills. Through his Holy Spirit, Christ is able to help believers to do those things which are pleasing to God. God is at work within believers, helping us to want to obey him, and then helping us to do it. Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.”
The proper result of an emotional and intellectual response to God’s love is a strong commitment to God’s will.
Looking at the world through biblical lens
At Illawarra Christian School we want to look at God’s world with a biblical lens. We see each child as an image bearer of God—unique, loved, gifted and full of potential. We want our students to be robust in mind, heart and character, with a vision for living beyond themselves—a vision that is grounded in a clear understanding of who they are in God’s world.
Our vision statement reads:
Illawarra Christian School strives to be a dynamic Christ-centred learning community where students are nurtured to be curious, courageous and compassionate life-long learners who transform the communities in which they live.
We want to be a school community known for our total surrender to God—in head, in heart and hands. We strive for learning that instructs the mind, shapes the heart and equips the hands. We want to inspire our students with the courage and conviction to shape the world in which they live rather than being shaped by it.
2020 is our school’s biggest year yet. We have 608 students enrolled between Kindergarten and Year 12, 50 Prep children and 91 staff. We welcome many new students and families to our school community. Thank you to our returning families for your continued partnership with us and welcome to all those new to ICS. I look forward to partnering with you all this year.