In part one, I wrote to you about loving the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might (Deut. 6:5) and how we might use Dennis Hollinger’s paradigm of Head, Heart & Hands to help us understand what it means to live out that love in our everyday life.
In this part, I want you to consider how to recognize expression of faith through your head, heart and hands so that you can begin to identify the area you tend to emphasize the most. Chances are, you will find one of these areas of faith expression most comfortable and natural, while it is likely another area will seem difficult and perhaps even foreign to your experience.
Believers who have a faith of the head tend to view Christianity as “beliefs, doctrines, and ethical understandings–a worldview to which one adheres” (17). Conversion is viewed as primarily a transformation of the way we think and the key to spiritual growth as gaining a right knowledge of the Word of God resulting in a truly Biblical worldview. The Christian who has a faith of the head tends to assume that once the thinking is set right, everything else will fall into place.
Those who hold a faith of the heart view Christianity primarily in terms of passions, affections, and deep spiritual experiences. To them, conversion is encountering God in such a “deeply personal, living, dynamic fashion… that feelings and inclinations of the heart are forever changed” (21). Spiritual growth is seen as an increasing awareness of the presence of God within, resulting in one’s thinking and actions being brought into line with the will of God and the releasing of the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
Christians with a faith of the hands stress action as the pivotal element of the Christian experience. Conversion is a decision of the will evidenced by “exchanging… an old way of life for new patterns of existence within the world” (27). They would say a genuine relationship with Christ is evidenced by action, particularly acts of proclamation (witness or evangelism), or presence (acts of service, justice, and mercy).
Which of these expressions of faith comes most naturally to you? Can you see the value of each of the three areas as an expression of loving God with all our heart, soul, and might? Next month we will consider the consequences of emphasizing one area of our faith to the neglect of another and finally we will discuss practical ways in which we can nurture all the areas of our faith in order to express a balanced love of God.
“If thought (head), passion (heart) and action (hands) are significant for the Christian life, it should be evident in the personal and corporate life of believers.” Dennis Hollinger
[All quoted text is from Dennis P. Hollinger’s book, Head, Heart, & Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion and Action. Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press. 2005.]