“You must be in your right mind to really preach.”
That goes without saying, you might think. But what the speaker meant is that preaching has to come from the right side of the brain—the affective, feeling part.
That is not to say that preaching has to be all emotion. But it must involve emotion. Left-brained preaching is about what to know. Preaching that also draws on the right brain is about what to do with what you know.
I suggest that we must also be in our “right mind” to live the way we ought. That too seems to go without saying. But it is actually another way of stating James’s famous words: “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
God desires authentic living—feeling and embracing the truth as well as knowing the truth. He wants us in our right minds as well as our left. As a denomination, we have sometimes paid so much attention to our left mind that our right mind gets left out.
We can learn a lesson from the apostle John. I’ve read that in his New Testament writings, John uses the verb “believe” some 98 times, but the noun “belief” only once. For John, faith is not simply something to have; it is something to do. Faith puts us in our right minds.
That’s never been more important than it is today. True faith must affect how we live, how we behave. “What good is it . . . if someone claims to have faith but has not deeds? . . . Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14, 17). You see, left-brained living is not only deficient. If we are not in our right minds, we’re dead!
The ministry of Faith Alive Christian Resources helps enable us to be in our right minds. Materials for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, help us to live out what we believe.
Curriculum materials encourage leaders, children, and young people to put their faith into practice. Bible study materials help us find our place in God’s story. Devotionals lead us day by day into faithful living. Evangelism tools help us reach out into our neighborhoods and communities with the Word that has so changed our lives. Music enables us to give voice to our praise. Study guides help us structure ourselves for ministry. All are designed to put us in our right minds.
It is not that this material is better than all others. It is, rather, that this material arises out of a Reformed understanding of Scripture and the conviction that everything and everyone belongs to God, and all of us must live every moment and everywhere for God. You can trust these authors and educators and composers and advisers to make every effort to help you live in your right mind as well as your left. Faith Alive: the agency’s name is a statement of its mission.
Let’s thank God for the many dedicated people who make this agency and its products such a valuable resource. I ask you to join me in praying that God will bless and use them. I challenge us all to live and learn and worship in our right minds (as well as our left) so that others might have a faith alive like ours!