“We would not have you ignorant,” Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 4:13). He was referring specifically to their need to know what happens to Christians when they die, but, given his instruction to them on so many other topics, he could have stopped with that first clause: We would not have you ignorant. Paul believed that Christians, of all people, should be informed.

The predominant response today, however, when someone seeks to give important information, especially information that does not precisely conform with what one already believes, seems to be, “No thanks, I prefer to remain ignorant.”

This is certainly true in the political realm, where one chooses to identify with a political party, and toes the line uncritically. Arguments regarding morality or fitness for office take a back seat to the compelling concern with maintaining political power. (And in this regard I consider both major American political parties guilty.)

Unfortunately, it appears to be true in the religious arena as well. For many of us, our religious convictions came early, often as a result of our upbringing or cultural environment. As Christians we affirmed “Jesus is Lord,” but, whether we realized it or not, along with that affirmation came a lot of theological and religious baggage. We accepted, often without question, a particular view of Scripture, an understanding of church polity, and a view of how we are to relate to the world. These ideas weren’t necessarily wrong, but they weren’t meant to be unquestioned either.

Paul also said, “Let the same mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Unless Christ has given you specific instructions related to any possible situation you might encounter, the way every passage of Scripture is to be applied in whatever circumstance you find yourself, the approach your church should take to worship, ministry, and mission, and the appropriate response you are to make to an ever-changing culture, it would be best never to say, “I’ve made up my mind.” Remain open to the possibility that Christ could change it for you.

The verse which follows shortly after Paul’s admonition to have Christ’s mind says, (Jesus took) “the form of a slave” (verse 7b). Perhaps that’s why we prefer to have our minds made up about every issue. If we have managed to construct a form of personal spirituality that allows us to feel satisfied with our relationship with God without the inconvenience of personal sacrifice, we wouldn’t want anything to interfere with our system. Allowing Christ to show us some new way of looking at life, from the point of view of a servant, could cause all kinds of personal problems, and who needs that?

Well, as Christians, we need that. The only path to happiness is through submission to the will of God, and, with Jesus as our example, service to others is clearly the will of God. We would not have you ignorant — especially of that.