Not everything is solved by thinking. Sometimes we can think too long or hard. In some ways, the more we think, the more we complicate the simplicity of the Good News. As soon as understanding occurs, action is necessary. Thinking can be an attempt to stall and balk at obedience.
This is not an argument against thinking. We must use the mind — more than we do, usually — to comprehend the truths of God. We must separate human religion from divine revelation. But this is not a hard or protracted process. Once the Word is understood, obedience must soon follow, else the old man rises up to object and obstruct.
#thinking #obedience #simplicity
“Think Before You Drink” is a slogan used by the government and even the CDC to encourage people to keep the effects of alcohol in mind.
And why must you “think before you drink”? Well among a few others reasons one that clearly stands out is because you can’t think while you drink! That’s why we call it being “under the influence” and that’s why we call it “being intoxicated”.
The alcohol industry promotes its product as a peacemaker – tell that to the thousands and thousands and thousands of people who are raped, beaten, stabbed, shot and killed on the road every single week because of someone who couldn’t think while they were drinking.
The book of Proverbs speaks the truth concerning the effects of alcohol – sooner or later, it’ll get you (Proverbs 23:32). Just ask Noah, ask Lot, ask Nabal, ask Uriah, ask Benhadad, ask the destitute man of Proverbs 23:21, ask Belshazzar and I’m sure that they would all probably tell you the same thing – think before you drink because you won’t be able to think once you’ve started.
“They have overcome me, you will say, and I have no pain; they gave me blows without my feeling them: when will I be awake from my wine? I will go after it again.” (Proverbs 23:35 – BBE)
“Don’t be fooled,” advertisers say. Don’t be taken by charlatans selling a discounted product. It may promise to be as good as the name brand, but it will never measure up!
Judah had become ensnared by false gods that promised peace and plenty in the days of Jeremiah. They had become fooled into thinking that because the temple was still standing that God would not see how they had devoted themselves to wood and stone.
So God said, “Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie!” (Jeremiah 7:8 NLT). It’s easy to get lulled into thinking something that isn’t true. Think about all those advertisers who sell everything from pet rocks to those longer-lasting light bulbs.
God continued, “Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again?” (Jeremiah 7:9-10 NLT). Judah was wrong if it believed it could disobey God’s word and think it could continue to flourish.
It’s amazing how the example of Judah is so similar to people in our day. Do we think we can expect the blessings of God to continue while we refuse to bridle our tongues, kill babies, mistreat our neighbors and commit some of the same acts for which God condemned Judah in the Old Testament.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you will never suffer because religious freedom exists here. Don’t be fooled into thinking people in this country can engage in immoral, detestable behavior and get away with it because no one can threaten the safety of our country. Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie and worship other gods and not expect justice?
Don’t be fooled.
One of our greatest opportunities each day is to think about things from God’s perspective, to develop thinking things as God would.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” (Colossians 3:1-3 ESV).
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” This may be easy to say, hard to do, some think. Things on the earth force their reality upon us. But the realities of God and heaven are just as true and have even more force.
If we want heaven to be our eternal home, then we should cultivate spiritual thinking and make spiritual things the most important things in our lives. If we start thinking of things above we will:
1. Place real treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).
2. Build a surer, more permanent foundation for our lives (Matthew 7:24-27).
3. Lay a secure hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12).
4. Help ourselves to avoid Satan’s call to sin. Higher thoughts take us away from the base thoughts where sin lies (Proverbs 15:14).
5. Always have an attitude of submission where true salvation is (Romans 12:3).
Seek those things that are above. Set your minds your minds on things that are above. That is surely good advice for the child of God.
Everyone gets angry, but there has never been an allowance for it in the New Testament. On the contrary, anger is something we must put away.
The Apostle Paul, in Colossians 3, describes Christianity as the thinking of higher and greater things. As a consequence of changed thinking, one who is risen with Christ must put off the tattered, filthy rags of earthly thinking. Those rags include sexual sins, anger, wrath, malice, slander, lying and filthy speech.
Anger can be righteous indignation, the kind of anger God exhibits. The anger Ephesians 4:26 describes is an indignation quickly extinguished.
Wrath, however, is anger mixed with time. Wrath can become intense displeasure or rage. It is fierce and usually seeks an action such as revenge or satisfaction.
Christians are not perfect, and instances will occur where anger will flare. It is possible, however, to learn humility and patience to overcome the earthly thinking reflected in the sins of the tongue listed in Colossians 3:8, 9.
One good way to do this is to remember James 1:19-20, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath; For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
One prodigal error was that he took his journey into a “far country” (Luke 15:13). He wanted to go as far as possible to get away from the influence and wise instruction of his father. The thinking of the prodigal was similar in nature to those folks described in Romans 1:28. As a result, he was given over to a reprobate [base and condemned] mind (AMP). Fortunately for the prodigal, “he came to himself” – he realized his lost and helpless condition (Luke 15:17), and returned to his father (Luke 15:18-20). Many folks never do.
Last Sunday evening, after doing a particularly good job at botching a sermon during a guest-speaking request, several people came to me complimenting me on the lesson. It reminded me that I’m not supposed to believe my own press. As Paul said it in Romans, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith,” (Romans 12:2 NASU). It was the best thing that could have happened to me in retrospect. My head was filled with compliments just the day before at my mother’s funeral. My head was too big. God always knows what I need.