This is the first thing you need to understand.
If it is not from God, it really does not matter.
Remember that the original sin was wanting to know good from evil. We do not know enough to make that determination. God was not being mean when He told us not to eat from that tree. Our database is nowhere nearly comprehensive enough to handle decisions like that.
We need to gain control over our thought lives. We must become conscious of the spiritual battlefield that is our mind. The beginning point is realizing that until my mind is renewed by the Holy Spirit, it is not good. My thoughts cannot be trusted. They are like emotions—useful, sometimes nice and sometimes horrible, but only another way to be aware of what is going on in and around me in my daily life. By the grace of God, my thoughts do get better, but they can never be trusted.
We regularly make decisions that seem good at the time based on what our thoughts and emotions tell us. But experience shows us that many of these choices prove to be bad ones in the long run. Let’s give a few examples with societal choices based on intellect, thoughts, and emotions. (We can easily argue that the enemy had a lot to do with these decisions—he is, after all, the ruler of the world system.)
The Industrial Revolution is good
We had no idea about the problems of pollution when we started down the road to technology. We never expected mass production to eliminate quality the way that it has or to numb the minds of the workers because they never deal with the product in its entirety. We never expected the limitations to choice either.
Cars are good
But we had no idea what they would ultimately do to the nuclear family. Who foresaw the breakup of the local community because of all the moving? We never foresaw suburbs, exurbs, or commuting. How about long commutes to church?
How can we have a congregation of people with deeply involved social/spiritual relationships spread out over hundreds of square miles? We live so far apart that we do not see our brother or sister enough to really know what they are doing and what their day to day needs are.
Drugs are good
Aspirin, opium, chloroform, and penicillin completely changed the practice of medicine and doctors. In the 20th century, the dominant medical theory became that life is just a chemical process that can be controlled by chemicals. Most doctors are now drug pushers.
Who foresaw a society which turns to drugs instead of God: medically, socially, and emotionally. Drugs have become the major aid to entertainment starting with one of the worst of the bunch, alcohol. Many (if not most) Christians take a pill before they pray about a headache.
Mass media is good
For over a century now we have assumed that radio, and then television are a good thing. Movies have become a central part of our culture. They bring us news and entertainment. It has really not been accepted by the world how much mass media glorifies sin and inoculates us from the horror of evil.
The Internet is good
Did anyone expect it would spring free the spirit of lawlessness? Should we even mention the always present spectre of Big Brother, Big Company, Big Porn, and Big Government which have all been given new life by 24-hour online access to all of us. How many expected the almost complete loss of privacy and the daily verbal assault of strangers?
Inadequate knowledge is the norm
Even in an information age, we do not have the wisdom to know what to do with all of the knowledge. I’ve watched raging forest fires caused by environmentalists who refuse to deal with rampant undergrowth in our forests. Your life, my life, and the life of anyone you know is littered with decisions made without adequate knowledge.
We all need to be able to tap into the source of all knowledge—the One who knows everything. This is not some trite truism but at the core of our faith. We do not need an astrologer or clairvoyant with their dependence upon reading the creation for answers. We have direct access to the Creator himself—the one who made it all.
Most of this seeking takes place within ourself. This is not limited to just our mind, because our rebirth brought our spirit to life also. But our consciousness has to deal with thoughts. We need to remember that personal thoughts are part of the flesh that begins the Christian walk completely controlled by lusts and selfish desires. Hopefully that situation improves with our spiritual growth. But the flesh cannot be trusted—neither thoughts nor emotions.
Beyond this, what few want to deal with, is the fact that spiritual powers can speak to us via thoughts that seem to come from within. It’s nothing to be afraid of, but you do need to be aware of this reality. You do need to pray for discernment. It’s one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to show you the source of your thoughts.
Next week we’ll talk about discerning the source of our thoughts.
- Come Holy Spirit, Come (jalapenosandchocolate.com)