Sunday, August 31, 2014

On Irrational Thinking

First off, to be a Christian does not require rational thinking. Only sorrow and the calling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus doesn't knock on your door if you're rational. He just knocks... period! Or is that true?
"Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Oops! Maybe I spoke to soon. It's possible that the Holy Spirit uses rational thinking in calling! Rational thinking would be for a person to consider this knock, listen to the words of it, and open the door; then comfort will be had. Although salvation is a gift of God we must have the sense to accept what he has freely given. Our God-given sense is rational thinking!

Rational thinking is "reason". Although that ability to use knowledge was part of the deception of mankind, it was the Devil's misuse of reason which makes it bad. God is still the origin of all things, but sin; it's the misuse of what God has given which can damn the person! Using reasoning, some choose pleasure and wealth. Using reason, others open that door; the one to salvation. The problem with "reason" without it being tempered by the Holy Spirit, is that Satan can come in and deceive! That's where discernment comes in!

For instance, let's say an event happens. It could be toward good or bad, but let's say in this case something bad happens to a person. Let's say that person "A" doesn't trust person "B". Person A takes limited information and makes many wrong assumptions. As a result of believing what didn't happen, person A becomes worried or even depressed. Person A creates a whole new milieu. They start thinking like Walter Mitty. Although person A is fed by the physical world, person A's brain is fed by the imagination. In their mind's eye a situation is created. It becomes real to them! However, it's a lie because their mind deceived them!

I can't say anyone ever deceives themselves or not. Speaking for myself, when I worry, it seems as if it's me who has the faulty thinking, but then again,  I know that a Christian battles with principalities. Whatever is good, whatever is holy; it is evil's desire to defeat it! Yes, it's war; spiritual warfare. The devil wants us to dwell on divisive thoughts and we become a pawn in his ventures. We are to act soberly in our thoughts:
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
In short we're to think on things which build up and encourage and think on things which please God. We're not to think false things or even imaginary things. That's irrational thinking! It's not using good reasoning nor judgement! And guess what?  It's not only sinful, but unfair to others! Reputations are ruined by those who're irrational thinkers! They can even ruin themselves!

When I was in Babe Ruth League my coach insulted me. I thought "I'll show him... I'll just quit!" I  did quit the sport I loved and was truly sorry. I had to sit by and watch others do what I wanted to do.   By "punishing" my coach, he hadn't even noticed, but I paid the consequences. What was I thinking? It was irrational thought and I'm still suffering the consequences! Not only did I not play Babe Ruth League, but I set a pattern for irrational thoughts and behaviors which it took some time and God to overcome. I no longer think irrational thoughts, but some relish the little worlds they have created in their on minds.

Inside irrational minds dwell false perceptions, accusations, stress, depression, envy and hate. Those are not righteous minds, but spiritually sick ones. Those Christians who fail to be real in their thought patterns are babes in Christ. Unfortunately, that's not a compliment!
Acts 17:11b (ESV) "...they (the Jews) received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so"
Rational thinking requires that thoughts are true and agree with reality. Acts is referring to scripture, but it applies to life in general. To believe what's true we all must check to see if it agrees with what's true.  If person A  chooses to hold animosity against person B because of false perceptions it's unfair to person B! Not only that, but person A is being sinful by judging another by a different standard than they want to be judged, and judging harshly and with condemnation on top of that!
Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"
Being fair is not only healthy thinking, but loving others. Thinking accusatory thoughts is the ultimate in unfairness. My favorite saying may be my own" "Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see!? The first is gossip and the second are scotomas because many have selective vision.

The ultimate in irrational thinking is taking advice form irrational, even evil, people!   It should be clear that a Christian never ever take advice from a non-Christian in regard to moral or spiritual issues. What's more, Christians are not to even associate with Christians living in sin, let alone taking their advice:
1 Corinthians 5:11 "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
Irrational people take advice from sinning Christians. Irrational people read the advice of Ann Landers. Irrational people want to hear and read what they want to feed their own irrational thoughts. Those who pleasure in self-serving thoughts eventually become alone because fair people like to be treated with fairness.

The cure to the sickness of irrational thinking is practicing right thinking. That is to be fair to others as you would have them be fair to you!  Are you already an habitual thinker in irrationality? It's time to change!  Pray that your thoughts will be righteous and that you show kindness and compassion toward others.
Galatians 5:22  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Rather than be hateful, stressed, at war, unfair, mean-spirited, unrighteous, accusatory, strong-willed and out of control, we are to have the fruits above!  Peace and love is so much more what God wants than being unfair and mean-spirited!  What's more, the meek shall inherit the kingdom of heaven, but those who judge others by an unfair standard will themselves be damned by the same measuring stick that they have used.

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