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Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekly Snippet: Thought Traps

I've been thinking today about some of the traps in thinking that so many of us (even Christians) fall into from time to time.  They aren't right beliefs, but this kind of thinking feels comfortable, logical, or easy.  Sometimes that can become dangerous!  This is why it's important to be analytical, prayerful, and maybe even a little self-critical from time to time, so we can catch these things before they wreck our lives.

Here are a few beliefs I've been analyzing today:

It is easier to believe that what we see is all that exists. However, the Bible constantly reminds us to pay attention to what is going on behind the scenes.  There are forces of good and evil at work at all times in the world around us (Ephesians 6: 12; Daniel 10: 12-14).  Just because we cannot see them, does not mean they don't exist.  It is vital that we remember our Adversary, Satan, and our Ally, God, and also keep in mind that God has already defeated Satan.  It's important that we don't focus too much on merely temporal things, because they distract us from the real issues.

It is easier to believe that we can be good enough, worthy enough, or deserving enough to have good things. The days of human worthiness passed away when Adam and Eve, followed by all of their descendants, chose to disobey God.  Now justice truly dictates that no one is good, worthy, or deserving.  No one has "leverage" with God, but those of us who know Him can confidently ask for and receive mercy from God (Daniel 9: 17-19; Hebrews 4: 16).

It is easier to believe that the payoff must be directly proportionate to the work we put into something. This seems right, maybe even biblical in its proportions, but it can lead to all kinds of errors. If this were true, then we would be able to work for grace, and we would always be paid for work we loved and put our whole effort into doing. Christians who obeyed God all their lives would get a better eternal reward than those who only obeyed God for the last five minutes of their time on earth.  In reality, God only asks of us that we obey Him and honor what is good, but the results are in His hands.  We can take comfort in knowing that whatever God gives us, it will be a good reward, and we will be satisfied in it (Matthew 7: 9-11; Deuteronomy 11: 13-15). God takes care of us, not the effort of our own arms, and He gives us what is good for us (even if it's not what we expected).

It is easier to believe that the truth is still out there, needing to be found, rather than present with us and revealing itself to us daily. Some people take a greater delight in the hunt for the truth than they do in the truth itself, but this is a trap.  Don't fall victim to the philosophical superiority of those who try everything but are not searching for a place to settle and grow in their faith.  They have no security in what they believe, and they yearn for depths they cannot reach.  God didn't make us to be satisfied with partial answers and a lack of spiritual depth.  The good news is, God made truth easy to find (Deuteronomy 30: 11-14), so we can move swiftly into the deeper levels of knowledge of Him!  God is truth, and He wants us to find Him (John 14:9).  We don't have to search long before we can get our deepest questions just ask!


Shannon said...

Another facet of the first misconception, that what we see is all that exists, is to believe that our present circumstances are all there is to God's plan for our lives. If we don't see His promises fulfilled right away, we start to doubt. And sometimes life looks just the opposite of what we thought He had spoken. But as we saw in Joseph's story on Monday, and in so many others, God is "trustworthy in all he promises, and faithful in all he does," (Psalm 145:13). None of His words will return to Him void, and none of His plans for us will be thwarted (Isaiah 55:8-11, Job 42:2, Philippians 1:6). Hallelujah!