Monthly Archives: April 2016

What I Feel About Thinking (or vise versa)

There seems to be a tendency currently in our society to avoid thinking.  How often have you heard someone begin a sentence with “I feel” when they should have been using “I think.”  For example when asked what the weather would be like one has responded “I feel like it will be a nice sunny day since there are no clouds in the sky.”  Or when asked for what a person’s plans for the day are, “I feel like I should go get groceries because we need milk.”  I have teasingly asked exactly how does something like that feel.

I know that for most people it’s just a habit that they have unwittingly fallen into and they really do mean that they are thinking.  But as the shift in meaning has slipped into our language I think it indicates a move in our culture that emphasizes feelings over thinking and that is a dangerous thing.

I saw an interview of a number of students on the University of Washington campus where the interviewer asked how the student would respond if the white, 5’ 8”, male interviewer stated that he were a woman.  Most of the students began their response with “I feel . . .” and all of them went on to accept that what the interviewer felt about himself was indeed fact.

He then posed to them that he was actually a Chinese woman. This forced the students to work through their “feelings” a little more but they all were able to come to accept it as fact.  He finally told them he was also 6’ 5”.  This was finally too much for all but one of the students to believe.

When we order our lives by how we feel instead of by thinking through what is true the inevitable, and, dare I say, logical outcome is that we will believe even that which is obviously false.

Philippians 4:8 says, amongst other things, that whatever is true think about such things.  According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon that word translated as think means to consider, take account, weigh, meditate. In other words it is a rational exercise of the mind.

I may feel a certain way about something, but as I think, that is as I consider, take account, weigh, and meditate about what is true my feelings will follow and come in line also with what is true.

Isaiah spoke of a time when “truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.  Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” (59:14-15) I think we are seeing that time.

How can you know what is true and what to think on? You need to search for it. I would suggest you start your search in the Bible.  John 1:17 says that truth came through Jesus Christ.  And Jesus himself declared that God’s word is truth. (John 17:17)

And that’s what I think.

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Strength. Courage. Do What’s Right.

Suffering and struggle is a fact of life.  It comes in different forms but everybody faces seasons of it from time to time.  Whether it’s a marriage that seems to be crumbling, children whose choices are destroying their lives, the illness or death of a loved one, loss of employment, never being able to quite catch up financially, or any other of hundreds of things, we all face suffering, and it’s hard not to ask “why”.

If I were to tell you I have it all figured out I’d be lying.  I can’t tell you to just trust in Jesus, or pray and God make it go away.  But I can tell you there is hope, a purpose, and strength to face whatever is in front of you.  It’s why James can say, “My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy.  Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue.  The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need.”  (James 1:2-4, NIrV)

In his allegorical tale “A Wolf Story” James Byron Huggins eloquently expresses that Biblical truth and the battle we face:

“If you defeat him he will retreat. But he will always return. On another night, when you are tired, weak, or afraid, he will come to you again. He will wait until you are beaten down by the world, attacking when you are weary. He will lure you with pleasures and the secret desires of your heart. It will be a great struggle.  But you must endure it.  You must endure.  The Lightmaker (God) will not allow you to suffer more than you can bear.  Always, his grace is sufficient for the task.

 Remember this and it will give you hope.  And when your great suffering has ended and you stand again in peace, then you will possess a deeper strength and understanding.  You will be more than you were.  And your heart will be great, guiding you with wisdom and knowledge.

 . . . The battle is beyond the flesh, my son.  Our victory has already been promised, an end made sure.  Cling to what you have learned, and it will be life for you when death (the attacker) is near.  Be strong.  Be courageous. Do what you know is right.”