Monday, May 23, 2011

Thinking for Yourself


5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

—The words of the Apostle Paul from Romans 8:5-6


Do you ever copy what someone else is doing?

When you were a child, if one of your friends ran a little ways and then jumped, did you run a little ways and jump, too? Or, maybe you saw someone make a funny face, so you decided to make a funny face, too?

As an adult, if one of your friends shows you his or her new high definition television, do you find yourself beginning to think about buying a new TV? Or, maybe your friend shows you his or her new smartphone. Do you find yourself checking on-line to see if it’s time for you to get a new smartphone, too?

A lot of times, whether you’re a child, or an adult, you see what someone else is doing and you decide to do the same thing.

Now sometimes, doing what someone else is doing is okay. For example, when you were a child if you saw your older brothers and sisters, or your mom and dad, washing their hands before they ate dinner and you decided to wash your hands, too—well, that was a good thing to do.

But sometimes, when we copy what other people do or say, we can get ourselves into trouble. If you see someone do something nasty or mean to another person, you might decide to be mean or nasty to that person, too. Or, if you hear someone share a bit of tasty gossip about someone you don’t like very much, you might decide to pass that tasty bit of gossip on to one of your friends.

Or, maybe you’re in a meeting and you hear someone say something that doesn’t seem quite right to you. Instead of questioning what you’re being told, you remain silent and just go along with the crowd. You might even tell yourself that by remaining silent you are “preserving the peace.” Instead, by remaining silent—by doing what the others in the room are doing—you may well be helping to create chaos.

But, do you know what? God has given us a way to help keep us from copying other people when they do bad things. That’s right. God has given us a brain inside our head. And, He expects us to use that brain. He wants us to think before we act.

So, let’s say you hear someone talking about another person in a very rude and careless way. Now, at first—particularly when you don't like the other person—you may think that you should talk rude and careless, too. But, just before you open your mouth to say something rude, you think about it and decide that it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

If you did that—stop and think about what you were going to do before you did it—you would be using the brain God gave you to help you decide what to do.

God loves us very much. He loves us so much that He wants us to use our brains to think about what we are going to do. He wants us to use our brains to think about way we are going to say. Instead of just doing or saying what we see someone else do or say, God wants us to think about it first. And, God has given us the Holy Spirit to remind us to use our brains—to think before we act or speak. The Holy Spirit will nudge us to do the right think, if we listen carefully to what He says to us.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving me. Thank You for giving me a brain. Thank you for letting me think before I do what I see someone else do, or say what I hear someone else say. Help me to keep thinking, rather than just copying the behavior of others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


No comments: