Rene Descartes said, “I think therefore I am.” If Descartes were growing up in the 21st century he might have said, “I google, therefore I think.” Thinking is as natural as breathing, but the methods and ideas that motivate thinking have changed dramatically in our lifetime. When was the last time you thought about what you think?
When King David was a boy he watched over sheep in a field. He had little to do but think. The psalms he authored are a window into his thoughts.
Jesus was baptized, then spent forty days in the wilderness. He had a lot of thinking to do before he began his public ministry. When Satan tempted Jesus, he tempted his thoughts hoping to prompt his actions. Satan failed to change what Jesus knew to be true.
The book of Galatians tells us that when Paul left Damascus, he went to Egypt for a long period of time. Much of what he had been taught to believe during his lifetime had been changed by his experience with Jesus. Paul had a lot to think about in the days that followed. I wonder if his years in Egypt resulted in God choosing to use Paul to write the doctrine of the New Covenant.
When was the last time you turned off the world’s thinking to listen to your own? When was the last time you wanted to determine an answer, and you didn’t check the internet to see what others thought? When last did Scripture and God’s Holy Spirit change your thinking?
Rene Descartes was raised by his grandparents. His mother died when he was one, while trying to give birth. Descartes suffered with poor health and was unable to do a lot of the things other children could. He spent a lot of his time thinking. He questioned what he learned and learned the importance of asking questions. He is described as the “father of Western philosophy” and impacted history by teaching the importance of thinking. Most Americans don’t realize the impact Descartes’ philosophy had on the foundational beliefs of our nation.
Who are the “thinkers” impacting our world today? Most of what we hear on the news is simply a report of what someone else has said or done, and often what someone else wants us to think. Our thoughts are a means to their end and so they need to convince us to think like they do. There are a lot of people who have position, power, and popularity and believe their opinions should too. God rarely tries to convince. He already told us his word is truth. We already know what to believe. So if we are struggling to be convinced, what do we need to think about?
Do we think about our feelings or do our feelings result from our thinking?
Is it true because someone was convincing or are we convinced because we have thought about the truth?
Descartes said, “I think therefore I am.” If a friend was given a window into your thoughts, would they still know you? Would they know God? When was the last time you thought about your thoughts?
One of the most amazing truths of God’s words is that he knows our thoughts, and loves us still. The Psalmist wrote, “The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.” (Psalm 94:11). Several times in the New Testament Jesus is described as “knowing their thoughts,” yet he sacrificed his life for those people anyway.
The most convincing and convicting verse about the importance of our thoughts is found in Revelation 2:23 when the Son of God said, “I am he who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” Jesus is thinking about our thoughts right now, and is ready to reward what we choose to do about them.
The long, hot summer days are just ahead. Is there a better time of year to turn off the noise and think? That is my goal as I look ahead to some calmer, lazier days. One of my “life verses” is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” I was thinking about that favorite verse in terms of the need to think. It seems like our nation is not exalting God. Could it be that our noise and our thinking has contributed to the problem? God’s people were told to “be still and know God.” Then, God will be exalted.
That verse gives me a lot to think about this summer. Will you join me?
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