Rational Thinking

The Resurrection Can Cause Trouble

The Resurrection of Jesus caused many problems for many people.

     Guards and their superiors
     People who cried for His crucifixion
     Citizens of Jerusalem suffering under the oppression of Rome

His resurrection still causes problems for people today.
His resurrection 100% establishes His identity and His message. Because He is who He is and His message is true, everyone must make a decision of what they will do about this truth.

We have only one of three options.

  • Reject the resurrection and His message
  • Believe it occurred but ignore what it means to us – essentially do nothing or very little about it
  • Accept, believe it and act on it

There are natural results to every decision.
Choosing one of the first two options places us outside of the salvation of God.
Choosing the third provides us salvation.
However, choosing the third means dying to ourselves and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.
This goes 100% against our nature.

Right, Wrong, Up, Down – Who Knows?

Christian: So, how do you know what is right and wrong? How do you decide if something is right or if something is wrong?

Atheist: If it hurts others it is wrong.

Christian: Why should I care if what I do hurts someone else?

Atheist: Because it is wrong to hurt someone else.

Christian: You just went in a circle and ended up back where you started.

God is the standard of right and wrong.  Without Him we have no idea of right and wrong.  ‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.’ Psalm 53:1

Impacting the Thoughts that Come Into Our Head

In the previous article we discussed the fact that you can’t control the thoughts that come into your head but you can control what you do with them.  Can you, however, impact what thoughts come into your head?  Are we destined to be slaves to an onslaught of temptations and negative thoughts coming into our head or can we have some level of impact on the frequency and content?

We most definitely can.  Your mind never completely shuts down.  It is active, active, active.  It will find things to occupy it and to fill it up.  Others will certainly try to provide material to fill your mind as well.  Advertisers, movie and TV show makers, writers, sales-people, and even family and friends will provide much to fill your mind.  The Holy Spirit wants to help fill your mind.  Unfortunately, so does Satan and his minions.  There are constantly attempts at inputs into our minds. 

While we cannot control what thoughts come into our minds we can effect them.  We do so by filling our minds with good.  Phillipians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”   This is a proactive approach.  It is a matter of discipline first but then becomes a way of life. 

Deuteronomy 6:6-8 states, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”  This passage of scripture is telling us to saturate our minds, our lives with the things God has said, even to the point of having reminders around us. 

One more verse for us to review is, Romans 12:2.  In this verse Paul says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Notice the word ‘renewing’.  Don’t miss the three little letters ‘ing’ at the end, telling us it is an on-going effort. 

The more we fill our minds with good, even to the point of saturation, the more it will be occupied with such.  The negative, tempting thoughts will have less opportunity.  We cannot eliminate the negative or tempting thoughts but we can reduce them and lessen their impact.  In addition, as our minds are filled with the good it becomes easier to respond to the negative because we are better armed.

Thoughts – Thinking and Taking Root

To borrow a computer term, you are the administrator of your mind.  The administrator determines who, or in this case, what has access.   God has empowered you to control what goes on in your mind.

Lets examine that idea.  What level of control do we have and how do we implement this control? 

We cannot control what thoughts come into our heads, but we can control what we do with them.  Even Jesus, while on earth did not control what thoughts came into his mind, but He certainly controlled what happened to them once there.  In Matthew, chapter 4 we have the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.  In this story Jesus was tempted in three different ways; self-fulfillment of physical needs, pride, and power.  Temptation comes in the form of thoughts.  The thoughts, or temptations, come into our head uninvited.  This is what Jesus was experiencing.  This was not the only time Jesus experienced temptation.  Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”  Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin.  How was He able to accomplish that?

For the sake of discussion, consider temptations, or tempting thoughts, as ‘negative’ thoughts.  Lets look back at the fourth chapter of Matthew.   Each time a temptation, a tempting thought came to Jesus, He actively responded with a ‘positive’ thought.   Jesus’ source of positive thoughts was the scripture, the Word of God.  He responded to the thoughts of temptation with thoughts of the scripture. 

The other option for Jesus, and the option we too often choose, would have been to dwell on the tempting thoughts.  When Satan said to Jesus, via a tempting thought, saying “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”, he knew Jesus was hungry.  Afterall, He had been fasting for 40 days and nights.  Jesus could have responded to that thought by thinking, “Wow, I am hungry.  And you know, I am the Son of God and i’m sure my Father wouldn’t want me to go hungry.”  I need to keep my strength up to do ministry.  I have the power to turn these stones into bread for myself.  Why not do it?”  The longer He dwelled on the thought, entertained the thought, the more opportunity He would have given it to take root in His mind, or his soul.  Jesus didn’t give it that opportunity.  He fought back in His mind, in His soul. 

This is the model, the process that Jesus used to be able to be tempted in every way and yet not sin.  This is how He overcame.  Can we do this?  Absolutely!  The same tools are available to us.  Plus we have the example and the indwelling presence of Jesus to help us accomplish this.

We cannot control what thoughts come in to our head.  We will have negative thoughts.  We will have tempting thoughts.  We can, however, control what we do with these thoughts when they come.  Will we respond to them with positive thoughts, with thoughts from the scripture?  Or will we dwell on them, allowing them to take root in our mind and creating a quagmire that we wallow in?  God, and His Word, can and will deliver us and provide us victory.

Stay tuned for the sequel to this article which will discuss how we can impact the thoughts that come into our head.