Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind. ― Psalm 26:2
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. ― Romans 8:6
Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems. ― Michael A. Singer
The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. ― John Milton
Right out of the gate, I want to suggest that your “thinker” is a lot more broken than you realize. To put it a little differently, your mind is always misfiring to some degree when it comes to seeing reality accurately. Every thought you’ve ever had or will have is misaligned with reality to some degree.
Not very encouraging, but true.
We have a tendency to erroneously think are thoughts are reasonably accurate and the real “me,” but they aren’t. The “you” observing your thoughts is the real you, not the thoughts themselves. And, like it or not, the thoughts that you are consciously aware of, much less the ones that you are not aware of, are never completely true.
Your thoughts are just that, thoughts. They are not to be ignored, but they are not to be allowed to dictate reality to you or determine your every action and choice.
You have to learn how to look at your thoughts as objects passing through your mind rather see them as the true you or believe them to be fully accurate. Not to trivialize your thoughts, but they’re just thoughts, and we don’t need to believe them or act on them just because we had them.
I’m getting a little Buddhisty and New Agey here to some degree, but people can’t spiritually or psychological grow and mature if they allow their thoughts to determine reality or assume that their thoughts are spot-on interpretations of how they really are. Because your thoughts are always misaligned with reality to some degree, you can’t fully trust them.
Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” I’m going to tweak that a little by saying, “The mind that distorted reality in the first place can’t fix the mind that distorted reality in the first place.”
Einstein suggesting that a higher level of thinking is required to solve problems created by a lower level of thinking is right, but, in my humble opinion, the higher level of thinking needed to live our lives properly doesn’t come from us.
If God exists and the Bible is His authoritative statement about reality, we need God’s thoughts to take the place of our own. We need God to think in us and through us each day if we are going to see reality for what it is and deal with reality in an appropriate and loving manner. Anything other than God’s thoughts running through our mind each day is going to leave us short when it comes to fulfilling the commandments to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself.
God is not putting us down when he says it, but He’s just shooting straight with us when He says, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).
God thinks on a level that is infinitely higher than we do and perfectly aligned with reality. After all, God was the one who created reality as we know it and the only one who fully sees it for what it truly is.
All this is why God says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
We’re not to trust our own thoughts as we have them. Our job is to observe our thoughts as they pass by and submit the truly important ones to God for clarity on whether or not we’re seeing things as they truly are as we go through life. Basically, the Bible is saying don’t lean on your own thoughts, lean on the thoughts of God.
So, where do we turn for the thoughts of God? Where do we go to understand how He sees reality?
The Bible. God took the time to write down His most important thoughts, and we need to study it day and night to more fully see things as they really are. Anyone who is not studying the Bible for all its worth is being foolish because that’s where accurate words of life are to be found.
Only two things on the planet are eternal: people and God’s Word. Isaiah 4: 8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
All this is why the claims of Christ were so outlandish. When Christ said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), He was either the most arrogant and mentally ill person who ever lived or who He said He was—God incarnate. When Christ repeatedly said, “You have heard it said . . . but I say to you . . .,” He was claiming authority over truth and asking people to decide who they were going to listen to for the most accurate take on reality.
Munchkins, make a decision early in life who you are going to turn to for how to view reality. Are you going to turn to yourself, the world you live in, or the God who created the world you live in.
Observe what goes through your mind each day, but never trust what your mind says to you.
Your thoughts are always off to some degree from reality as it truly is. Trust in the thoughts of God. Let God’s thoughts run through your mind each day so that you are properly aligned with reality and can react to it in a more mature and loving manner.