Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 [ESV]
There it sits. It’s as plain as the nose on your face, but you can’t see it because it is behind your face. Encased in heavy duty skull bone, floating around in cerebrospinal fluid and growing from an advanced cerebral cortex, four lobes of gray brain matter – the center of all thought and sensation and speech and motion and mood. Weighing in at an average of just over three pounds, the human brain is a wonder to behold – the most intricate physical part of the human being. As advanced as humanity is today, we still do not quite have a handle on the brain in all it’s complexity. Only God could have designed and created such an organ – especially out of dirt.
And God created us with this advanced reasoning apparatus for a purpose: to use it.
We humans can be a lazy lot. Maybe it’s that we’re so busy that we can’t be bothered to spend time with God in His Word and prayer. But we like to be spoon-fed our faith in small, easily-digestible bits. We like the milk.
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? – 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 [ESV]
There comes a point, folks, where we have to let go of the religious conventions that serve only to drag us through the muck and mire of small-minded legalism and judgment. And, yes, we need to always stay connected to the body of Christ and seek God’s wisdom and guidance in ALL things. (“Forsake not the gathering of the brethren” is not merely a Sunday morning attendance command. It means community, which takes many forms. But that’s a topic for another time.)
My point is this: I am not saying don’t go to church. But I am saying this: think. Think for yourself. Take the time to personally seek the Lord. Not only during corporate worship, but at home. Seek Him. Read your Bible and think about it. Find how reasonable it is and, if something doesn’t make sense, don’t let it be the Bible’s fault. Our misunderstandings are not caused by inaccurate translation. They are the result of our flawed humanity
Do not merely take another human being at his or her word. Save that for God’s Word alone. Again, do not misunderstand me. I’m not saying ignore your pastor or mentor or family or friends. I am saying let God’s Word transform your thinking. Not an “ism.” Not a dogma. Not some mega church pastor’s best-seller or radio program. Let God and His Word change you. Discern what is good and cling to that. Don’t go to the mulberry bush looking for bananas.
Be guided by God through His Word. Let the Bible be your diving rod. Seek the Lord earnestly, with an open mind, setting aside any teaching that is counter to what God says in His Word. Prayerfully stay in God’s Word and don’t worry what anyone else thinks. Beware of those who accuse of being “so open-minded that your brain fell out.”
Our brains aren’t perfect. But they work. And we need to work them. “Seek first the kingdom of God”, not religion or opinion. Discern. Know the tree’s fruit. Think. Above all else, trust in Christ alone.