Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Battlefield of Faith

I chose the name "Talkwisdom" for this blog mainly because I wanted to discuss situations and topics that are front and center in the world today, and search the Scriptures in order to apply Biblical wisdom to them. I have found that oftentimes, non-believers claim that their own reasoning leads them unable to believe in the God of the Bible. Their doubt and confusion over why God allows sin and evil to continue in the world and their rejection, distrust, and refusal of God's provision for salvation, (Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) doesn't allow them to realize and/or recognize the spiritual battle that is behind it all.

Remember that song by Pat Benatar called, "Love is a Battlefield?" Well, the truth is that our minds are in a battlefield and it's the devil that has declared war against each of us. People who do not know Jesus Christ and God's Word are lost in doubt and confusion. But God has provided His Son and His Word to help us overcome the wondering, doubt and confusion that plagues us.

James 1:5-8 tells us this:

Jam 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Jam 1:6
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Jam 1:7
For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

Jam 1:8
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

One thing that often happens when people rely only on their own human reasoning, is that it can lead them into confusion. Proverbs tells us:

Pro 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (bold, italics mine)

The Bible tells us that reasoning in the mind can lead us in the wrong direction...away from God. It's a battle between reasoning in the mind versus obedience in the spirit. True faith (genuine trust in the Lord Jesus Christ) lies in the balance.

1Cr 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

Where does confusion come from? It often comes from the fact that people want to figure out the "why" behind everything. Reasoning makes us want to understand all of the intricate parts.

The dictionary partially defines the word reason in the noun form as an "underlying fact or motive that provides logical sense for a premise or occurrence" and in the verb form as "to use the faculty of reason: think logically." We often have the habit of disregarding something that we have dissected in our minds if it is not "logical."

But logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe. Logic is not a set of rules which govern behavior, either. We must discern and decide whether logic is the right tool for the job. There are other ways to communicate, discuss and debate.

Jesus demonstrated that where faith is concerned, reasoning can lead to confusion. ...O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves?... Matthew 16:8 KJV

Logic can be used for evil purposes. Satan frequently steals the will of God from us due to reasoning. If the Lord is leading a person in a certain direction, but the mind doesn't think this makes sense, (perceiving it to be illogical, perhaps), then we may just want to disregard it. But for the Christian believer, faith in God may not always lead a him/her to do what makes logical sense to his/her mind. We may sense in our spirit that the Holy Spirit within is affirming it, but our minds may want to reject it because it might require some sort of discomfort or personal sacrifice on our part.

This may turn out to be a lame example of how logic can be used for evil purposes, but it popped into my mind so I'm going to go for it.

If you are a fan of the original Star Trek series, you may be familiar with this episode called Amok Time. You can read all the background information at the link, but the part that I want to concentrate on is T'Pring's use of logic. What isn't included in the episode description, is the very telling dialog between Spock and T'Pring when Spock believes that he has killed Captain Kirk. I'm paraphrasing and trying to recall it accurately (I'm sure GMpilot will correct me if need be!), but Spock asked why T'Pring chose Kirk for the fight. She said something like, "if Kirk won, he wouldn't want me and I would have Stonn (her current lover). If you won, I knew that you would be held in account for Kirk's death and again I would have Stonn." So, it was her logic that she used in this situation to get what SHE WANTED, despite the wreckage and ruined lives that she would leave in the wake of the battle. T'Pring was willing to sacrifice the life of someone she didn't even know because of her own, logical, but selfish reasoning.

But in the end, what she (T'Pring) and the leader, T'Pau, didn't know (Kirk wasn't actually dead), turned their selfish logical reasoning upside down on itself. Both Spock and Kirk won ( a kind of redemption) that day, despite the weapon of "logical evil" that was attempted against them.

Over the course of a lifetime, God shows us in so many ways that He is with us. Jesus was also called Immanuel which means "God with us." So, in the Person of Jesus Christ, we see the Father. Our part is to open up our heart to God to receive Him through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our willingness to put aside our carnal mind and be sensitive to obeying God in the spirit is the battlefield of faith. I have seen individuals who want to call what God has unequivocally called sin in His Word, to be reconsidered as "something" that isn't really sinful. They enjoy a particular sin so much that they can "logically twist it" to be perceived as something which the devil was trying to take from them! See how our own reasoning can lead us away from obedience, the Truth, righteousness and genuine faith?

We can be masters at falling into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth! James 1:22 tells us:

Jam 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The entire chapter of James 1 helps us in this battlefield area of our faith.

We all know that our minds like logic, order and reason. No doubt about that. But what we have reasoned in our own strength, without the direction of God's Word to keep us on course, can make us think we are correct, but still be incorrect. It's a fact that we can rationalize anything; especially what makes our minds and bodies feel comfortable. But the danger is that if it goes against the Word of God, we can still be totally wrong!

We are given the gift of understanding on many, many things in Scripture. Upon deep study, I have personally found that it is enough for me to have steadfast faith. Like the Apostle Paul said in Roman 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,

We also have fellow Biblical Christians born again in the Spirit to discern truth from error and keep us Biblically accurate.

Non-believers have told me that they don't believe there is such a thing as "the Holy Spirit." Without breaking such a barrier first (through being born again in Jesus Christ), they will just let their own reasoning and understanding prevent them from gaining discernment and revelation knowledge. There is a huge difference between head knowledge and revelation knowledge.

This is why the Bible tells us that the preaching of the cross to those who are perishing is foolishness to them!

1Cr 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Cr 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Those verses reiterate what I have been saying. Human reasoning (the world by wisdom knew not God) thinks that Christian preaching of the cross of Christ is foolishness! But it is what saves them that believe!

Paul's approach to knowledge and reasoning is an example for us all. The Gospel message is of utmost importance in the battlefield of faith. I have found that I can experience the peace of mind and heart that only comes from trusting God, despite all the turmoil going on around me in this world. How did I reach that point? By not putting my own human insight and understanding first in my life, but "to resolve to know nothing but Christ."

1Cr 2:1

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

1Cr 2:2
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

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