Use the brain God gave you (part 2 of 4)

You probably recall the moment in celluloid history when the Scarecrow realized that he was no longer among the intellectally challenged as the Wizard conferred upon him the “Doctor of Thinkology.” All of his hopes, dreams, and aspirations converged in this climactic moment and he could not restrain himself as he proved to the world that he had a brain. He pointed to his temple and heralded,”the sum of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the remaining sides. Oh, joy…rapture, I have a brain.” Like so many others, the Scarecrow beleived that intellect is tied to knowledge of facts, however, I would appreciate a sequal to the Wizard (instead of the recent prequel) where we see exactly how the Scarecrow used his new-found brain. I wonder–did he ever make practical use of all of that knowledge? If so, then how was that manifested? The point I want to make is that God certainly wants us to use our minds but for far more than the attaining of facts.
The first post in this series set the table for these subsequent posts that investigate Bible passages that express God’s desire for people to pay special attention to the brain because how one thinks has a direct inflluence on how one acts. No passage in the Bible more clearly defines this connection than Ephesians 4:17-32. This passage is no stranger to the Biblical Counselor’s methodology but I want to address how the mind effects behavior. I will give three observations from this passage that will force one to consider how one thinks!
Observation #1: Paul is indeed emphasizing the cognitive aspect of the human constitution. There are many terms in the opening section (17-24) that refer to exercises o fthe brain: “mind(2xs),” “understanding,” “ignorance,” learned,” and “taught” (NKJV). This first observation is simply to prove the point that the mind is in Paul’s view and is indeed the seat of the put off/put on concept of spiritual growth.
Observation #2: Poor behavior stems from poor thinking. This is the clear point from vv.17-19; lewd, unclean behavior is the direct result of how someone thinks. I see this play out regularly in individuals today because one’s standard for what is right or wrong is tied to what one thinks about right and wrong. One might be prone to think that a particular behavior is fine but fail to see it from God’s POV; however, one would be wise to consider God’s thoughts on any given topic as the next observation suggests.
Observation #3: Good behavior stems from Godly thinking. This is the clear point from vv. 20-24. One needs to think like Jesus (20) in order to behave like Jesus, which is defined as righteous and holy (24). Jesus, of course being the ultimate standard of what is ideal behavior. Therefore, when someone begins to think like Jesus, he can begin to act like Him!
Granted, changing one’s behavior is complicated at times but there is tremendous hope for the one who grasps this basic concept that genuine change begins by renewing the mind from what you once thought was true to what Jesus taught that was precicely true. Jesus provides a fixed goal for change! You too can earn a genuine “Doctor of Thinkology” by grasping the truths of Scripture that will lead to a changed life!

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