[Thought questions for Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts September 11, 2013]
1. The human mind: our challenge for this week: The mind is by far the most complicated part of the human being, and we are thousands of miles short of understanding it. How can we know what to believe when we don’t even know what it means to believe? Does God want to control your mind? Is it possible to
think of ourselves as Christians without possessing even a faint resemblance to God’s concept of what a Christian is?
2. Mind and action. The lesson guide notes that “our thoughts will ultimately dictate our behavior.” Do we believe that? If we do, shouldn’t we be spending more time training our deep inward thoughts rather than focusing on the behavior of others? Is it possible to think too much? To sink too deep into contemplation and concern? Is rule-keeping compatible with faithfulness? Can rule-keeping become too important to us? If so, what are some signs this is happening? More important, what is the cure?
3. Filters. How tempting is it for people from age ten and up to soak in the brine of immorality? Do you know a teen or college-aged person who has become addicted to video games? Did you know this is a recognized sickness called “gaming” that keeps many thousands of young people from completing college or preparing in any way for a life work? Gaming is defined as a “clinical impulse control disorder” similar to compulsive gambling. Who invented gaming—Jesus or Satan? Is there anything you and I can do to make gaming less attractive to our younger members? Or is it just going to happen?
4. Not us. Aren’t you glad YOU aren’t tempted by computer games? You’re free from all such temptations, right? Does that make you holier than the others? Monday’s lessons also hit Hollywood hard. I used to live within a few minutes of the big HOLLYWOOD sign in the hills outside Los Angeles. Is it wrong to watch TV? Go to a movie once in a while? Learn how to create videos? Can I shout “Yes!” too loudly, proclaiming all of these things to be wrong wrong wrong so that nobody pays attention to me? Or can I shrug my shoulder and slink around as if nothing is wrong as long as I don’t try to impose my ideas on others? Or is there a better way?
5. Back to the mind. The mind is vital to a Christian walk, right? Paul says that “the peace of God” (Phil 4:7) is so powerful that it “will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” What does that mean? What can possibly be powerful about peace? War is powerful. Disagreements lead to fights and pain. But peace? How can peace overpower the disruption of sin? How can we obtain the blessing of peace in the turbulent self-driven world where we find ourselves today? Read 2 Corinthians 10:5 and share what we need to fight the war of sin and turmoil.
6. Body and soul. We believe that our bodies and souls are closely linked–don’t we? How do we show that belief in what we say and share about food and physical health? Can we be closer to Jesus when we’re healthy? How does that work? Why does Satan work so hard to get us to abuse our bodies in one way or other? How can he succeed in convincing people that it feels good to be drunk, for our bodies to be laden with shiny gems or to have elaborate tattoo art inscribed on our flesh? A large portion of the population believes that sex is something to enjoy as often as possible with as many as possible. What can you and I do to help clean out the moral mess of our towns and neighborhoods? If you don’t have any of those problems, you are surely a better Christian. Isn’t that right? What does God want us to do?
7. The best news in this week’s lesson. Who is the light of the world? Is it possible for you and I to absorb Jesus’ light and share it with those around us? Or is that being presumptuous? Do you feel bright and full of light this week? The lesson closes with an appeal to follow a healthy lifestyle. Spend some time studying Thursday’s lesson and asking yourself if you’re willing, really willing, to be set apart from the world? Are there fellow church members you’d like to see leave the fellowship? Do you harbor grudges or bad feelings about worshippers who do not see things the way you do? Are you ready to sign up as a full-time agent of God’s will, not yours, in a crumbling world?