Thinking Differently

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

photo-1432927994002-af88b5da76a2– Albert Einstein.

A frequent problem I run into in my life is my limited perspective on things. When I have reached a place of hopelessness, where it seems that there is no way out of my predicament, I have come to recognize this as an opportunity of sorts. Once I can calm the chaotic emotions down, I can begin to ask God, “Okay, I cannot see a path forward. Please show me the path.” Offtimes at work it simply involves digging into a technical issue until some anomaly becomes apparent, or until I know enough to know that I don’t know enough, and so I will need to ask someone else.

In life, we frequently run into areas where we are profoundly ignorant. Sometimes we don’t know that we are ignorant. I would imagine that some are content to make up the answers as they go. Myself, I prefer the slower, thoughtful approach. I still get tangled up in mental knots sometimes, though, when I can’t perceive a way forward. It is at that moment that I know that my thinking needs to change.

There are plenty of would-be prophets prognosticating on the outcome of the 2016 elections. I find all of them whom I have encountered thus far profoundly distasteful…but then again, I find the idea of ‘prophecy’ in general something very Old Covenant-ish. Life in the Spirit, the inner life, has little or nothing to do with grandiose announcements about the fate of mankind. ‘When Jesus is coming back’, for example, is a dull and stupid question, for Jesus is already here. He is inside. Why do you need him to beam you out of your problems? Learn to reference the Holy Spirit inside you and you will have the solution to your problems in time. Trust him for the next step, and the next, and the next.

Occasionally I will get hints at something good to come that may apply to other people. I don’t feel the need to share these things any more, though. Whereas before it was all about proclamation and about shoring up my fragile ego, my ego has been shattered and reformed so many times that I don’t see ‘prophecy’ the way it once was. Old Covenant prophets used to say things loudly and do weird things so that the people, whose ears were dull, could hear them. And still, many ears are dull today. Christians have not yet awoken to the Spirit in any large degree–sure, we have plenty of programs, and we preach speaking in tongues and all that, but it’s still old thinking being preached, an external life rather than the internal life.

We must pursue the inner life with eagerness. There are many discoveries still to be made inside, in the inner realm, about the nature of man, about sin and redemption, about the unlimited kindness of God, about the superior redemption wrought in Christ–there are so many wonderful things to be discovered! But we cannot do this with old eyes, with old paradigms. Jesus spoke of old wineskins not being able to hold ‘new wine’–but even as I write those words, they bring up memories of Charismatic experiences where it is said that ‘new wine’ was involved. Wonderful times–but I do not wish to dive into nostalgia. I want to press forward, to the limits. I want to see the four-dimensional love of God as expressed by Paul (length, width, breadth, height, Ephesians 3).

I have always, in my heart, wanted to be at the ‘cutting edge of what God is doing in the earth.’ This is a Charismatic phrase, usually speaking of ‘revivals’ going on hither and thither, special events where lots of people get excited and have fun and do silly things. I didn’t learn until the past few years that the ‘cutting edge’ is not out there. God is not out there doing things. He is in here doing things. Whatever he is doing inside–in my heart, in my mind, the inner life–that is what is current. That is the cutting edge. When I am in tune with the Spirit, I am exactly where I need to be in that period of time, in the exact center of God’s will for my life. If he needs me to move, he will show the way and make the way. But usually it involves a lot of inner rest: coming repeatedly back to a place of peace inside.

It is only when we are at a place of peace inside that we can make truly wise and world-affecting decisions. We can scurry around and do, do, do lots of things, but in the hustle and bustle we lose the simplicity of Christ. We forget to let him carry our burdens for us, forgetting that ‘light and easy yoke’ he gives us. If your soul is burdened and heavy, it is at that point you know that you need to offload some of the heavy lifting to him. Take a step back. Come to a place of peace. Tune in to the spirit. Let him help calm you down. Then you can come to a place where you can see his intervention–or, at least, if you’re muddling through the best you can, at least you can make a wiser decision than you would have!

Emotions are weird and fickle things, and our minds’ eyes frequently lie to us. But we can always see through the eyes of the Spirit.

Trust in the Lord to give you new sight. Ask him for revelation in your life, to be able to think clearly about the situation you are in. Perhaps there is some ‘stinkin’ thinkin’’ going on in your head that needs to be called to attention. Realize that if you don’t see a way through your current predicament, it is likely because you cannot see it with the lenses you currently have–in your current mental state. You need better lenses for the eyes of your heart, better thoughts in your mind, a better understanding. This is something that can only come from the Spirit. And that’s a very good thing, because he is always here, always now.

Leave a Reply