Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature…Let all things be done for building up.
1 Corinthians 14: 20, 26 (ESV)
In what manner are these statements by the Apostle Paul related? They are securely linked by what is said at the beginning of verse 20, “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking.” God gave us a powerful brain because he expects us to use it not only imaginatively and creatively, but also wisely. The brain, however, needs to be trained and disciplined to think clearly, productively, and wisely. The difficulty is that our carnal nature also has access to and the ability to influence our thought life. When we are not in charge of our own brain’s thoughts and don’t take responsibility for its consequential actions, if we don’t set limits and boundaries on its wandering nature, we are like children who hungrily devour information and knowledge, wherever it is found, in total disregard of its consummate influence on their lives. To children, all new mental stimulation is welcome and is generally considered of equal value or influence until wisely instructed otherwise. With parental oversight and guidance children will not deliberately seek after evil.
We adults, on the other hand, have the experience and knowledge to differentiate and choose between good and evil. These verses clearly state that our thought life is to be brought into captivity to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5) at all times. There is no middle ground or room for compromise. We are not to give any quarter of our mind over to evil thoughts, desires, or intentions. Our hearts and minds are to remain clear and as uncontaminated as are those of newborn infants.
We must continually demonstrate the will and desire to trust Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help train us to think uprightly and clearly, to form righteous habits and routines that circumvent life’s pitfalls. God can help us, but it is still our responsibility to choose wisely. And how can we do this on a consistent basis? What protocol can we follow to reach spiritual maturity in our thought life? We can do it by allowing our thoughts to be filtered by these predominant questions.
Will my actions build up or tear down the body of Christ? Will my thoughts lead to actions that enlighten, motivate, and enrich my brothers and sisters in Christ and give hope to a lost generation? The choice is yours!
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to remain steadfast in our pursuit of spiritual maturity and equally resolute in our ignorance and rejection of all evil. Amen.
A F Fischer