Thinking It Through
"'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord” (Isaiah 1:18).
It's a fact: Only ten percent of all people really think. Seventy-five percent think they think, and fifteen percent would rather die than think. Do you believe that? I often close a program with the phrase, "Think about it!" Yet, quite often, we prefer not to think because when we really do think about something, we are confronted with the consequences of our actions which we prefer not to see.
It's much like the manual for a single-engine aircraft which instructed, "If your engine fails to perform and you realize that you are going to be forced to land, when you get to an altitude of 500 feet above the ground, turn on your landing lights. If you don't like what you see, turn them off...."
Thinking can be painful because it forces you to look at the whole picture. It is also part of the problem-solving technique that says for every cause there is an effect, and with every choice there are consequences. In making decisions, you've got to think of the consequences.
Overeating not only keeps you from fitting into last year's dress or suit but, it taxes your heart and eventually will affect your health. Avoiding the distasteful job of doing your tax return may eventually mean that you pay a penalty much heavier than taking time to do the job. Avoiding a trip to the dentist because you don't like the drill may result in the loss of a tooth and a whole lot more expense and pain.
When thinking demands facing tough choices, we often turn off the lights and blindly proceed without realizing that a crash landing is inevitable.
Think! Every day thousands of thoughts fly in and out of your consciousness, but thinking requires concentrated action focusing on a particular subject. Effective thinking brings together emotional concentration, your will power, and your heart--all into one. Effective thinking distinguishes you from lower forms of life which follow their instinct without thought of consequences. Watch a nature film of a pack of wolves or wild dogs as they snarl and tear at the carcass of a fallen prey, intent on getting more than the next animal. "Animal" is the word which properly describes their behavior; different from people created in the image of God with the ability to reason and think.
Going one step beyond simply thinking is the ability to reason and see consequences. "`Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord," is the injunction of Scripture (see Isaiah 1:18). It is God's invitation or calling for you to evaluate, to think through consequences and make a wise decision.
A person who really thinks realizes that beyond the immediate, there are consequences with long-term implications. "I never knew it would be like this," was the comment of a woman who had walked out on her husband because she couldn't handle his moodiness. Loneliness was a worse companion than handling the mood swings of a man who needed help. "If I had it to do all over again, I would have done things differently" are the words that I have heard more times than I could ever count.
Thinking must not only include the consequences which involve ourselves, it has to include God, because He is part of life and existence. When God invited men and women to reason with Him, He added, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa. 1:18b).
His forgiveness and help open up a new way of life and living--one that allows broken relationships to be mended and friendships to be healed. God gave you the ability to think and reason, something that only you can do for yourself. Please, think about it and then do what God would have you do today.
Resource reading: Philippians 4:4-9