Soul Food 4 U

It addresses itself to every day issues of life from a Christian perspective. You'll be challenged. You'll be rebuked. You'll be encouraged. You'll grow.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A KING WITHOUT TEETH

September 15, 2006

REFLECTIONS:
To a mind that is blind, eyes are of no use (Chinese proverb).
A belief is like a guillotine just as heavy, just as light.
Heaven forbid that knowledge without zeal should replace zeal without
knowledge (John Stott).
Conviction is worthless until it converts itself into conduct (Thomas
Carlisle)
TEXT:
Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts
them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. NIV
2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the
world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the
knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to
Christ.

On a visit to Kenyan renowned game park, Maasai Mara, I noticed that the
zebras, gazelles and wildebeests were many but the lion, the king of the
jungle, was rare to find. The dignified, relaxed lion lives in no fear of
being attacked by any other animal and it is no wonder that it is said to
sleep for 18 out of the 24 hours. On inquiring why lions are not many,
the tour guide said that among other factors, lions tend to have serious
dental problems. If that be so, it means that a lion using its speed and
superior skills kills a zebra, but is unable to chew the meat and so
starves to death in presence of plenty of food. That is miserable. That
made me reflect on our situation as God’s apex of creation. God created
human beings in his image and likeness. ‘Then God said, "Let us make man
in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea
and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and
over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen 1:26). In God’s
structure, a day of rest was provided for right from the beginning. Why
then is there so much hunger, fatigue, stress, unfulfilment and general
lack of dignity in human beings? Has the ruler become the ruled?
Like the lion, man who was created to rule could be a king without teeth
and so cannot chew the already available food. People’s teeth are their
cognitive processes that include their characteristic way of viewing their
world and how they see themselves in relation to the world determines what
they see. Worldview are people’s eyes that determine what they see out of
what there is to be seen. Worldview gives the mental framework within
which people operate. In that framework is the issue of application of
Christian doctrine and how it applies to all other aspects of life. How
people characteristically adapt and integrate information is like teeth to
a human being or sieve that sorts what should go in and what should be
rejected. There are no human beings with no capacity to think unless
there is a health problem. The basic cause of difference between people is
what they consider to be information worth attention and what they do with
that information.
Unfortunately there are beliefs that lead people to operate in a
mechanical way and so do not develop the thinking part of the brain.
Routine tasks and specified roles can make people just slip into their
expected roles and so need not think. For example, in cultures that
emphasise the grade in examination more than learning, thinking and
exploration is sometimes unconsciously discouraged. A learner said,’
School creates mindless lab rats who simply follow the leader and never
question life. Always striving after that piece of food or in the case of
school, a letter A,B,C,D,F, that is supposed to describe a person’. Lack
of inquisitive mind make people fail to see opportunities around them
even though they may have certificates that show they have spent time
learning. Translation of information into meaningful and relevant usage
is what leads to human transformation. The place of well developed mind
is critical in integration and synthesising of Christian principles that
make us have the inner strength, security, courage and wisdom that lead
to charting the way in our social economic and political world.

WHY A CHRISTIAN SHOULD USE THEIR INTELLECT
1. Our God is a thinking God and created us to use our minds to rule. ‘But
we have the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We are in a world where
the people who have the ideas rule the world. When the people who are
described as having corrupt mind are the ones whose ideas are being heard,
the they are the rulers. To conquer the world as soldier of Christ we need
to generate and propagate ideas that are born out of our intimate
relationship with Christ. Our warfare is not against flesh and blood but
against forces and ideas that contradict the values of God’s kingdom. We
need to proclaim God’s truth in way that overthrows lies of men and
habitual thinking that makes man be ruled by what he meant to rule.
2. The biblical themes as revealed through the creation story, the coming
of Jesus Christ, the redemption and judgement all imply that man has
inescapable duty both to think and act upon what he thinks and knows. God
has revealed to us what we need. ‘The secret things belong to the LORD our
God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever,
that we may follow all the words of this law’ (Deut 29:29). It is our duty
to receive his revelation, to submit to it, to seek to understand it and
to relate it to the world in which we live.
3. Loss of intellectual confidence leads to use of references that have
been drawn from people’s experiences in the world. Handling of issues
such as poverty, disease and high levels of ignorance in Africa cannot be
left to unregenerate minds. We are the light of the world not in our
hidden corners of fellowship but in the world of industry and trade and
demonic forces. Theories developed in other cultures may not be easily
truncated into our systems without causing damage. We need the views of
men and women of the word, prayer and know where we are in relation to
God’s time map and other nations.
4. Genuine praise and worship of God results from ‘the word becoming flesh
and dwelling among us’. It is not frenzy that results from the rhythms of
our songs but realisation of ‘who’ we are and ‘whose’ we are. We cannot
declare the mighty works of God in our times if we do not use our minds to
see and consider. ‘Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust that reckons
thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God ‘(John
Stott). True faith is not just belief in self and in ones ability but it
is reflecting and trusting in the character and the promises of God. As we
put our weight in the word of God who teaches us how to produce wealth
(Deuteronomy 8:18), he inspires our thinking, and cause sour mind to see
possibilities. We then act on what we know.

Our mental processes are our teeth. When our thinking is not renewed we
draw the beliefs we act on from the world. Our teeth are the core values
or deeply embedded beliefs that unconsciously control us. Our view of
life, the meaning of life and what our part is in life should be renewed
if we are to benefit from what we profess as our faith. Christian can
starve to death if the mind is blind to who God is and what he has for us.
‘Confess it and you will have it’ can be misleading if our mind is
disconnected from God. ‘The Lord says:” These people come near to me with
their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from
me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men (Isaiah
29:13). God is not pleased with us when we slide into man made rules and
assume that we have had a relationship with him.
We must use our minds and so interpret God’s will here on earth. Our
continent is starved of ideas that can bring about control of the
resources that God has given us. We need to rule the earth using the
scientific knowledge that God is revealing to us and through us. Our
social cultural structures that include our organised gatherings
(churches) need prayerful review so that God’s people can enjoy the good
of the land. The individual and communal mental maps that are used as
references in life need to be renewed according to the word of God not
the rules that we have inherited or come up with (Romans 12: 1-2).
The hope of God’s people in Africa does not lie in the sterile past
however glorious, neither in other nations and continents, but in the
Living God who is our Father and wants to use us. God has given us minds
to help come up with solutions for problems and challenges that we find in
life. We need sanctified minds that God can use to give us revelation. We
need spiritual dental check up.

We are soldiers in a fierce army whose main battle field is the mind

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