It is not uncommon these days to hear Christian leaders say to the people, “If you think about it, then you’re not living by faith”. This statement is not only unbiblical, but extremely dangerous. This sort of belief opens the door for believers to be entertained by doctrines of demons, lying signs and wonders. Nowhere in scripture are we forbidden to “use our brain”. There is a fine line between thinking biblically and being critical. While being critical is prohibited by the Lord (Matthew 7:1-2), trying or testing is commanded (1 John 4:1). How can we examine or test a spirit, if thinking is off limits? Consider two contrasting examples from the Bible. In the first example, we will see that the people had turned off their minds and stop thinking for themselves. The second example, however, reveals a very different group of people who did not just accept what they heard, and as a result, were commended for it.
In the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul delivers a strong rebuke to individuals who were turning away from the only true gospel. He was shocked to hear this beloved church was moving toward a different gospel – one that would eventually lead the people to eternal damnation (Galatians 1:6-9). The reason this church had moved away was because they were not thinking biblically. This is confirmed in chapter 3 when Paul states, “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…”.
Note that the word foolish, as it is used in this context, does not mean one who lacks wits or intelligence. It is, rather, a Greek usage of the word which means one who is not thinking something through or one who is not “using his head”. Paul, by the Holy Spirit, states that reason the Galatians were being deceived is because they were not using their heads concerning the false teaching. Instead, they were bewitched (being led by their emotions).
Let’s look at our last example. In the Book of Acts, Paul preaches to a group of people called the Bereans (Acts 17:10-12). The Bible says that when they heard Paul preach, they immediately went back and searched the scriptures to see if what they were hearing was true. Notice that neither Paul, nor the Holy Spirit, rebuked or condemned these followers. They, unlike the Galatians, were commended and called “fair minded”.
Has the act of being a Berean become sinful? Is this type of mindset now forbidden?
There are some valuable lessons that we can learn from the Bereans. They are lessons that could protect us from deception today.
1) They elevated scriptures above the Apostle Paul’s popularity.
2) They used the Word of God, and not miracles and crowds, as the sole tool for determining if something is of God.
3) They had a readiness for the Word and did not seek out signs for confirmation.
4) They were ready to reject Paul’s counsel, regardless of his reputation, if what he taught contradicted the Word.
5) They had disciplines that prepare them to go back, reread and examine everything they were taught before accepting it as truth.
Paul didn’t reprimand them for searching or thinking, so why is it different today? Why do we believe that thinking is not a sign of faith? The enemy of our soul has a plan. And his plan is to remove the concept of thinking biblically. He wants us to accept the, sometimes, tainted Word of Leaders as that of God’s. It is our responsibility to test the spirit just as the Bereans did. Those who do not are as foolish as the Galatians that Paul rebuked.
It’s time to take inventory of our lives to see if we are Galatians or Bereans. Only one group will see the Lord!!