The fact is that most human beings evidently do not like to think. At the very least, most seem quite satisfied never to think in a concerted, critical, or careful way. Such never think strategically, consistently, or critically. They go from thought to thought without reflection, analysis, or questioning their own decisions. They operate at the basic level of thinking, and they think about the things that interest them, but they are not seriously interested in the process and quality of thought.1
In some ways it is difficult to blame Christians for not thinking well. We have been so programmed by the world and so affected by our culture that we feel that our actions are ours to decide. "It's my life, I'll live it how I want" is a mantra that even some professing Christians adopt. Although this perspective is profoundly unbiblical, it has infiltrated even our churches.
Someone may say, even if we should not live certain ways, certainly our thoughts are ours to choose for ourselves. However, this is not how the Bible represents our thought life. Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of his heart, because that is what reveals his inner iniquity. The inner man is where true godliness is determined. Actions are simply the outworking of our thought processes. Thinking is in the moral realm. It is something that is inherently ethical. Paul speaks on this topic clearly:
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Eph 4:17–18
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Ro 12:1–2
If man is a creature of God he is an analogue of God. God is the original while man is the derivative. Man’s thoughts must therefore be patterned after God’s thoughts. Man must, as we often express it, think God’s thoughts after Him.2
After all, the Word of God must radically affect our thinking so we literally think God’s thoughts. As we “think God’s thoughts” our judgments on matters become more “godly.” As our thoughts become more “godly,” we grasp the difference between good and evil, enabling us to make correct moral choices.3
To think God’s thoughts requires much prayer. If you do not pray much, you are not thinking God’s thoughts. If you do not read your Bible much and often and reverently, you are not thinking God’s thoughts. Those thoughts you are having—and your head buzzes with them all day long and into the night—are earthly thoughts—thoughts of a fallen race. They are the thoughts of a lost society. They should not be our thoughts.…
Your thoughts will one day come up before God’s judgment. We are responsible for our premeditative thoughts. They make our mind a temple where God can dwell with pleasure, or they make our mind a stable where Christ is angry, ties a rope and drives out the cattle. It is all up to us.4
1 Albert Mohler, The Conviction to Lead (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012), 59.
2 Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).
3 Kenneth O. Gangel and Howard G. Hendricks, The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Teaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 65.
4 A. W. Tozer and Ron Eggert, The Tozer Topical Reader, vol. 2 (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 1998), 236–237.