God Gave You a Brain, Use It
Our brains are amazing. We can process so much information and make connections between a variety of data points. God has given us a wonderful brain. I love to use mine. However, do we use it too much?
Often we, as Christians, are ridiculed for our faith by those who think it has little basis on logic. Those of us who respond often try to make our faith sound reasonable to these distracters. We try to show the mountains of evidence of the life of Jesus or the historical accuracy of the Bible. Are we doing these people a disservice? Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith by definition has an element to it that we cannot explain.
We are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). God’s ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). He uses the foolish to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). I feel this idea that “God gave you a brain, use it” will get us off track.
Abraham Used His Brain to Create Ishmael
Think of Abraham. He gets the word of the Lord that he will be a father of many nations. He will have a son. And so, he holds onto this word for many years. But then he decides to use his brain. He reasoned that there are other ways for him to have a child other than only through Sarah. Therefore he took Hagar and had a son, Ishmael. God had to come and remind Abraham that the promised son would come through Sarah.
In the beginning we are quick to listen to the word of the Lord. We are not sure what the will of God is for our lives, so we constantly listen. However, once we get that word we think it is time to use our minds to put the plans together.
My Temptation to Use My Brain
Two and a half years ago, my family was sidetracked by a word of the Lord to pick up our things and move to Asia. We didn’t know where or for what reason, but we were sure He said move. We started making plans and continued to listen intently for more answers. We felt lead to a specific city to work with teenage orphan girls. Things were moving great, and we felt the hand of the Lord pushing us forward.
Fast forward a couple years. We have been studying the language and building a base to do the things we felt led to do. In the midst of it all, we see our personal finances going to zero with no real direction on how that would change. My wife and I have been trained on the top thinking on how to raise support, however, we felt very clearly that we were not to directly ask anyone to give to us. We could make it available, but we were not to use those tactics on which we had been trained.
I don’t feel there is anything wrong about raising support, but God clearly wanted us to trust Him for our finances. I mention all of this because my wife and I have to continually go back to Him to confirm this direction. Our brains tell us we will run out of money. We will not have enough for our kids’ education. We will not be taken care of.
God Wants Us to Trust Him
Our brains are looking for rationale answers, but God is not always looking for what is practical. He feels He can get more of the glory when a shepherd boy without armor defeats the gigantic, undefeated warrior. He thinks that He can conquer satan by dying on a cross. And, He wants us to die to ourselves that we may live.
How many of us create Ishmaels because we try to think through how we will follow God’s direction. The child of the slave woman is birthed by rationalizing God’s plans. The child of the free woman is birthed out of love and holding onto the promises of God. Therefore let us get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son (Galatians 4:28-31). Our inheritance is too big to ever try to comprehend it by logic and reason. God is able to do so much more than we can comprehend (Ephesians 3:20).
I’m not saying the brain is evil, but we should make it subject to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God did gives us a brain, but anything we trust above Him will lead us into sin and away from God. Let’s give God opportunity to direct us. Then, even if it doesn’t make sense, let’s trust God by following His direction. This is a good formula to seeing some of the exceedingly more that God says is available.
This is a very interesting post. I can see your point, where using our brains to an extreme can lead to distrust in God and doubt. we should not constantly try to analyze God or His words, for that shows a lack of faith. And faith is the foundation of our relationship with God. However, it can be dangerous for us to go to the opposite extreme and not discern any thought or idea that comes our way. When they say “use your brain”, they mean to use discernment, and not just assume that something is of God. There are many Bible verses regarding discernment. Just a few are
1 John 4:1– “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Hebrews 5:14– “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21– “But test everything; hold fast what is good.”
Of course, we should not think that we can discern completely on our own without God, for that would lead down a dangerous road of foolishness and conceit. And Proverbs even says to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…” But through constant fellowship with Jesus, we can then know His voice and have that discernment to know what thoughts are of God or Satan or just our own selves.
This discernment comes from God, James 1:5– “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Hopefully, I am not overstepping my bounds by writing all this, but I felt like God was leading me to write it.
Thanks for letting me comment.
I don’t think we should throw away our brains, but when I hear people say use there brains they may mean discernment, however, it is a discernment apart from God. Our brains need to be subject to God and listening to Him. When Joshua told the priests to take the ark into the flooded Jordan, I don’t think our brains would have discerned this as wise. Our limited understanding would say men carrying a heavy load into a flooded river would equal drowning. The spies let their brains interpret what they saw in the promised land as unovercomeable (new word 🙂 ). My understanding of the verses of testing spirits and lacking wisdom is we need ask God and train our brains to think like He does. He is training us to partner with Him.
Rachel, I like you. You are not overstepping your bounds. There is often a balance to things in the Christian faith. Thanks for adding the other side.
Thank you for clarifying this. Now, I know what you mean. 🙂
Thank you for always welcoming my viewpoints.