Consider the shady used car salesman; he wants you to buy this overpriced car that has several mechanical issues. He does not want you to look too closely. He does not want you to bring it to a mechanic that will find the flaws. He does not want you to know the truth of this car because he is trying to deceive you, and if you are not deceived you will not buy the car. Now consider the honest car salesman. He has a mechanically sound car that is an amazing buy. He wants you to know everything there is to know. He wants you to see the maintenance records that shows how well the car was maintained. He wants you to see the CarFax and Consumer Report. He encourages you to bring it to your mechanic so the expert can tell you how nice this car is. The honest car salesman wants you to know the truth, he is not afraid of you knowing the truth because the more you know, the better chance he has of you buying the car. In short, the truth is not afraid of you using logic and reason, while the lie wants you to use your mind as little as possible. The lie wants you to use emotion. The lie wants you to simply adopt what you are being told without thinking. I am firmly convinced that the mind is the devil’s playground. His agenda is to distract you, to get you focused on things that are futile. He distracts you with entertainment, sports, religion, hobbies, and/or politics to consume your time so you do not use our time to draw near to God. Some of these things in and of themselves are not bad, but if it is out of balance it becomes an idol to us. (that is another issue, today I want to focus on the reality of our thinking, our understanding, our mind) I have heard people say, “Christianity is for weak minded people that cannot think for themselves.” The irony is Christianity is the exact opposite. God wants you to think, He wants you to reason, He wants you to use logic. The Gospel is logical and reasonable, it demands that we re-think, and reconsider what we think we know to be true. Have you ever had a belief or opinion that you were very rigid about, only to find out years later you were wrong? Have you ever had an opinion of someone, only to find out years later that you were way off about that person? We must become convinced in our mind, because when the mind changes, everything changes. The one that is trying to deceive does not want you to think, reason, and use logic. The one that is offering truth wants you to think, reason, and use logic. I have a friend that is into Eastern Mysticism. As we discussed eternal life, death, and God I asked him what his source of absolute truth is. He did not have an answer, in fact, like many, he considered it noble to say, “there is no absolute truth, truth for you is what you want it to be.” It does not take much to see how illogical that is; after all, there is absolute truth everywhere. One plus one is always two, if I drop a rock off a building it will always accelerate as gravity dictates until it hits the ground, at some point everyone dies, etc. The absolute Truth of Eternal Life is also another issue, today I just want to show the evidence found in God’s Word that illustrates that God wants you to think. Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." There is a place we are to set our mind and it is not on the things of this world. This world is under the influence of Satan and he is the master deceiver, he is the father of lies. John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 1Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1John 3:8b The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. The definition of sober-minded is someone who is serious and sensible. A person who is studious and logical is an example of someone who would be described as sober-minded. Jesus always challenged people to think, to use logic. Here is an example: Matthew 21:28-31 "What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. The reason the tax-collectors and prostitutes will enter Heaven and not the religious leaders Jesus was talking to is because the tax-collectors and sinners changed their mind. They thought living wickedly, with no regard to God or His will, was OK, but they re-considered what they thought they knew and when their mind changed everything changed. Acts 26:24-25 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind." But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. When Paul was on trial, and allowed to speak in his defense, he spoke the Truth of God and salvation. Festus, a government official, said Paul was out of his mind. But Paul did not speak and act as a madman, we was logical, rational, and as he said, spoke true words. Ephesians 4:18a They are darkened in their understanding, In Ephesians 4:18 Paul is referring to non-believers, those that do not believe the Truth of the Gospel. As a person continues to reject the Truth there is a hardening that happens, a callousness that causes a darkened understanding. To be exposed to Truth and not consider it, not to re-think what you think is true is very dangerous ground. 1Timothy 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Men that make forceful statements of “fact” is nothing new, men are not short on opinions. Unfortunately, many opinions are not based in fact or deep thinking or understanding of the subject matter of which they make these assertions. 2Timothy 2:7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. The hidden treasures, the understanding, the wisdom of God’s Word must be thought over deeply, studied, and meditated on. This is the way God chooses to reveal His Truth. The casual observer, or the casual reader cannot expect to find the hidden treasure of wisdom and understanding by being casual any more than a gold miner can expect to find gold by being casual in his search. 1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Philippians 3:15a Let those of us who are mature think this way Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. We all have an “understanding” of certain things that is formed by our upbringing, our environment, or an influential person in our life. In whatever way your understanding was formed, consider the possibility that your strongest influence may have unintentionally led you in error. Diligently seek the Truth in God’s Word. If you doubt that the Bible is God’s Word, diligently seek the proof that it is His Word. If we lean on our own understanding that has been formed by a fallen world that is under the influence of Satan, you will spend a life deceived. Satan and his demons are powerful, and they are using all means possible to lead you in to error, seek the Truth.