Watching my way through a classic James Bond film recently, something stuck out at me: The chess master Kronsteen thinks he has conceived of every possible variable in the plan to set up and finally kill the ultimate gentleman spy (From Russia with love).
Kronsteen misses the possibility that the Russian femme used to pull James Bond into the plot may in fact fall in love with the English spy, and it is this wrinkle in his plan that causes his abrupt and unforgiving termination from SPECTRE via a poison-barbed boot.
I noticed the same temptation in me: to try out-think every problem and scenario until I have a solution, even if I’m powerless to implement the solution.
This is a deeply ingrained habit of my thinking, moulded by reductionism and the belief that every problem, like every physical artefact or system can be reduced to its components, analysed and conquered through the application of logic.
Reductionism is useful and technically competent, however it has shortcomings when looking at the world through the eyes of faith.
Recently I’ve been reading through a series on YouVersion: Get out of your head (reading plan from Jennie Allen). She starts off by pointing to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians and the idea of taking every thought captive.
You could put that in other words as gaining control over your thoughts.
As Christians it’s easy to think incorrectly. John Piper provides a more comprehensive theological perspective, framing thinking as a battle. Paul uses combat and siege imagery: Destroying arguments, taking thoughts captive. However this refers to the thoughts of those who oppose God in the context of the passage.
What does that have to do with the Christian? Plenty. The Christian often comes out of an unregenerate mode of thinking and old habits can attempt to re-emerge. To say nothing of the idea that sin can corrupt our thinking. If Adam – with all the advantages of being innocent up until that point – could reason his way into original sin, then we can fall short as well. And do.
Piper summarizes it in a way that makes it easy to understand. The Christian should submit their thinking to Biblical scrutiny and ask the Holy Spirit to work in their thought life.
This is not a strength of mine. Often I don’t consult Scripture and opt instead for the counsel of Google and other online forums. I look at the problems in front of me: ill health, Bernie Sanders and the prospect of a socialist juggernaut in America, the South African economy in its second year of recession. You name the problem and I war-game it. Multiple angles, looking for solutions, using everything except perspective.
Like breathing in anxiety and breathing our panic.
Biblical perspective is what I need. What we all need.
A weary mind playing 4D chess, but needing Biblical perspective. Less news. More truth.