Rene Descartes is the one who first said, “I think, therefore I am” (Latin: “Cogito ergo sum . . . bet you were wondering what it meant, right?). And its original philosophical intention was to prove someone’s existence by the mere fact that they might doubt their existence. This funny little statement became the basis for Western philosophy.
I’m not much of a philosopher, at least not by the popular definition of the term. I do love wisdom, but I don’t like to sit around debating stuff. But Descartes’s statement came to mind this morning when I read today’s Bible verse.
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Any Christians out there who are frustrated that you can’t find God’s will for your life? Are you losing patience with God and with the Bible because it doesn’t speak to you?
Here’s the first thing you need to do:
Ask God to change the way you think.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But the way you think determines who you are. It determines how you react to tragedy. It determines how you react to frustration. It determines how you react to success. “I think, therefore I am.”
Our thought processes shape us in so many ways, and where we learn those thought processes will determine how beneficial (or how damaging) they can be.
If you allow the world to shape the way you make decisions, you will think like someone who doesn’t know Christ. You will worry about things you can’t control. You will choose paths that will bring you the most material gain even thought you may sacrifice your soul for them. You will hurt people to get what you want. Even Christians can live like this, but if you are a Christian living your live by making decisions like someone in the world, you will drag the name of Christ through the mud.
But if you allow God to change the way you think — if you take Scripture seriously and bring it into your life and trust it — you will start making decisions like someone who believes God can do anything.
If you change the way you think, everything else will change too. Life will seem more positive because you will realize that even the negatives have a purpose in God’s plan. You will stop seeing the people around you as obstacles or opponents and like people who need God as much as you do. You will be a happier person.
And then, once your thinking has changed, God will reveal His will. But only after your thinking has changed. If you don’t change your thinking, if you don’t change from being a world-centered believer to a Word-centered believer, you won’t be interested in what God has for you anyway.
“I think, therefore I am” was originally intended to prove a person’s existence. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. I’m not a philosopher so I can’t debate that. But what it also means to me is that as you think, so you are. Your thinking will determine the person you become. So I want to make sure that I’m thinking right.