Highlands Blog

Keep Your Thinking On the Straight and Narrow

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Keep Your Thinking to the Straight and NarrowScandal of Leaving the Straight and Narrow

Did you read the recent expose in Christianity Today about the large New York City church and the shocking sins publicly committed and rank heresy preached directly from the pulpit? Any attempt to clean up the situation was thwarted by the fact that the members were all aligned with different pastors. You would probably know this church more by the fact that it was founded, and for years ministered to, by perhaps our country’s most beloved and respected pastor. How does a church so quickly fall into such traps given the firm foundation on which they were founded?

Well you didn’t read such an expose but it seems that the church has been asking this question for about 2,000 years ever since a church in a city called Corinth made all the newspapers. There is nothing new under the sun.

The abuses, sins, heresy, and discord found there were no different from what we struggle with today. We know of churches where homosexuals are ordained, where sexual immorality is condoned, where heresy is preached, where sin goes unconfronted, where the people are divided. This is the nature of God’s people. As RC says, “we are composed of nothing but a combination of dust and rebellion.” To watch the fun, just add water.

Subtle Divergence from the Straight and Narrow

We don’t need much of an excuse to leave God’s straight and narrow path but one of the real dangers for the Christian is the subtlety of the serpent and his putting just a slightly different path before us. Not so different as to shock us — abort your children! But just a slight deviation from God’s thinking — maybe you could have more fun if you had just fewer children! Satan, because he is the great deceiver, is also adept at the big lie and we fall for both. Thus the church in Corinth, planted by the great apostle Paul, fell into a complete slough of sin and because we are no different in our sinful nature, so do we.

We Want to Be Like God

The first sin was not about the fruit, it was about the idea that Satan put forth to Eve and Adam. “You will be like God.” Wow! God had just created them; were they that delusional that they could think that one day they were not, the next day they were and then the next day they could be like God? Yes they were and so are we.

Any slight deviation from His will, any slight deviation from His goals for us as creatures will result, at some point in the near future, in a heinous system of sin. Satan explains “You will surely not die, you will be like God.” Now that’s a big lie. Hitler, Satan’s most excellent disciple wrote about the big lie in his infamous Mein Kampf:

in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility . . . and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie . . . They would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.

God’s Word Defines the Straight and Narrow

When our philosophies diverge from Scripture we gain confidence when they at least align with the world’s. Look at this foolishness for a moment from God’s perspective. He created us out of nothing and we have nothing that He didn’t give us. We don’t even know how our hearts stay beating. A single word from His lips wipes out every living thing on the planet. We are absolutely powerless over our own lives. And yet we form grand schemes to try and make our own sense rather than patiently and obediently follow God’s simple plan.

We form grand schemes to try and make our own sense rather than patiently and obediently follow God’s simple plan.—Eric Owens

Simply Obey

Each generation comes up with another great idea or program or evangelism technique designed to help God out, to tweak what Scripture says to make it more efficient or perhaps easier to swallow. Each generation with its good intentions fails to simply obey God and His Word and leans on their own understanding. Where Scripture fails to complement our thinking we reject Scripture and call the passage ‘culturally explicit” or “Old Testament thinking.” Satan leans in and encourages us along the way,. We think that our infinitesimal bit of knowledge can be parlayed into a massive system that will supplant God’s or perhaps just give Him an alternative to His own.

Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

We see this hubris all the time in our broader society. Traffic expert A gets on the news and tells us that in just a few years our city will have three times as many cars on the road and just imagine your commute then! So vote for me, vote for this, spend on this, vote money for that! A man deigns to understand what will happen in the lives of one million people in your city, and then in the country and in the world over the next thousand days. His calculations ignore the hundred billion decisions made over that time and he simply concludes that there will be but one result, more traffic.

This is the kind of foolishness we engage in when we seek first our own understanding and lean not on God’s. Neo-liberalism is just the latest in a long line of philosophies that deviate from God’s Word. It certainly won’t be the last.

Called Out from Worldly Thinking

We are the called out ones. Called out from the world and worldly thinking. Deviation from the path leads to destruction. And yet, even when we start down the road of thinking God’s thoughts after Him, we still are very much a threat to sin.

It is possible to change our thinking to align with God’s and end up back where we started, in full rebellion. Homeschool moms are susceptible to a creeping feminism as they excel in this arena, become convinced of their own greatness and seek their husband’s authority in the home. Serious students of Scripture can lose their heads by becoming enamored with the knowledge and using it as a club against others rather than as a sword to cut away the fat in their own worldly thinking.

The only way to get to the Celestial City is to follow the straight and narrow path and not to deviate from it one degree. We must constantly hold up our thinking and actions to Scripture and compare them and where they diverge we are sinning. Where they diverge, we must make immediate changes to align them once again.

This article was originally published in Every Thought Captive magazine, 2009. Subscribe to receive 10 issues each year!

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