Critical Thinking – Application
Last time we said – When we struggle with certain “sins” or are not sure about a teaching or “doctrine” it is because we have not found out how to process specific information relating to that “sin” or doctrine or issue. It is not that the information is incorrect (although it could be), but the information could be slanted, corrupted, biased or incomplete. But the answer is in how the information is processed and that is where critical thinking skills come in to play. Remember, the brain is the tool, a toolbox and the mind is what processes the information.
So let’s look at a generic application and then let’s look at how significant changes we make alter our life.
When Paul was speaking to the Corinthians he addressed how Satan corrupts our mind, our thinking process. People who are addicted to some vice – to anything – their mind has been corrupted. The way they process information has been corrupted. It does not matter what the addiction is – food, drugs, sex, alcohol, smoking, work, money, sex trafficking, shopping, anything, people “think” they have to have whatever their addiction is. They think they can not live without engaging in their addiction.
Yet, everyone knows if they stop their addiction they will still live and not die. But they think they can not make it through the day without engaging in their addiction. So something happens from the time the thought enters their mind, (their thinking process) to the time they act.
Thoughts can be good thoughts or they can be bad thoughts. Bad thoughts we could compare to malware or a virus. Malware and viruses “mess up” the normal functions of an operating system. Wrong thoughts and bad thoughts “mess up” the normal functions of our thought process, our mind.
Addict is defined as one who devotes one’s self habitually. To devote time and attention by constant practice. We can be addicted to God’s word, good deeds, church attendance, work, family, drugs, alcohol, sex and many other things. But notice in the definition the addict devotes time and attention. What is attention?
Attention is defined as the act of heeding of the mind to objects presented to its contemplation. Another words, your thought process (your mind) heeds to objects. The only way to stop addiction then is to change the thought process about a specific object.
If you think believers do not have addictions, you would be wrong. Ecclesiastes 12:14 KJV “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
Think about the things you struggle with in your own life and ask yourself why. Why can’t I stop ______________(fill in the blank). The reason is you spend time thinking on the object.
People appear to do really stupid things sometimes. Why? Because the way they process information does not leave them with the same conclusions others have reached. That is not necessarily a “bad” thing because that is where break throughs can come. New inventions, medicine and yes, even a break through with God and his word.
The process of critical thinking requires one to look at all the evidence. For and against. So how can we make significant changes in our life? Examine your thought process. Let me explain.
If I were to ask you, what is the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit, what would you say? You might list the 9 fruit and say they are evidence of the Holy Spirit being in one’s life. Then you would go about your business. You would try to develop these 9 fruit and years down the road you would not be much farther along with understanding the fruit of the Spirit. Why? Because of how you processed the information about the Holy Spirit and the fruit.
But what else do you see? Here is the information – Galatians 5:22-26 KJV
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
After reading these verses from God’s word, what do you see about the fruit ( verses 22 and 23)? There are 9 fruit. Yes, what else? Some deal with emotions. Yes and emotions are part of? The soul, the mind, will and emotions. Okay, what else?
Critical thinking skills require you to dig deeper. Look deeper at those two verses. What do you see? It is the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will produce these 9 fruit. Yes. But where? And how? And these two questions we will answer next time as we conclude our Critical Thinking series. Until next time.