I often catch our daughters lost in thought. I am always running around with my camera, so they are used to me having it near by. That gives me the opportunity to capture moments not just pictures. I am so thankful that they feel the freedom to just stop life for a few moments to pause and think.
After I won the award for my book for teen girls I had a lot of speaking engagements. I would spend time in prayer seeking guidance as to what I needed to teach and asking for direction as to what does this particular group need to hear. I always heard the same "thing" and it was not the "thing" that I thought it should be. This "thing" was not even in my book!
What I continuously heard was: "Teach them to use the brains that I gave them." The voice I hear is usually pretty direct. He knows I respond/listen better that way. :)
As I started to research the topic I realized why I was being asked to help young people think. For years youth are told what to think - from home, from school, and yes, even from church. They are inundated with knowledge, generally presented in a way that leaves little room for interpretation or personal thoughts. That is dangerous and it explains a lot about what is happening to our generation of college and career aged young adults.
What I was being asked to do was to challenge their thinking. To break the mold of authoritarian teaching make them question their belief, to question their character, to question their teachers. Yes, I told them to question their teachers - I even told them to question their Pastors. Yes, I know I am wild and crazy. But it wasn't my idea, if you want to question me you actually need to question the people of Berea. Do you know them? I'll help you find them, they can be found in Acts 17:11.
Paul and Silas went to Berea, while there they taught in the Synagogue. Many Bereans came to hear them day after day and were interested in their message. After they openly listened to their message they searched the scriptures to see if they were teaching the truth!
When I came across this passage I got one of those big Aha! moments. What is the difference between the people of Berea and the people from Corinth, or the people in Ephesus, or the people of Thessalonica? Do you see where I am going with this? Of all the cities where Paul taught, the people of Berea were the only ones that did not have a letter written to them? Why is this significant?
The people of Corinth received two letters because they were surrounded with corruption and negative influence of the people around them, and often gave in to their way of living.
In Ephesus the people needed guidance in how to practically live a Christian life.
In another two letters to the church in Thessalonica, Paul wrote to encourage the people to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives and to stay clear of sexual sin.
What this teaches me is that if you honestly and actively seek to know and obey the truth, then indeed the Truth will set you free!
We have a choice to use the brain that God gave us. Let's finish with Paul's closing thoughts to the church in Philippi.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4: 8