“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” – Colossians 3:2
It was about 13 years ago now that I became quite convinced that the U.S. was on the verge of going to war against North Korea. Various news reports seemed to support my conviction. I was certain that perilous times were right around the corner for both nations. Clearly I was wrong.
My error was prompted by two things: 1. What I was selectively watching, listening to and reading, and 2. My feelings. Thus my "conviction" was predicated upon faulty information and my gut-level feelings about what I had read. In the end, both were misleading.
I believe this error on my part was and is instructive to us today. As for information – what we may watch, listen to or read – the fact is one can watch, hear or read just about anything. Sociologists would warn us all of entering into "echo chambers" where what we are hearing is the same thing over and over again. Just because what we hear is being said a lot…and repeated a lot…does not make it true. The recent presidential election (like nearly every election) is a classic case in point as the two candidates were putting out two very different kinds of information. As both "sides" demonized the other side the truth became harder and harder to discern. "A vote for ____________ is a vote for unrest in our communities," one side said. "A vote for ______________ is a vote for a man who doesn't care about you," the other side said. You all heard this; you saw the commercials. (Aren't you glad we are done with the commercials?)
The second error on my part was my listening to what I thought of as my "inner sense" – as if God was revealing something to me.
I had that same sense, many years earlier, in regards to my grandmother Winne. This was back in about 1975 or so. It was a feeling that she was soon going to die. I recall thinking to myself, "Maybe I should contact her and tell her what I believe is soon going to happen to her." I never did. As things would be she lived about another 30 years past that time, finally dying at the age of 102.
Christians run this same risk more than the average person as we rightly believe that God can and does, at times, reveal things to us, His children. The problem is that we often confuse our feelings…our gut-level intuition about things…with any true, clear revelation or illumination from the Holy Spirit. We may think God is showing us something when, in fact, He has nothing to do with what we are thinking at the time.
So instead of listening to and heeding every news broadcast, blogger or person who has somehow obtained a following, may we apply our time to more productive ends. Enough with the apocalyptic visions, the doomsday calls, the warnings and fears. Instead, let us focus on Christ.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light