Thinking in New Ways
by Rob Shiflet
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:17-23
Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23
Look at the arrangement of dots below. Without lifting your pencil, can you draw four straight lines in such a way that at least one line goes through each dot?
How’d you do? It’s impossible, you say? Can’t be done? Think again. It can be done, but it requires breaking out of your usual way of thinking. Did you consider starting your straight lines only on one of the dots, or did you consider the possibility that the straight lines could extend beyond the figure of nine dots?
Try it this way: Beginning with the dot in the lower left corner, draw a straight line diagonally to the top right corner. Next, draw a straight line down from the top right corner, continuing past the dot in the bottom right corner. Then, beginning below the dot at the bottom right, draw a straight line diagonally through the dot in the middle of the bottom row and the far-left dot in the middle row (piercing only two dots) and again continuing past that dot into the space to the left of the top row. Then draw your fourth straight line across the top row of the figure. Phew! You did it!
What’s the point of this exercise? Well, the more you learn about God and his ways, the more you will begin to think in ways that other people just can’t understand. As you learn more and more about God and accept him as the authority over right and wrong, your thoughts and attitudes will begin to change. When others react one way to a certain situation or temptation, you will act and react in a totally different way. When others choose wrong, you will be able to choose right because you know some things that they don’t understand.
If something seems impossible, people think, “Hey, it can’t be done.” Let’s face it-as humans we can be pretty limited in our thinking. But just like the dot exercise, we can be trained to go beyond our limitations. How? By thinking like Christ. First Corinthians 2:16 tells us, “We can understand [spiritual and other truths], for we have the mind of Christ.” With his limitless thinking, the possibilities are endless!
REFLECT: Do your friends ever express surprise about the way you think or the things you do? Do they think differently from you about right and wrong? If so, why? If not, why not?
PRAY: “God, how great it is that you give us a new way of thinking. Help me to develop the same mind as Christ and to act—and react—like he would?”