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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mind Reading and Mental Scripting (Matthew 9:4)

"Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?"

A "mind-reading" security scanner which screens the person, rather than their bags, is being tested in the U.S.The Malintent system searches the body for non-verbal cues that predict whether the person intends to cause any harm to fellow passengers. It uses a series of sensors and scans to detect temperature, heart rate and respiration as passengers walk through an archway - and could also cut airport queues. Google "mind reading machine" and find out for yourself. Talk about invasion of privacy!

I often entertain myself with mental scripting "come backs" as I walk away from a conversation with someone as I re-live the conversation by re-writing my response. We all mental script. In a world in invasive technology we like to think that at least one area of our life, our thought life, remains private.

Throughout the gospels Jesus responds to the mental scripting of the Scribes and Pharisees (Though He knows the thoughts and hearts of everyone Jesus often exposed the hearts and thoughts of the religious crowd. Why? Because hiding behind their spiritual veneer they thought they were "safe" to entertain hateful thoughts about Jesus and others). He invades their very thoughts and addresses publicly their "private" unbelief, accusations, and arguments. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be around someone who could accurately invade your very thoughts.

Because Jesus isn't here in a physical body we think that our thoughts are private and unmonitored by Him. Because the Spirit of God lives in me my thoughts are never private. He knows my tendency toward mental scripting and self-justification. And, He calls me on it!

Only God has the ability to search the heart and ascertain corrupting thoughts. Just as the Psalmist boldly asked for this searching out by God, "Search me, O God, and know my thoughts" so believers today needs this invasion and correction of thoughts. Thinking wrongly leads to wrong actions and God goes to the heart and thought of the behavior. May we live with the awareness of His presence and His scanning of our thought life!

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Mark 2:1-12; Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-6
  • Describe how faith mobilizes the friends of the paralytic.
  • How does Jesus address their thoughts? What does this tell you about Jesus?
  • How do the religious people differ from the paralytic's friends and the rest of the crowd?
Mark 2:13-17; Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 5:27-32
  • Who does Jesus befriend? How do the religious people respond to Jesus' choice of dinner companions?
  • To whom do the religious crowd voice their objections and what is their main complaint?
  • How does Jesus respond and what does He tell them that they don't understand?
  • What are the disciples learning about Jesus, religious people and sinners?
Mark 2:18-22; Matthew 9:14-17; Luke 5:33-39
  • How do John's disciples and the Pharisees differ from Jesus' disciples?
  • What illustrations does Jesus use to answer their question?
Mark 2:23-28; Matthew 12:1-8; Luke 6:1-5
  • Why are the disciples picking grain on the Sabbath?
  • What were the Pharisees most concerned about? (I wonder how many of them invited Jesus and his fisherman followers home for Sabbath lunch?)
  • How does Jesus' concerns differ from those of the Pharisees?
Turning truth into prayer
So, what about your thought life? Are you aware of His presence in your thoughts? Ask the Lord to help you take every thought captive to the obedience to Jesus Christ.
Are you hard on others or nit-picky about things that don't really matter in the eternal scheme of things? Ask the Lord to help you to extend grace and acceptance toward those who differ from you.