Devotional: Think outside of your box!
We’ve seen that there are four main areas in which our ways and thoughts need to be brought into line with those of God if we are to agree with God. The four main areas I've outlined are first, objectives; second, priorities; third, attitudes; and fourth, categories. I believe in all these areas our thoughts have to be brought into line with those of God and the only instrument that can do that is the Word of God received by faith into our hearts and minds.
Now I'm going to move on to the fourth main area: that of categories ‑ that is, the way we classify things, or group them together.
First, I must point out that the way we categorize things or persons has a tremendous influence on how we relate to them or deal with them. If we categorize them one way, we'll have a negative attitude. If we categorize them another way, we'll have a positive attitude to the same thing or person.
Take as an example some ways we commonly categorize persons. For instance, the political way. A person is a Democrat or a Republican, Labour, Conservative or Liberal. Or if you're thinking in terms of Communist philosophy he's a worker or a capitalist. If you think in religious categories, the main religious category in Christianity is Catholic or Protestant. You may think in racial categories. Then the possible categories would be white, black, Jew, Gentile, and so on.
Now let me give you a very brief and simple example of how categories make a difference. Let's suppose I'm white, a Democrat and a Catholic, which is not totally true in my case. I meet a man who is black, a Democrat, and a Catholic. If I categorize him on a racial basis, there's a barrier between us. But if I relate to the same man on a religious or political basis, I identify with him. And so the basis on which I relate to him determines my attitude toward him. And there are of course countless other ways we could illustrate that. The conclusion then is that the way that we categorize people or things determines our attitude to them and how we relate to them.
Now what I want to say is, the same is true of God. If we want to agree with God, we must learn to think in God's categories. And that is a revolution because by nature our categories are very different from those of God. So we need to learn to think in God’s categories.
Lord, I want to learn to think in Your categories. Would you please help me when I am categorizing and valuing people and things in a human way? Thank You for Your liberating view of all people and things around me, and that I can learn to see people and things how You see them. Amen.
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