For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
There’s a phrase that I used to hear a lot when I was in college: “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” I always loved hearing it because it served as a compass to direct me to the Scriptures whenever I desired to voice my opinion on a matter. The same idea was built into the structure of Bible Study Fellowship. As you answered the weekly questions, you were encouraged to back your thoughts with Scripture. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we always lived this way, searching the Scriptures to see if our words and thoughts are in accord with God’s words and thoughts? Think of all those idle words we wouldn’t speak and all the grief and pain we would spare others as well as ourselves.
John Calvin, one of my favorite mentors in the faith, in his commentary on Isaiah 65:11 said it this way: “It is not lawful for men to undertake anything at their own suggestion; for the Lord demands nothing but obedience, (1 Samuel 15:22) and there is no obedience without faith; and there is no faith without the word, (Romans 10:17) by which alone we are at liberty to inquire or think concerning God.” There it is again: thinking God’s thought after Him.
This principle is something I really want to pass on to the children I teach. They live in the “culture of spectacle” with words, ideas, and computer generated graphics flying at them from every direction in order to distract and entertain. How are they going to filter all of it? More importantly, will they filter all of it? Without a clear vision of what is good for them and what is not, how will they decide?
In a sermon series on the book of Romans, John Piper planted a seed thought in my head that has taken root. It is profound in its simplicity, and I credit him with most of what I’m about to share. The idea is this: Teach your children the simple propositions of the Bible and you will save them (and yourself) from hundreds of follies. Just think, you won’t have to read the latest books regarding trends in philosophy. Just read, meditate on, and apply simple sentences from the Bible to build your children’s worldview. Before long, they will soak them in like rain from heaven. If later in life they choose to turn their backs on the truth, those propositions will be difficult to unroot, and you never know how the Holy Spirit will use them to convict and conquer your child’s straying heart. (See Jeremiah 23:29)
Piper used the example of Romans 12:9, “Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” Meditating on this verse teaches us that there is objective good and objective evil. These things do not change over time because God never changes, and He is the One who defines good and evil. Using the earlier principle of thinking God’s thoughts after Him, I must conform my ideas of good and evil to God’s idea of good and evil.
Romans 12:9 also teaches us that God commands our emotions. This will be a new thought to many since it’s generally held that we have limited control over our emotions. But God commands us to abhor, loathe, and feel disgust for evil. Those are strong emotions that require a new heart and renewed mind if we are going to abhor true evil and cherish true good.
The Bible is full of these short propositions that inform our thinking and shape our worldview. As you begin to teach them to your children, you will find yourself integrating them into conversations with friends and acquaintances because they become such a part of your own thinking. Let you child’s attention be drawn to what is eternal rather than ephemeral. Be mindful of the gigabytes of information that flood their minds daily and the effect it is having on them. Protect them from the hundreds of follies they are tempted to embrace by teaching them to meditate and apply God’s propositional wisdom to their lives.