Why logic is ONLY the starting point
This blog is also available in audio format, scroll down to listen.
“"logic and “what works” for others is not always the right path for us” — Abiola
I recently listened to a sermon from Bethel Church on “Recognising Divine Favour”. In the message, the preacher spoke about how sometimes bitterness and jealousy are reasonable. By this he meant that sometimes we have a valid reason, and it’s logical to have negative feelings towards someone.
But all because it’s reasonable or logical, doesn’t make it okay. It doesn’t confirm that you’re on the right path, only God does that. This was major for someone like me, because I learned that logic and “what works” for others is not always the right path for us.
Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinise every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well. — 1 Corinthians 10:23
Whether it’s holding resentment towards someone, or making an important decision in life, work or business, it’s our responsibility to be aware that the “logical” option is only the starting point.
Let me explain with some real life examples
Let’s start with Solomon. God literally said to him “you can have anything you want in the world” and he asked for wisdom (1 Kings 3:7-9). ANYTHING. In the WORLD. If you had gone to a board of advisors at that moment, or if you had looked at other people for inspiration, do you think you would have asked for wisdom?
If I’m honest the answer is probably no.
“Logic and reason only get you so far, there’s something that goes beyond them, something spiritual”
In a similar way, Daniel was selected by the King of Babylon, one of the strongest political empires in the world, to join a royal training scheme. Part of the package was that these young men got to have the best education, training and education available. The logic was simple: by giving these men elite treatment, they would become powerful leaders in the King’s office. But Daniel and his friends chose not to (Daniel 1:8-9). They chose to eat simple food and rely on God for strength, much to the doubt of their training manager. But by the end of the scheme, they were the strongest, best looking and smartest men in the group. (Daniel 1:15-17)
Later in Daniel’s career, the King was having nightmares and looking for someone to interpret them. But the astrologers’ who worked for him couldn’t figure it out and faced execution because of it. Through the insight that God’s spirit brings, Daniel provided solutions that no one else could (Daniel 2:27-28).
It’s my prayer that we avoid following “what works” for others at the expense of waiting on God
These stories are powerful examples of how logic and “best practices” based on the physical world are helpful, but when it comes to the most important things in life, they can only get you so far. I’m not saying we should ignore them completely, but we should be conscious that there may be something that goes beyond them, something that goes beyond what ‘makes sense’ to the naked eye. Something spiritual.
The spiritual nature of Daniel and Solomon’s decisions are shown in their actions. Quite simply, they prayed (Daniel 2:18-19). And it is my prayer that we will develop the wisdom to discern the right path for us as individuals. It’s my prayer that we avoid following “what works” for others at the expense of waiting on God, in order to discern whether we might be called to do something different.
But how? Let’s look at Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
In short, when we allow God’s Word and Spirit to be embedded in our lives, they provide clarity in the most difficult to separate situations. So in a world where becoming King potentially led to wealth and power, Solomon saw that there was something greater: wisdom. In a world where people who ate the King’s food had a better chance at life, Daniel and his friends saw that there was something greater: relying wholly on God. I’m reminded of this verse:
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
“Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life. — Isaiah 55:2-3 (NLT)
Some people use Daniel’s story as Biblical grounds for “Daniel fasts” and plant-based diets, and while there are proven benefits of both, I wonder if the lesson we really need to learn is how to depend on God, not just our human understanding.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. — Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
But you can’t rely on someone you don’t know.
And this is where the concept of the Word being “alive and active” becomes essential. The more we explore the Bible and get to know God in our private time and in community, the more we awaken ourselves to the Holy Spirit who can guide us.
My own sheep will hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me. I give to them the gift of eternal life and they will never be lost and no one has the power to snatch them out of my hands. — John 10:27-28 (TPT).