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I am embarrassed to admit how spiritually insensitive I was in what I'm preparing to tell you. I did a great deal of research over several years and in fact completed the first drafts of an entire book on spiritual intelligence before I was convicted that what I had to say was not from God.

First God convicted me that my motives were not pure. I said some things in the book that were true, and possibly helpful to some. But I also secretly wanted to insinuate that I was smart too. God forgive me.

But the broader problem was the focus on intelligence itself. We have seen this, possibly to a lesser extent, in the focus on natural intelligence in education. In the early part of the last century Stanford psychologist Lewis Terman, who developed the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test, was obsessed with identifying children with exceptional intelligence. However, it turned out that a majority of the children Turman identified did not do well in life.

Scripture tells us that God is not as interested in bright minds as He is with tight thinking. Few things are as dangerous spiritually as loose thinking. 1 Peter 1:13 has a marvelous picture for this. King James Version translated this fairly literally calling us to gird up the loins of our minds. In the English Standard Version this verse reads,

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Here is the picture. In the ancient near East men wore flowing robes. There were a number of good things about this, but robes became a major problem if one had to run. If a man ran any distance at all he would soon be hopelessly tangled in the cloth. So if someone  knew he was going to have to run, he would gather sheets his robe up and tuck them into the belt around his waist.

Peter uses this as a vivid picture for preparing our minds for action. He links this word picture with being sober minded. Tightening the belt of your mind does not appear anywhere else in Scripture. However Peter uses being sober-minded twice more in this letter. 1 Peter 5:8 calls us to be sober-minded because our adversary the devil is stalking us. In 1 Peter 4:7 Peter says because the end of all things is near, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Peter calls us to sinch our minds up on things of Ultimate Importance. What do you think about? Is your mind fixed on earthly success, earthly comfort, earthly satisfaction? Sober minded believers set their minds on what God will ultimately do in our lives.
This requires us to tighten our minds on Ultimate Truth. I was once talked with a close friend about errors in The DaVinci Code. He liked the book, and did not think most of my objections  were important. Then I mentioned Jesus being married. He object to this. I told him there is absolutely no ancient reference to any such thing. The notion only rose from speculations in modern times. He answered that he wasn't getting into the history, he  just meant that was how he thought it should be. I suppose he assumed truth and history would adapt.

If we want meaning in this life we must direct the motivation of our minds to Ultimate Hope. I was just trying to think of a C.S. Lewis quote that said something like, If you aim at truth you will get comfort as well. If you aim at comfort, you will get neither. Some of you Lewis aficionados know I was thinking wrong. What Lewis said was, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in. Aim and Earth, and you will get neither.” I am not sure the related thought would not be true as well. “Aim at truth and you will get intellect thrown in. Aim at intellect and you will get neither.

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Comment by Malva Birch on January 10, 2018 at 10:35am

Isa 26:3

NIV You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.

NLT You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!

ESV You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

HCSB You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. 

ISV You will keep perfectly peaceful the one whose mind remains focused on You, because he remains in You.

NET You keep completely safe the people who maintain their faith, for they trust in You. 

GWT With perfect peace You will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust You.

DRB The old error is passed away: Thou wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in Thee. 

YLT An imagination supported Thou fortifiest peace -- peace! For in Thee it is confident.


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