We are going to look at reasoning in five different areas.
#1. I want us to discuss how reasoning plays a part in intellectual pride, in doubt, and in logical thinking. This whole world’s fall started with a thought that turned into a reasoning session between a woman and the enemy. It is no coincidence that reasoning was in the opening scene of recorded history and has been involved in every fall since. If you missed the first part read it here
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
Eve had been perfectly content with the arrangement until reasoning reared its ugly head.
And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Intellectual reasoning feels good. It sounds right—it is very enticing! How easy it is to see when reasoning began to take over with Eve. You can almost read her thoughts! And you can see the wheels begin to roll as she starts to reason:
* That’s true—we only know what God has said on the subject!
* How can we be totally sure that God is telling us the truth?
* Maybe He doesn’t want us to know as much as He knows!
* It might not be a bad idea to get another viewpoint.
* We do need to be open-minded to all opinions before we make a decision. After all—it’s our future at stake!
You can almost hear the reasoning thoughts pouring through her head! Reasoning is, at times, hard to discern because it sounds good. Intellectual pride thrives on reasoning because it feels good—it sounds right! And most of the time, there is just enough truth to it, and just enough good in it, to deceive us.
There is a danger when we have to get more than God’s opinion on the subject. This picture of Eve is a graphic illustration of the times when we want more than just His insight. Unfortunately, it happens more often than most of us ever realize.
Only a person who has lost his innocence can know that it is the wisdom of God that there are some things we don’t need to know. Can’t you imagine how many times, after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, they must have thought about the wisdom of God which had tried to spare them from some things they didn’t need to know.
Satan is still saying exactly what he said in the garden. He is still saying, “Don’t pay any attention to what God has said in His Word—You surely shall not die. He’s just trying to scare you! God knows that in the day you eat of this fruit of reasoning and intellectual prowess, mental explorations, tolerance… your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” We get hooked because there is some truth to it! When we partake—our eyes are opened into realms of the enemy.
Only a person who has lost his innocence, realizes just how much it was the wisdom of God that tried to spare him from some things that he didn’t need to know. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to lean not to our own understanding—our own mental questionings and reasonings! Surely, God does not mean that literally—or does He?
Reasoning is one of the biggest enemies of faith because it opens wide the door to doubting God.
#2. Next, we will discuss how reasoning plays such a strong part in creating fear. Genesis 12:11-12 lets us know that, because of fear, Abraham made Sarah say that she was his sister. We recognize the fear in that action, but most of the time, we never realize that what opened the door to the fear was his reasoning.
Abraham started reasoning in his mind that when the men of Egypt saw his beautiful wife, they would kill him in order to take her. He reasoned that it would be better for her to be taken by a man who thought she was his sister. He would be considered the man’s brother-in-law and wouldn’t be killed. Pharoah actually took her as his wife. When he found out the truth in Genesis 12:19, he was appalled and angrily sought out Abraham, “Why did you say that she was your sister so that I took her for my wife?”
Reasoning causes us to come up with our own plan of protection, but our way is never the highest. Abraham reasoned out a way to protect himself, causing his wife a lot of grief and shame, plus, he almost lost her in the process. God’s way of protection causes no sorrow!
We see reasoning is hard to overcome because there is always some truth to it. In Abraham’s case, Sarah was his half-sister, so he felt justified in his plan. Abraham saw himself being killed! That’s what reasoning does. When we begin to reason something out, fear pictures are painted in our minds.
Reasoning also plays a big part in picturing death wishes. Every suicide that has ever been committed was likely preceded by the person reasoning how he was going to carry it out. Some people fear getting a bad doctor’s report, and they begin to reason. Before they know it, they see themselves dead. All kinds of shocking things can come with reasoning.
#3. I want us to see how reasoning causes us to operate by the ‘arm of flesh’ in an attempt to try to fix our own problems without trusting God!
Abraham and Sarah believed God’s Word that they would have a child, but, when it didn’t happen as quickly as expected, Sarah came up with a solution to make it happen by the arm of flesh.
Sarah decided that Abraham would have a child by her handmaiden, Hagar, in order to fulfill the prophecy God had given to them. Abraham agreed on the plan which evolved out of reasoning, leaving a trail of grief for everyone.
* Hagar ended up turning on Sarah and ridiculing her unmercifully!
* Sarah became obsessed with jealousy.
* Hagar and the boy were finally put out of the house.
* Today we still live with the repercussions of that decision!
In spite of all the terrible things that would come out of that misguided choice, their reasoning had made it seem the right thing to do. Up to that point, God had not specifically named Sarah as the mother of the promised child. He had only said that Abraham would be the father, so the reasoning sounded logical.
Reasoning feels good and sounds reasonable and logical. Because there is some truth to it, it is easy to fall for it until we recognize it for the enemy that it is.
#4. We are going to see how ‘reasoning’ plays a part in people pleasing and lying.
When we think about the story of Ananias and Sappharia in Acts 5, it didn’t appear that they had done that much wrong. It was their land and their money. They really weren’t obligated to give anything. They just reasoned out a way to impress people. They wanted to look like the church’s biggest givers and still have a nest egg for themselves!
Reasoning took them down a path of people pleasing and lying, and they died because of it. Again, it was easy to get into reasoning because there was some truth in it. He did sell his land, and he did bring part of the money to the Apostles. He just reasoned and justified in his mind that he didn’t need to give it all. However, Peter said, “Ananias, why is it that you have conceived this deed (reasoned out this plan) in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” The partial truth allowed Ananias to reason out that the lie was okay.
#5. Lastly, we are going to see how reasoning play a part in carnality.
I’ve worked with couples who were having marital problems, and every time, it had started with some thoughts borne out of reasoning. I’ve talked with numerous girls who started reasoning in their minds, and before they knew it, they were ready for divorce over several unfounded thoughts:
* My husband doesn’t pay any attention to me.
* I wonder if he has found someone else.
* I don’t think he loves me like he used to.
* Come to think of it, he didn’t even remember our anniversary.
When someone begins entertaining negative reasonings, they don’t realize they are playing with dynamite. It is hard to believe that once that kind of reasoning has been adopted, it has the power within it to destroy even twenty-five of marriage. Reasoning is easy to fall for because there usually is some truth in it.
Many affairs are started by some reasoning thoughts – no more founded than some of the things named above. Affairs start with a thought that develops into more reasoning thoughts! If the reasoning is allowed to continue the results will not be Godly.
Satan’s mightiest warfare weapon is a thought. Reasoning is nothing more than a series of thoughts; so in reality, reasoning is a series of Satan’s mightiest warfare weapons being thrown at you. You might think of a ‘thought’ as a single shot and ‘reasoning’ as spiritual machine gun. That machine gun has to be turned off or disaster will follow.
By no means did we cover every area of reasoning, but we looked at enough to let us see the danger.
* Reasoning can open us up to intellectualism.
* It can open us up to fear, people please, lying.
* It can open us up to making things happen by the arm of flesh.
* It can open the door to carnality.
Reasoning is a far cry from hearing God’s Voice!
-Peggy Joyce Ruth