How to reason

sunset-485016_640Acts 17:17: So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. (ESV)

  1. Reasoning: force of words and force of arms

Paul was tireless as he attempted to get others to join him in the belief in Jesus. It was not by force of arms but of reasoning.

Christianity is not illogical, it is actually based on higher logic, on divine logic. It is not empty of sense, it is highly sensible. It is higher wisdom.

When Paul had a king as audience, and he was a prisoner in the book of Acts, he spoke so well that the king said: you almost convinced me to be a Christian (Acts 26:28).

In Athens which was a city for the intellectuals, and on Mars hill there where the all-day business was to speak and learn things that are new, he spoke about Jesus and though some mocked, some became Christians (Acts 17:16-34). He said he used words given by the Spirit (1Corinthians 2:13).

  1. Reasoning: wisdom of men and power of God

But when he wrote to the church in Corinthians, he touched on another dimension to his persuasion style.

He said that he did not come to them, speaking the wisdom of men but the demonstration of the Spirit and power so that their faith will not rest on the wisdom of men but on the power of God (1Corinthians 2:4).

The reasoning that puts aside the power of God will not do, it will falter. Jesus accused certain people of coming to the wrong conclusion about divine truth because they lacked the understanding of the word and the power of God (Matthew 22:29). The demonstration of the power of God represents a kind of reasoning, a kind of wisdom that is not of this world.

  1. Reasoning: understanding and power   

The letters that Paul wrote showed the importance of right understanding. We need to balance teaching, speaking with conviction from the pages of the bible with the miraculous. That was what we witnessed in the life of Jesus, where he both taught and blessed the people with miracles, revealing God’s touch on the mind and the body, communicating his complete love.

For the training of the apostles, he said he chose them so that they may be with him and later on be sent out (Mark 3:14). And when he sent them out, it was to preach and to heal (Luke 9:2).

Jesus, when he talking about his mission said: the Spirit of the Lord is upon because he has anointed me to preach the gospel, which is good news, to the poor (Luke 4:17-19). The good news is something to hear and faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17).

When the poor hear the word of God and their situation changes for the better. By acting on what they hear they enter into new life, and can reign. Where before they were at a disadvantage, the word they hear and act on becomes their advantage.

Not only was Jesus to preach the gospel, proclaiming the good news, but he also said he has come to preach deliverance to the captives. That was not just about what is said but about the expression of the power of God for an immediate tangible experience of it.

  1. Reasoning: understanding and perception

What you hear begins to shape your perception of yourself, of others and of God. While before you see God as being aloof, when you hear that he has come as Jesus, to share is our human experience, it reshapes your thinking about him, you then begin to see him as approachable.

When you hear that if you call upon the name of the lord you shall be saved (Romans 10:13), you are weaned from dependence on work-based religion, to come into the embrace of the grace of God.

Understanding is important and his based on how you reason, you will understand better if you are exposed to better reasoning, and you will reason better if you come to better understanding.

As mentioned before, Paul said that faith comes by hearing the word of God and another side of faith is conviction. Since the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17), you will live better with better reasoning and understanding of the Word of God.

  1. Reasoning: maturity and focus

Your reason shows your maturity or lack of it. We get that from what Paul said that when he was a child he reasoned like a child (1Corinthians 13:11).

What you pursue shows were you are in spiritual age. To be a child means you do not take the things of heaven, of kingdom sacrifice, as serious as you should. Jesus rebuked Peter when he said that he should not talk about going to the cross (Matthew 16:21-25). Jesus said to him: get behind me Satan, you are not after the things of heaven but the things of the earth.

If you are focused on what you can get and not what you can give, then you are a child. If you are focused on being of help to others then you are proving your maturity.

Paul talking about dying or not, said he will have preferred to go and meet Jesus in heaven, but he chose to remain on the earth in order to continue to be of benefit to the people (Philippians 1:21-25). Maturity means you put aside your convenience or preference to be of help others. Paul was a man who stopped living for himself. He said that: I died nevertheless I live, but the life and I now live, is by the grace of Jesus who loved me and gave his life for me (Galatians 2:20).

  1. Reasoning: wisdom and the cross

He said that he speaks wisdom, i.e. he shares reasoning, which is not of this world nor of the princes of this world. It is the kind of wisdom displayed on the cross, that if the princes of the world knew, they will not have killed Jesus (1Corinthians 2:1-8).

He speaks about the divine reasoning which has to do with how the death of Jesus will lead to the destruction of the devil, being encoded in the punishment of the serpent for drawing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3). God told the serpent, the seed of the women will crush your head. It happened thousands of years later as the divine reasoning captures the expanse of eternity. The devil lacks such capacity.

  1. Reasoning: eternal and temporal

The devil’s reasoning is based on how he can “attack” God by attracting what he created, and he is always for quick impact, for the immediate, while the divine reasoning, encompasses more than that.

That was why Peter could say that one day to the Lord, is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day (2Peter 3:8).

It means a thousand years may be used to prepare for a day (as Jesus was born in the fullness of time after hundreds of years of preparation); and a day may set in motion things for a thousand years, setting up a domino effect that cannot be reversed. It also means that what has been happening continuous for a thousand years may be brought to a grinding halt in a day, if not a moment. Was is not God who said that a nation can be born in a day (Isaiah 66:8)? That is God’s wisdom.

  1. Reasoning: human and divine

The reasoning of God is not bound by chronological linear consideration, like ordinary human’s. God thinks in cycles, and one cycle building on the other in increasing crescendo. That is why the earth is spherical, and the season comes in cycles, he ordained the cycles of the earth, saying as the earth remains seed time and harvest shall not stop (Genesis 8:22). When you understanding God’s reasoning, you can work more effectively with him, as it is written, can two walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3)?

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