Thinking and Theology

Janet Aucoin December 17, 2021

Our thought life matters to God! Our theology should impact the way we think. The Bible teaches us how to take our thoughts captive in submission to Christ. In this week’s episode, we are thrilled to welcome back our co-host, Jocelyn, as she and Janet take a look at Psalm 1 and 2, which instruct us to meditate on truth and show us how to conform our thinking to Christ

Main passage: Psalm 1 and 2

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Episode Transcript


The Ology - Marty Machowski

Biblical Doctrine - John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue

In the Arena of the Mind - John Vandegriff


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Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no-brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of
Janet: Jocelyn is back with us in the studio today. We are happy to see you again. I'm glad you're
Jocelyn: I'm so glad to be back. So much has happened since the last time I recorded a podcast
episode with you.
Janet: You're telling me. Personally, and in the world.
Jocelyn: Oh my word. I remember things in events of importance, basically. And the last time I
recorded a podcast episode with you was back in the spring. I was desperately trying to not
cough every other second because I was recovering from COVID. I kept on like leaning away
and hoping that Karis, our tech girl, wasn't going to have to like edit out all of my hacking. But
since the spring, which feels like an age ago, so much has happened, it feels like a different
lifetime already. My daughter, Haley graduated from high school. We went on family vacation to
celebrate her senior trip and breathed in the salt air on the seashore. So all of our lungs could get
better. She started college. We had an entire farmer's market season. And all the hundreds and
hundreds of hours that go into planting and harvesting and engaging in customers. You know,
every single Wednesday and Saturday. My little daughter, Shelbi, got a job for the first time ever,
which is a humongous victory with all that she's worked through with anxiety, and
Janet: That is so great.
Jocelyn: thinking in her past, just like my word, it's like our summer exploded. Then over the
course of the summer and into the fall, we're all in this world together. We're seeing things that
we could never imagine.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: And in our city, COVID just ravaged the medical care system. And my ABF, my adult
Bible fellowship teacher is a doctor. So we were getting like weekly updates on like how bad it
was and it, you know, it's affecting the whole planet. A huge building collapsed in Florida. The
president of Haiti, where I grew up as a missionary kid was assassinated. Record-breaking floods
in Germany. The Olympics finally happened, but they weren't really all that awesome.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: Another huge earthquake. Afghanistan exploded.
Janet: Oh, that was--Yes.
Jocelyn: And we just sat there gasping watching it happen. And then just like a month and a half
ago, a 19 year old friend of our family was killed in a, just a horrible car crash. And it just feels
like, it just feels like we emerged from like five or six months of pretty much constant counseling
sessions about what's going on in the world as they just explode in front of us.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: So, especially for us, we have a family of young adults. They're just becoming aware of
how big the world is, and everything that influences the world and how economics work and,
you know, tragedies work. And we've just had so much to talk about as a family.
Janet: Well, and that's a lot and it's typicalthat we, with young adults, talk about those things. But
so much has happened that I would imagine most of us are just nodding with you. Yes. We're all
kind of in shell shock with everything that's happening and how we talk about that is so vital.
Don't you think?
Jocelyn: Absolutely. And for us, it's not just been teaching our kids to see what's going on and
not miss the importance of it. They don't understand like, oh my word, do you understand how
important this thing is that just happened? Like you don't understand how huge this is. It's also
been teaching our kids to process in the moment, what they're thinking about all of it.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: On top of all these huge big world events are all everything else like,
Janet: Yep.
Jocelyn: We still get up and go to work every day. We make decisions about what to eat or not
eat, how much to sleep, and how to stay physically fit, and how all of us are supposed to be
keeping track of our budgets, and making decisions about where to spend money or how to
spend money or how not to spend money, or seeing their friends or not seeing their friends.
Spending time with their cousins, serving in church every week.
Janet: I'm exhausted.
Jocelyn: I know. That that's just normal life and they had to add all of the craziness of summer on
top of it. At least for our family, for every event in life, there was so much talking and prep, that
goes into getting ready for the event so that we handle it well. Like we're big preppers, we're big
planners. And there's twice as much talking that happens after the event so that we process it
accurately and kind of like put it to bed well, so that it's dealt with.
Janet: I mean, it's overwhelming thinking about all the talking that has to happen. And I can
remember hearing and I would say, I agree with it, that parenting littles is physically exhausting
and parenting older children is mentally exhausting. And I think you just described it.
Jocelyn: And it all happens at 10 o'clock at night.
Janet: When my brain is gone.
Jocelyn: It's dead. So as a mom and a wife, and this episode is not just about parenting, but that's
just where I live right now, I find that we spend more and more time talking about the events of
our life and not the only the specifics of what we're going to do in those events, but more so what
we think about the events and how we're processing the events in our heads and hearts.
Janet: Yeah, and it is interesting. There's so many books out there how to take care of your baby,
how to parent, and they seem to be focused on what your children should or shouldn't do. But I
don't really see many chapters on how to teach your family how to think.
Jocelyn: Exactly. Yeah. There's info on everything else.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: Thinking is one of the most important things that you do every day and. It's something
that God, the father said is super important. So I always was always like, why did no one write a
book on how to raise babies? In fact, he did. He said that what we think about is the most
important thing. So that's what we're going to talk about today. This is one of those areas that I've
just, I am so passionate about. I talk about this a lot. I counsel about this a lot. Because
unfortunately, a lot of people never think about the fact that they think. And thinking is just like--
it's there like your heart beating. You don't think about, oh, my heart is beating right now, unless
something's wrong with it.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: Like you don't think about the fact that you're thinking.
Janet: You're counseling yourself all day long.
Jocelyn: Right. But how we think affects our life. And so we're going to be looking at Psalm one
and two, and I'm just going to kind of walk through those step-by-step. But I want to start by
having Janet read Psalm chapter one.
Janet: Sure. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked nor stands in the way
of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law,
he meditates day and night. He's like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its
season. And its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers. The wicked are not so, but
are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor
sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the
way of the wicked will perish.
Jocelyn: So this is a cool Psalm. We've all heard it before. There's lots of different ways that we
could evaluate this Psalm. But for today, I want to focus on how this Psalm talks about the way
that humans think. And the first thing I want us to see in this Psalm, is that it tells us that number
one, God, the father cares about his humans being happy. Like
Janet: I love that.
Jocelyn: He's-- I know, like he's not just like a big ogre up in the sky telling us how to have, you
know, super boring l ife. He starts with a Psalm with a reminder that there is in fact, a way to be
happy and have blessing and life. Number two, our happiness is tied to believing God's way
about life. So verse two says, the happy human, the blessed human is delighted in the law of the
Lord. And actually thinks about it day and night. So I was always really confused about what it
meant, the law of the Lord. So I just want us to understand the law of the Lord is basically like
the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. It was what they had about how the one true
God was directing and instructing human beings to live their life. So. The law of the Lord, as we
know it now as New Testament believers is the whole entire Bible. Like, what does God say
about his humans that he created for him, and how they should live their life-- which he gets to
say, cause he's the creator of us all. He knows how we're going to work best. He knows what's
going to result in the best consequences. And he's saying that in the scriptures to us. So the
happy human is delighted to think about what God teaches us in the bible.
Janet: I love that because I think for a lot of us, the law of the Lord and following the Bible is
constraining. It's like, this is what God says I have to do in spite of the fact that it's not going to
make me happy
Jocelyn: and what I want to do.
Janet: Yeah. And realizing, If I really want to be blessed and happy. The one who made me is
saying, here's how you get there. It's my law.
Jocelyn: Exactly. And in verse two says to meditate on it. What that means, that word meditate.
It means to engage in thought or contemplation. And I love this part. It says, imagine, consider
and reflect. So we can use our imagination for all sorts of things. But what this passage is saying
is use your imagination to think about what God has said is right and good. Isn't that so cool?
Thirdly, in this Psalm, it says the godly human rejects, wicked and evil ways of thinking. Verse
one says the godly human actually rejects the counsel of those who have concluded something
about life contrary to what God says about life. It also says that godly humans push away the
advice of those who are hostile to God. And they don't hang out with those who engage in
behaviors that are criminal offenders against the law that God has decreed our good and pure
ways to live in his world. And so additionally, they don't abide. They don't become rooted in a
life with those who mock or scorn what God has said is right.
Janet: And you know, it makes sense that they would do-- they're going to reject that if they
know God's way will bring them happiness. But as you're reading that, I'm sitting here thinking,
and how many of us are saying, I want to kind of hang out with them, but not compromise a lot,
which means I don't get that their way is evil. And I don't get that it's keeping me from my own
Jocelyn: Which shows that you actually don't believe what God says about life. And I think that's
one of the big things that I've been thinking about this episode is the concept of belief. What do I
actually believe? And my thinking will show me what I actually believe.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: Number four in this Psalm, we can see that the godly human is stable and productive,
which is super cool. Verses three and four tells us that the human who is thinking about the
world, the way that God created him to think and valuing what God says is right and good. He's
going to be stable,-- which, you know, dude, I would love a little stability in my life-- nourished,
fruitful and effective. And you know, I love the creation mandate. I refer to it so much. God
created me for him, to be fruitful. And one of the ways that I can be fruitful is if I stay rooted in
him, if I stay connected to his way of thinking about the world. And then the number five, the
ungodly human is going to be judged. Verses five and six tell us that any human who decides to
think about life in any way, other than what God has said is right and good, is going to be judged
by the very one who created all things like he--
Janet: That is sobering.
Jocelyn: He literally, he is the one who created us. So he gets to tell us how we are going to
function the best. Our family has really, really been thinking about that very point a lot,
especially as we look around and see just so many things in our life that are just evil. As I help
my kids process the world and the effects of a nation that is the product of generations of people
saying they want to live and act and think however they want, you know, like according to what
they think is best, we keep remembering this point. Every human is going to give an account to
the one who created him. It's not like evil is going to go unchecked forever.
Janet: Yes. And I think that's so important, especially when we see evil that appears to be
flourishing. It's so good to know that no one gets away with anything ultimately. Either they will
repent and Jesus' suffering will cover their sin. Which is amazing that he will do that when they
humbly hide in him, or they're going to face God on their own merits. And what does God say?
Vengeance is mine says the Lord. That sobers me. It gives me hope for justice. And then it
actually enables me to pray even for those committing evil.
Jocelyn: There's going to come a time when every human has to give an account to the one true
God. It really helps me to remember that every human-- me, everyone, saved, unsaved-- will
give an account to the one true God and the humans that haven't handled their life according to
the design of God, the father, and been reconciled to him through the gospel. They're going to be
judged by him.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: So let's look at Psalm two to complete the thought that was started in Psalm one.
Janet: Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain. The Kings of the earth set
themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed saying,
let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens
laughs. The Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath and terrify
them in his fury, saying as for me, I have set my king on Zion. My holy hill. I will tell of the
decree. The Lord said to me, you are my son. Today I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will
make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them
with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a Potter's vessel. Now, therefore O Kings be wise.
Be warned oh rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the
son lest he be angry and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all
who take refuge in him?
Jocelyn: Oh, my word, I love this Psalm. I absolutely love the Psalm. Verse 11, serve the Lord
with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son lest he be angry and you perish in the way. So
let's just look at a couple points from this Psalm, especially as it relates to thinking. Number one,
ungodly humans try to break free from their accountability to God. So Psalm two, one through
three, ask this great rhetorical question. Why in the world are the people on earth looking up at
God and his son and plotting this great divorce from their creator? Like that's so idiotic.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: So they've gotten
Janet: ridiculous.
Jocelyn: That's ridiculous. They've gotten together and plotted this plan where they're like, I do
not know who God thinks he is. We do not need him. We are not accountable to him. We are
breaking free of our slavery to him. We're busting out of here. We free ourselves from him.
Which is so ridiculous.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: So ridiculous. And the word plot in Psalm two, in the Hebrew is actually the same word
as meditate in Psalm one. So it's showing like your brain is thinking about, using your
imagination about something all the time.
Janet: And look what they're doing.
Jocelyn: And they've chosen to use their imagination for this ridiculous, never going to succeed
plan to break free of the one who sustains them and gives them breath.
Janet: It's so interesting because it's ridiculous. But if you plot and meditate on it long enough,
Jocelyn: oh, it's totally valid.
Janet: It becomes reasonable, and you actually think you can do it.
Jocelyn: Exactly. So here's what happens. Point two. God, mocks humans who thinks they are
free from him. Verses four through six tell us how God reacts to those humans trying to break
free from the very one who created them. Like he laughs at their ridiculous efforts to free
themselves from the very one who created them. And he's like, come on at the same time, he's
sustaining the very breath that they are using each and every second of their existence. So it's
like, okay, the very breath that you use to formulate those words to say you're going to break free
from God, is the breath that God himself gave you. It's ridiculous.
Janet: It's mind blowing. And I think another act of sheer mercy. Think about the mercy involved
in giving breath to those using it to mock you. Another reason why no one wants me to be the
savior. Because I would not give you another breath if you use the last one to mock me.
Jocelyn: So these humans are reminded that they're going to be accountable to God, and in a
memorable way. If they never repent and turn away from that way of thinking, they're going to
experience the wrath and fury of the very God who created them. That's obviously that is not
funny at all.
Janet: No.
Jocelyn: God is not laughing at them. Like, oh, you stupid idiot. He's like laughing at their
ridiculous plots.
Janet: Right?
Jocelyn: Because the end of anyone who says we are free from our creator, is death.
Janet: Right?
Jocelyn: We are,
Janet: And they'll be free from their creator.
Jocelyn: They will be
Janet: separated
Jocelyn: and they will be in agony for the rest of eternity. So number three from Psalm two, God,
our father determined that from before the creation of the world, his son would be the king of the
world. I've been studying this recently. So it thrills me to talk about it. Verses seven through nine
tells us that God determined long, long ago, way before the creation of the world, that the nations
of the world would be Jesus, the son's inheritance, and that every portion of the earth would be
his possession. So I've been studying this and there's, won't be able to say this Latin phrase
correctly, but there's a Latin phrase called pactum salutis, which is this Latin phrase that explains
that before any single piece of the earth or anything on it or anything in it was ever created, God
the Father, God the Son and God The Holy Spirit entered into this covenant together. And then
the earth was created in order to fulfill that covenant. Which just further clarifies that we are not
free. We are not free to do whatever we want. We're not free to think whatever we want. The
whole thing was created for a purpose. So essentially Jesus the Son, this was what the agreement
was. Jesus the Son would create all the earth and everything in it in order that they would know
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: and his astounding love and kindness, and be eternally blessed because they rooted their
lives in his definitions of righteousness. And then, number two, that Jesus Christ himself would
enter that creation as the only perfectly functioning human, provide the opportunity for those
humans that got cursed by the sin that they chose, to be made right with the Father. And then
thirdly, Jesus would be rewarded for his obedience to the Father by being given the earth and all
of the redeemed people in it as his possession for all of eternity. So not just to possess as some
king, who is a big tyrant bully sitting on a throne, possessed in order that he would have a
physical possession on which to pour out his amazing, abundant, magnificent, overwhelming
love and kindness for the rest of eternity.
Janet: Who wouldn't want to be possessed by someone like that?
Jocelyn: Who wouldn't? And he's going to reign over his possessions forever as a king who rules
with only God's definitions of what is right and good.
Janet: Can't imagine. Can't wait.
Jocelyn: And as a result, every redeemed person will be perfectly happy under his reign. I mean,
really God is the one who dreamed all of this up. Our creation, us as human beings, being in
existence, it was his idea. Our salvation was his idea. Jesus created us for him. It's all his. You
have to know that in your mind, as you're thinking about who you are as a person, because you
were never created for independent thought.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: You were never created to evaluate the world on your own. You were never created to
think, what is good? What is right? What is evil?
Janet: What do I think is good?
Jocelyn: We were created for a specific purpose. And that was to live for our king. The gospel
was what made it possible for us to be brought back to that purpose. So thinking about Psalm
two, as this applies to our thinking, all humans are warned to find refuge in the rule of Christ. So
that's why in verse 10 through 12, have Psalm two we see God warning every human on earth to
be wise according to God's definition of wisdom. God says a wise way to think is to consider
everything he has said as true.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: And his plan made from before the creation as best and good and right. And as a
consequence, to bend the knee in allegiance to Jesus Christ, who is the rightful king of all. That's
one reason why I love verse 12 in Psalm two. Kiss the Son. Like that means bend over and kiss
his feet. Pay allegiance to him. If we're molding our minds to think the way that God has
designed us all to think rightly then we're going to bow low and kiss the feet of our king in
allegiance to him. And believe that our greatest refuge is in him, and inside of his perfectly
crafted plan.
Janet: And what a plan, what a plan. It's so interesting that then when you read the rest of the
Psalms, we see the battle to trust and to be loyal to this king. When it doesn't appear he's always
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Janet: Because this, even the earthly Kings of Israel, which is what they knew initially, God's
representative at that point, describes his suffering in the very next Psalm, in Psalm three. But the
Psalmists fight to trust and believe, and then the Psalms end with great rejoicing.
Jocelyn: That in essence is the job of every human. Believe it.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: Psalm one and two lays out the ultimate plan of God the Father and the job of every
single human ever created during all of the days of the earth is this: believe what God has said,
and start organizing your life around that reality.
Janet: Even when you don't see it, as the Psalms show you.
Jocelyn: Exactly. There's this passage later in the Bible in John six, which we've been studying as
a church this year, just really super deep and hard core, where people are swarming around Jesus
as he's teaching. And they're like, Jesus, Jesus, what do you want us to be doing to do the works
of God? Like, oh, what a valiant question. How shall we perform? And Jesus is like this, this is
the work of God. Believe. Believe in Jesus, that God the Father has sent. Believe the whole plan
that God created and the one he sent earth to accomplish the plan. And later in John, the same
thing comes up in chapter 20 where John says, he's like, listen, I wrote all of this down for one
purpose that you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, sent by God to accomplish his plan. And
that by believing, you'll have life in his name.
Janet: First of all, I think it's wonderful that God and the apostles did so much to make it easier
for us to believe. I did all of this so that you would believe. I'm telling you this so that you will
believe. And then contrast that with those who claimed to be God. And the true God is so
different, and he's so much better. When you said earlier, oh, what do we need to do to perform
for you? That's what the all fake gods, that we have to do. What do I have to do for you?
Jocelyn: Keep them happy. Yep.
Janet: How do I cut myself and show my devotion? I'll sacrifice my children to you. And God
says all I want you to do is believe me and my work. That's amazing.
Jocelyn: So essentially, key to having any kind of happiness in our life here on the earth is the
concept of believing that what God has said is true, and trusting it, that it's true. In essence God,
the very best parent, is teaching his children how to have success. Like I'm trying to do with my
kids. Like examine your thinking. Make sure it lines up with what he has declared since the
beginning is right and good. And is, because it's right and good, gonna result in the best, most
profitable, most fruitful existence. It's not like God is saying like, live your best life now. He's
saying, if you think the way that I created you to think, and if you believe what's true, what I
created you to believe is true. It will result in a wonderful, fruitful, abundant life.
Janet: Yes. Even when it's hard.
Jocelyn: Free from the consequences of believing evil or believing sin. So in Psalm one and two,
humans are told to spend their energy thinking and believing what God says is true, but those
who rebel against God will actually think so hard against what God has said, that they're thinking
turns into a plot to try to overthrow God's authority in their life. And it's like, laughable. I mean,
you're using the energy God himself gave you to dream up ways to get him out of your life. And
if he was gotten out of your life, you would be like literally incapable of continuing to function
and stay alive. It reminds me of Ephesians 4: 17, where we're warned to quit thinking the way
ungodly people do. Ephesians 4: 17 - 18 says, stop thinking in a way that is devoid of truth,
because it makes you blind to what is actually required to having a good, happy life. And
Ephesians 4: 21 tells us that our mind was given to us so that we can orient around the truth that
we find in Jesus. So let's think about thinking. We're supposed to perceive, understand, feel,
judge, determine and reason calmly and soberly. And in a way that shows we think what God has
planned and done in the world is true. And then we're supposed to think in a way that shows, I
am convinced that God created all of this world as his own possession. Even me, me, I am his
possession for his glory and then gave us Jesus so that we could be brought back to a right way
of thinking God's way again.
Janet: All right. Okay. I'm convinced this is what we need, but I'm thinking, and probably many
others are, it's so hard to control my thinking. I understand it's important. I understand I need to
believe. How am I supposed to do this? How am I to start believing? How am I supposed to be
thinking about all of life as if God is right?
Jocelyn: Well, one of the things that we've been doing a lot at home, especially in response to all
this craziness happening in the world is we're so utterly aghast at the rebellion of so many people
around us and even in response to our own sadness at grief and death and pain, our response is to
encourage each other with what is true, especially when our emotions feel really raw and
exposed and just, it just hurts. So it's not like we're teaching a hellfire sermon to each other. It's
like, instead of like a shout of jubilation. It's not like obey, obey, obey. Or it's like, remember,
remember, remember.
Janet: And what I love is you're acknowledging number one, we're going to have these raw
emotions. It's not like if you really believed you would never have that.
Jocelyn: How dare you.
Janet: And, it's not a one-time thing. We need each other. We need each other reminding,
remember, remember we need each other.
Jocelyn: So for example, like we'll be hanging around in our kitchen, which is the place to hang,
talking about some new, terrible, horrible thing happening in the world. And one of us, usually
me, gets sucked into despair. Cause that's where I tend to go. I tend to be a despairing person if I
forget my purpose and forget all of this. And somebody, usually my littlest one, will shout out,
why did God organize the plan to create the world? And it's like, ah, it's like a fresh breath of air.
Just float into the room. I'm renewed by the answer. I remember. I answer back, God planned the
creation of the whole world, and everything in it so that Jesus Christ, his beloved son would have
an outlet for all of his overflowing, never ending, magnificent love and kindness and a bride on
which to pour it out forever and ever.
Janet: Okay. So do you actually say that whole thing?
Jocelyn: I actually do?
Janet: What, did you memorize it?
Jocelyn: Yeah, I just, I say it so much. Like, obviously,
Janet: I love that. So I'm like the rest of us are going, put that on a card so that when someone
asks you, you can say all that too. 'Cause it's great.
Jocelyn: My kitchen window sill is just like three by five cards, taped all over it. I just like, I
Janet: I love that.
Jocelyn: I have a little one who just is the gift that I need to get me back on track. And she'll be
like, why did God plan this whole thing? God planned it so that Jesus Christ could pour out his
over whelming love on me forever. God didn't just create the world for his detached impersonal
scorching glory. Although it is scorching, his glory. He organized the world, and everything in it
so that he could have something to pour out his love and kindness onto. Because it was too big to
contain just inside of himself. Ephesians 2: 7. We look at Ephesians two a lot, but tucked into a
whole bunch of other cool verses is 2: 7. It says God did all of this so that in the coming ages, he
might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness, toward us in Christ Jesus.
Janet: Oh, and then I think, okay, deep breath, Janet, that calms and quiets my soul in the face of
overwhelming circumstances.
Jocelyn: So let's talk about the, how. I really enjoy steps. Our family is really big into training
and protocols and knowing what to do when to do it and how to do it. So how do we train
ourselves to think in a way that is accurate about God? The whole point of this podcast is
Janet: It matters. Theology matters.
Jocelyn: We talked about theology, yeah, it matters. Theology, the word, that is the study of
what God has said about the world. That's basically what it is. It's just an organized way that we
train ourselves to think thoughts that are in line with what God has said about a whole bunch of
different topics. So if I want to know how to think about humans in a way that's consistent with
what God has said is right and good, then I'll research the Bible. And I look specifically for what
is God saying is right and good about how to think about humans.
Janet: Yeah. Or if I want to know what God has said is the right and good way to think about
money, or time, or priorities, or relationships, then I'm going to learn what God said is right and
good about each of those things.
Jocelyn: That's in essence, theology is learning to think the way that God thinks, and to believe
that that is the best and rightest way to believe. And then we fashion our life around the fact that
you believe it. One time when I was reading through the Bible, I really wanted to focus on, okay,
how do I know what God says is right and good. So I literally just circled every time I found the
word good. And then I triangled around every time I saw the word evil. And it was really cool
because it helped me to see throughout the whole scripture, like, God tells us, this thing is good
for you. Oh, wait a second. Warning, warning, warning. This thing is evil. And so I learned
through reading the Bible. Here's how to think God's way about this thing is good for me or this
thing is evil for me.
Janet: I love it. And we've talked about our purpose and other episodes, and I love this is going to
help me agree with God. This is evil. This is good. Good.
Jocelyn: So let's talk about the, how to do this thing. I really, really enjoy using a passage like
second Corinthians 10: 5 to teach me how to train my thinking. I'm a biblical counselor. I serve
our church that way, and this is a passage that I frequently teach to help my counselees learn how
to train their thinking. Second Corinthians 10: 5 tells me, to destroy any argument or lofty
opinion that's raised against the knowledge of God and then to take my thoughts captive to obey
Christ. So in essence, let's just back up a little bit and evaluate what that actually means. If I'm
going to have an argument, which means I had some thoughts and it came to a conclusion. So in
essence, that means I need to examine my thoughts and I need to examine my conclusions. So
then I hold my conclusion up against what I know of God and what he has taught in the word is
right and good, and if my conclusion about life agrees with what God has said is right and good
then yay. I get to keep thinking them. But if I find that in any way, they differ, then my rightful
job, as a created being-- remember, I was created by Jesus for Jesus-- it's to bend the knee, to
acquiesce, to his greater and more worthy wisdom. So I get to change my way of thinking about
things that differ from God's thinking about things as I find it in the written word of God. And
then in all areas, if I, you know, I thought about something, I made a conclusion, I hold it up
against the knowledge of God. If it is consistent with God's thinking, then I'm going to do
anything I can to foster it, to grow and get stronger. And that, concept affects every single area of
life. Like in this episode, I've really capitalized on like how I help my kids and my family be
focused on thinking the same way God thinks about hard stuff, like chaos and disease and death.
But like literally any single topic can be handled that same way. Like, why should I think about
money? I don't get to just think, oh, what do I want to think about money? what does God say
about it? Then that's what I will choose to shape my beliefs about money around.
Janet: Yeah. And another big one for our world, what should I think about sex? Well, what does
God teach about it? And then that's what I'm going to believe.
Jocelyn: It even has things like, what should I think about my parents? So my parents that are
getting older, well, what does God teach about parents, especially parents who are getting older,
then that's what I will believe.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: So what's super interesting is that the concept of sin is basically that I've missed the
mark. And I've deviated from what God thinks or wants in that particular situation. Sin isn't just
that I did this bad action. And I think some days we forget that. Like sin is not just this bad thing
that I did, it's that I missed the mark of thinking about that situation in life, whatever it is, the
way God, my father, the creator created me to think about it. So I've acted in rebellion against
God. I've missed the mark. I've gone wrong. And because of that, I've incurred penalty or guilt.
And 1 John 3: 4 tells us that everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices
lawlessness, and sin is in fact lawlessness. So I've been thinking about this concept a lot. Like
what does it mean to be lawless? And to be lawless just basically means you live contrary to, or
without regard for the law. Like you basically, you're uncontrolled by a law. You're unbridled,
you're unruly. You're unrestrained. And James 2: 9 tells us that if we sin or miss the mark, we're a
transgressor. To transgress means I passed over or I went beyond a limit or a boundary. I violated
something that I was told to do. I infringed. So. When we're thinking about the concept of
thinking and belief, it's saying like, am I in my mind saying there are no limits that control me?
There are no laws that I hold myself accountable to? Am I happy with like infringing on
boundaries that my creator created for me?
Janet: Because I think I know better.
Jocelyn: Beause I think I know better. I think that something different is going to make me happy
or, you know, there's a million reasons why we do that. But when we think wrongly, it's really
important that we're realizing that we're thinking lawlessly. We're thinking there is no law that
will contain me. There's no law that will control me. I do what want. And no one will tell me
otherwise. So when I hold my conclusions about life up against God, if I find I'm not consistent
with what he's taught in scripture, I have to realize that is sin. I'm missing the mark. And my
response should be to confess, which is a word we probably throw around a lot, but what it
means is, I agree that God is right.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: And I repent, which means then I turn and walk in the opposite direction. So when I
confess I can be confessing positively or negatively. I confess that you are the ruler of the world,
or I can confess, oh God, I was trying to be the ruler of the world. And in fact, I am not.
Janet: Surprise!
Jocelyn: Yeah. Surprise. Shocking. So, so much of our lives rely on us thinking about things
accurately, according to what God's taught us. What he has taught us is right, as opposed to
wrong, and good as opposed to evil. And then if I have it, I am supposed to respond correctly.
I'm supposed to throw away my rebellious thinking, get back in line with what God has said is
right and good. Which we know, obviously we are only capable of doing, because the gospel.
Jesus' death paid the wrath that God had for us being rebellious. And by my faith in Jesus Christ,
it allows me to be reconciled, to be able to do what God has said is right and good. To be able to
believe what God has said is right and good.
Janet: So I find for me, when I'm in that moment,the hardest, but most important thing is to just
humbly run back to Jesus as a believer and say, help me agree with you.
Jocelyn: Yes, absolutely.
Janet: Instead of trying to do it myself. But I can humbly confess and then run. Help me.
Jocelyn: And so really like, this is very simple. All of life boils down to whether or not, I believe
God is right.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: If I believe that God's plan for all of creation was correct, then I'm going to align myself
with him. That's what Psalm two is talking about. I bow down and kiss the feet of Jesus Christ,
his son and allegiance to him. And not only cause he can crush me, but because he dreamed all
of this up, just so that he could have an outlet for his magnificent love and kindness. I believe. I
think rightly. And as a consequence I get to live in the waterfall of his Hesed. His overflowing,
neverending love and kindness. Even now in this sin cursed world, but also on, into eternity
forever in redemption. So let's think about a couple of ways that we can apply this because, you
know, I don't want to just live in theoretical land. The first application I would really encourage
is just to think about the fact that you think. Think about the fact that you have thoughts and your
thoughts are demonstrating what you believe.
Janet: I think to also recognize, you can choose to not continue to do that. I think as I'm thinking
about it, I can realize I can actually stop that.
Jocelyn: I can choose to stop thinking something.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: Yeah, one of the tools that I used to use this may be helpful for someone who wants to
start exploring this. I assign sometimes in counseling, a thought journal. And you can either say,
it's like, please complete this for one day or one week or one, four hour period of time or
whatever. But in any case, whatever your time restriction is, you say what am I thinking about?
So every single thought I have, I write down, which is somewhat laborious.
Janet: Yes. We don't recommend it for a long period of time.
Jocelyn: But incredibly revealing.
Janet: And depressing. Can we say.
Jocelyn: Often. Another application is just, take some time to evaluate your thinking. So if, if
you have done a thought journal or if you can like turn back around and look at what was the
thought I was just thinking, like evaluate it. So take your thought, hold it up against the
knowledge of God and see if it matches. And if it matches what you have learned God says is
right and good, then foster it to continue growing, which means get rid of stuff in your life that's
going to make it harder for you to continue believing, right and good. But if you find that it
doesn't match, what can I do practically to make it as hard as possible to think that wrong
thought? And, for me, I cannot be alone, but for me, I find that what I feed my mind with, in the
little moments of my day throughout the day, is what I'm going to end up thinking about later on.
And so for me as a person, I'm very, very careful about what I listen to from a music perspective,
because it's shaping my beliefs.
Janet: Music is powerful.
Jocelyn: It's shaping what I think about. So I listen to a lot of music on purpose. And, we have
actually been working on a Spotify list for the Joyful Journey podcast that we're linking to in our
show notes, and that will actually be on our website. Just a Spotify list that we really think is
great music that helps you to have godly things to think about. There's three different playlists so
far. Songs about Jesus, which are specifically songs about Jesus Christ, the son, and who he is.
And then there are worship songs, and then we also have a Christmas list. So we encourage you
to check that out, but fill your mind with things that are godly, and evaluate other stuff. Check
out what you're watching on TV. If you're struggling with thoughts about inappropriate sex,
maybe it's because you're putting pictures of inappropriate relationships in your head, through
your TV or movies or books or whatever, but check out what you're feeding your brain with.
Janet: And another practical idea there, you mentioned earlier about your sweet daughter
bringing up truth to help you. You know, we need to be able to help each other. So in that
moment, I'm picturing someone looking at their thought and saying either I'm so confused right
now. I don't know if that's true. Or I know it's not true and I don't even know what to think
instead. How do I compare it to the knowledge of God? Cause right now I don't even know. So I
would say a couple of different things. One is have people in your life that you can email or text
at that point to say, remind me of truth about this, but then I'm going to really encourage you to
go to one step further, because what happens when you do that all the time, you're letting them
think for you.
Jocelyn: Yeah. They are becoming your thoughts.
Janet: So then you get to email or text and say, Here's what's going on. Here's what I'm trying to
remember is true. Would you pray that I remember it. Would you help me to remember that? And
if you have anything additional, can you add truth to it? So we're helping each other and that
whole process you're taking your thoughts captive, but in a practical way, not just take your
thoughts captive. Well, how about write down? What's true. Send it to someone who can say
you're right. Or, ah...
Jocelyn: Yeah. I really praise God for the technology that has been developed. I use it all the
time. I call it discipleship, but it's really just like my spiritual friends.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: I have a lot of people that I love and a lot of people that love me and I'm involved in the
daily you know, stuff of their life. And so when they're having a rough day, I would rather them
be like, hey Jocelyn, can you remind me of what was true in this situation? And I'll be like, of
course, yeah, I got your back and you got mine. Like we need each other. And we weren't just
supposed to run into each other at church. Our lives were supposed to be intertwined. We are,
one. We're united and their life affects mine. And their thinking, is really important. And if I can
do anything to help them, the way that my daughter helps me, like, it's not,
Janet: Yeah. Let's do it.
Jocelyn: It's not a burden. It's like a joy. It's awesome. We get to talk about Jesus.
Janet: So a couple of even questions when you're thinking, when you're in one of those times,
either it helps someone else or to remind yourself, two questions that I use a lot. Where is God in
this thought? Where's God in this thought? Because it's a short sentence. It's practical. My mind's
going everywhere. I just think he hates me. Okay. Where is God? Where is God in that thought?
And then the next question, does that fit with what I know about God?
Jocelyn: Oh, those are great questions.
Janet: Where's God in that, because sometimes he's just not in it at all. Everybody hates me. It
would be better if I wasn't born. Where's God in that. Did God mess up?
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Janet: And with whatever thought I have, how does that fit with what I know about God? I can
use that to wrestle down my own soul. I can use that to help my sister.
Jocelyn: I think that proves a really great point. The Bible says out of the overflow of the heart,
the mouth speaks. So if you really want to know what's inside of your head, listen to what comes
out of your mouth. That will show you at least a picture of some of the thoughts that you have. I
have a couple of resources that I love about theology in general, because I'm a bit of a theology
geek, but, my favorite little kid resource, it's called the ology and it's by Marty McKowski. I
actually liked this for grownups too, because one of, in my opinion, one of the best ways to learn
about something really hard is to read kids' books about it
Janet: Absolutely.
Jocelyn: As they break it down. When I wanted to know about volcanoes, I read about a volcano
book from the children's library. So like, I just need the simple truth. I don't need all the extra
stuff. So, I really love the book of The ology. It also has really beautiful pictures. And so we'll
add a link to that in our show notes. And then on the complete opposite end for those who just
grownups, who does love to study theology. My favorite theology textbook is called biblical
doctrine by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhew. I really loved that one over all the other
theology books that I've ever owned, which are a few, because I feel like it's very readable. It's
very easy to read. The paragraph,
Janet: He's a pastor, so it'll be pastoral.
Jocelyn: Yeah, he talks in a way that is not academic as much as like understandable.
Janet: And I would add one that maybe is in between. but it's not about all of theology. We've
been talking about our thought life and a small book that packs a punch, but is incredibly easy to
read is called In the Arena of the Mind.
Jocelyn: Oh yeah. Great book.
Janet: For what to think and how to think.
Jocelyn: Great book.
Janet: So I would recommend that one as well. We'll have that in the show notes.
Jocelyn: I just want to encourage our listeners as you think about your life, do you fall on the
side of God? Do you believe that God created all of this for him? And that we answer to him,
and that our greatest happiness will come from living life the way he has taught us is right and
good? And that ultimately every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord to the glory of God the Father?
Janet: Amen. All right. Thank you so much, Jocelyn. There's a lot there, for us to chew on and
think about, but that would be a good way to use our thinking. So I pray that we will do that. So
that's all we have for this episode and I hope you'll be back with us for our next episode.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.