“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” said Greek philosopher Socrates. We can think we are so smart, but our brains are easily fooled. The boys and I binge-watched some old episodes of Brain Games. While a dance crew preformed their routine, the audience had to count how many times the dancers stepped into a circle. Because of their focus on the ring, over fifty percent of the crowd missed a large penguin strolling casually across the stage. The next segment showed how our brains make assumptions about shading. The host showed a Rubik’s cube where the center color on the shadowed side appeared orange, but on the unshadowed top, the center square looked brown. When the squares were moved next to each other, they turned out to be both brown, but the shadow tricks us.
In psychology labs, I was warned against many different types of bias that could alter results. Here are a few I remember:
Selection bias – over or underrepresenting certain people groups in the sample.
Observation bias – where participants in the sample group are aware of being watched and alter their answers or how they act (consciously or unconsciously).
Confirmation bias – researchers (consciously or unconsciously) look for results or patterns to agree with their opinions or conjecture.
Between biases and mind tricks, it seems our logic often can be flawed. We’re disillusioned into relying on reasoning skills to guide us, but truth is, humans are easily deceived, which makes the devil’s job a lot easier.
If the brain isn’t reliable, then what about our feelings? Perhaps we should let our hearts be our guide. Yet, anyone who’s thought they’d met Mr. Right only to get dumped knows the heart can be capricious at best.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears right, but in the end, it leads to death.” When we live by logic or emotions, we can easily be led astray. If we don’t know God’s wisdom and plan for our lives, then we’ll wind up settling for a secular counterfeit. Feelings and rational thought can become the idols we sacrifice ourselves on. However, the bible says, fear of the Lord leads to wisdom (Proverbs 15:33), and if we ask God for wisdom, it will be given to us (James 1:5).
If we seek Godly wisdom, we can walk in our purpose with confidence. But how do we know when wisdom comes from God? James 3:13 says it will show with deeds done in humility and a good life, and in verse 17, James states, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
God has a plan for us, but so does the world. God’s plan is to give us life to the full, but the world’s plan will leave us empty. We can choose life and to be life-giving.
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