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  • Writer's pictureThe Well Community Church

Don't Overthink It

Overthinking is something of a side-hobby for me. I work in useless arguments like a sculptor would work with marble or clay. Most of the time this just leads to some quirky conversations or boring rabbit-holes with my normal study resources, but sometimes it can lead to things a bit darker. I will confess that sometimes it leads to relying too far on your own understanding of things. It can drive you towards asking questions that can't possibly be answered or that are not meant to be revealed to you on this earth. When that happens, my soul gets restless. It is a struggle I continue to experience due to my desire to understand Biblical matters more and more, but it is something God uses to keep me humble. After all, it's good for all of us to realize that we are "only human" and incapable of understanding all of Creation's mysteries.

When wrestling with this thought, I went back to an often-cited story in John 9. This section sees a man, blind from birth, healed by Christ's supernatural power. In the verses to follow, the Pharisees launch an investigation. They can't wrap their heads around what Christ has done and that simply can't be tolerated. At the final testimony of the now-healed man, we see this exchange...

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:24-25)

You have to love the elegant simplicity of the man's argument. The Pharisees demanded an answer to the theological puzzle laid before them, but the man simply saw the glory of Christ.

Biblical study is not bad. It is good for us to learn and understand where God is speaking to us through the testimony of the past. At the same time, we have to be careful not to begin trusting in our own understanding. Doing so can cause us to miss out on the glory Christ is performing in our lives daily. Consider the words of Solomon...

17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. 18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18)

I encourage all of you to study God's Word and learn His calling in your life, but do not be dismayed or dissuaded by the wisdom of this world. We must understand that the God who actively shows us His grace can not be overshadowed by the academic puzzles of the skeptic. If God wanted us to simply be intellectually informed of His works, he would have simply given us a natural history text and sent Jesus to provide scientific lectures. Instead, Christ came to teach us how to live and love. He taught us what it means to live in the world but not of it. And above all, he taught us that the overthinking of religious or secular elites is insufficient to fully grasp His wonders.

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