Several times throughout scripture we are called to be watchful, to be sober and vigilant because the devil roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Apart from the spiritual nature of the context in which these words ring true, this can also be interpreted in a more natural form in which we are called to pay attention to ourselves and our surrounding culture and society as corruption and chaos are constantly seeking to devour all. With the current trend of chaotic riots erupting throughout America and the world as a whole, it is safe to say that now, as Christians, we must pay attention, not only to the actions of the groups and the individuals that make up the groups, but the underlying ideology that possesses them.
People become possessed by ideologues when their critical thought process is impeded, which is typically due to the lack of accrued knowledge and reflective thought. People of this sort tend to go along with whatever trending idea that confronts them, and with little to no research into where the set of ideas originated or what evidence may support them, they simply follow along with the masses into the commitment and engagement of corrupted acts that manifest themselves from these sets of ideas.
How can we protect ourselves from such an ideological possession? Study and meditation seem to be the antidote in avoiding such a catastrophe. In the book of Proverbs for example, the exhortation to engage in the act of accumulating knowledge and wisdom is echoed throughout multiples times, and this accumulation of knowledge is one of the factors that help shield us from corrupted ideas.
“Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things; from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness.”Proverbs 2:9-13 NASB
Meditation, or rather that of critical thought and reflection is of equal importance as you need critical thinking skills in order to properly analysis and assess information you receive from studying. Critical thought not only helps us examine the ideas of others, but also helps us examine our own ideas. When we critically examine our own ideas about the essence and nature of being itself, we can properly form strong ideas that can ultimately stand against other ideas, especially those of a more radical nature. By examining and challenging our own thoughts and ideas, we can properly form conclusions that not only stand against others ideas, but also correlate with scripture and reality itself. In order to know what is good, we must study and then examine in correlation with scripture and reality.
“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.”1 Thessalonians 5:21 NASB
Thankfully, as Christians, we have a solid foundation in which to work from unlike our secular counterparts. The solidarity of scripture and the idealistic character of Christ gives us a point of reference in which to build all other ideas. Once an idea is formulated, we can then test our idea against that of scripture, and then that of reality. If our idea correlates with the whole of scripture as well as the evidence found embedded within the fabric of reality, then our idea is at least in part correct. And what do we do when we have an idea that stands against this test? We utilize it properly by revealing the evidence that leads to this conclusive idea, and yet never allow it to be the final word in our life.
Ideas come and go, and some of them are outstanding while others are of devastating proportions, such as the ideas that fueled Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China-the same ideas of which are fueling the radical groups that riot in our streets today. But at the end of the day, we should always find ourselves possessed by Christ Himself, always submitting to Him in all things. We may formulate powerfully good ideas, and yet Christ is what should possess our being.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB