PSYC 101: Cognitive Dissonance (Lindsey)

                                    Definition of cognitive dissonance:
psychological conflict resulting from simultaneously held incongruous
beliefs & attitudes
(as a fondness for smoking and a belief that it is harmful)
“The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.”
A great example of this is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans. This blog will pull a lot from Romans 7:1-25, which I encourage you to read.
Imagine Paul, a former persecutor of Christians, now sold out for the Kingdom of God.
On the road to Damascus, Jesus revealed Himself to Paul in such a way that he changed his belief system entirely and accepted Jesus as the resurrected messiah-a concept he had previously rejected in thoughts, words, and actions.
As he was led to fervently make Jesus’s payment for guilty sinners known, he also made controversial claims that God’s covenant with the Jewish people was also for Gentiles. Paul probably came from a family line that found Jews superior to Gentiles and they certainly did not believe that God was making a separate covenant with Gentiles. He shaped much of early church thought about how Jews and Gentiles as he enduringly asserted that all people are united in what Christ had done.
God worked mightily through Paul’s shift in worldview. Then in Romans 7, we see how after radically changing his deepest beliefs about the Jesus and the church, Paul still struggles with desiring what is good but not being able to carry out good works. He deals with a powerful cognitive dissonance over knowing what is right but still committing sin.
Many of us experience this same sentiment as feelings of confusion, frustration, guilt, shame, or learned helplessness. The good news is that we don’t have to remain in these feelings. Our Dad calls us to wake up and experience His freedom.
One day we will experience His freedom perfectly but until then, we will wrestle within what Paul expressed as desiring to serve the law of sin with his flesh and the law of God with his mind. We can both look forward to our complete freedom while experiencing daily victories through combating lies of the world with God’s Truth (John 8:32-36).
Regardless of our awareness, each day the world is washing our minds with debilitating lies. We absorb the messages from radio, TV, magazines, our peers, etc. about our identity and our role in the world. These messages are often not congruent with what God says about us.
In a world full of rebels who reject God, rebels like we use to be but only by God’s grace are now daughters, we must guard our minds. We need the refreshment of scripture in a land that is thirsty.
To sin or to obey will be a decision we will struggle to make each day. We will choose to obey God out of loving and knowing Him (1 John 2:3 & John 14:23).
God warns Cain in Genesis 4 that sin desires him, it’s waiting for him, but he must choose what is good and rule over it. What habitual sin will you rule over today? What temptation will you combat with Truth?
Remember that as 1 John 1:9 promises, God is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our sin.
End your cognitive dissonance today. Confess what thoughts, actions, or beliefs are contradictory to God’s Word and bring them before Him. Be at ease knowing that your beliefs and attitudes are solidly built on what God has said.
I pray that you would experience peaceful freedom
that can be found in drinking deeply of Truth.

China & the Bible (Brooke)

I love this video!  Have you seen it?  It’s the one where Chinese believers get their own Bible for the first time.  I have a feeling they really believe these verses:
“Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet & a L I G H T for my path.”  Psalm 119:105
“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.” Psalm 19:7
“I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
“For the Word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  Hebrews 4:12

Take a moment and spend extra time in the Word today.  It will revive you, train you, guide you, & light up your path.  What could be better?

If you are wondering what Scriptures to spend time in today consider these:
John 11:25-26
Philippians 2:5-7
1 John 4:7-11
Psalm 73:28
Romans 5:8
Isaiah 61:1
John 15:4-7
Psalm 103

{For the love of His Word} (Heather)

“I have been in church for years, but no one has taught me to study my Bible until now.”
Last week, I read this quote on the Gospel Coalition, and it really struck me. The author writes Bible study curriculum for women, and in her article she points out the number of women who have never been taught how to study their Bibles. It isn’t that these women don’t want to—some of them have been involved in church for years—but they’ve never been instructed.
I also started thinking about Laura’s blog post from yesterday. Training was essential in moving towards her goal to run the Boston Marathon. There was not a single day that went past between January and May where I was not thinking about race day. The purpose of a lot of things I did in a day was to support my goal.” In a similar way, I think setting aside time to study God’s Word {personally and in community} is one of the most crucial ways we can deepen our walk with Jesus and demonstrate that He is the One in whom we trust. So in light of that, I wanted to share a few things that really help me as I study God’s Word.
1.    Realizing that the Bible is not just a collection of 66 different books, but there is an overarching story of redemption through Jesus Christ. This helps me read the Bible in context. Check out this article seeing Christ, God’s plan, and His purpose in all of Scripture—not just the New Testament.
2.    One easy pitfall I’ve found when studying Scripture is making it all about me. I read a passage and immediately ask, “Okay what’s the application for me?” I think there’s a lot that I miss when I approach the Bible that way. Two questions that have helped me move away from that are:
a.    How does this passage expose mankind’s (and my own) brokenness?
b.    How does this passage point to Christ as the ultimate resolution?
This will not look the same for every section of Scripture you are studying. Seeing Christ’s resolution in Genesis looks a lot different than in the Gospel of John. I’d encourage you to read Hearing the Music of the Gospel. It’s one of my all time favorite resources as I study the Bible. Check it out here, it’s so worth the read:
3.    Lastly, I think it’s important to come to the Word humbly. Spend some time before you read praying for the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His Word.
God has given us His Word to know Him more—let’s treat it like the gift that it is.

Are there ways and/or resources that have helped you study and fall in the love with the Word more? Share them below!