‘4 Mental Habits Begging You to Behave Intelligently’ :
With God’s help, how improving mental habits can increase intelligence.
Intelligence is not just having talents and knowledge, but the ability to act accordingly. Can we employ what we know according to God’s ways rather than our own patterns of thinking? In this way our intelligence would be a more effective intelligence over time. Our thinking patterns in the areas of 'impulsivity', 'flexibility', 'clarity' and 'listening' are just those habits on which we need to focus in order to more effectively carry out God’s will in our lives.
Proverbs 14: 29 “Whoever is slow to anger has great
understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Matthew 5: 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
If we are to behave effectively, we need to think before we act, be deliberate. A plan of action, a goal, creates intention whatever area of endeavor - sports, business, education, family life. Behavior follows the intention more effectively. Emotional responses or outbursts are not deliberate, conscious behaviors and often impede the desired result. Rather, focus and proceed. It is the more mature way, the emotional intelligence we strive for.
Philippians 4: 12-14 “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Can we think flexibly? Does pride get in the way of changing our mind? Can we see it from a different angle? Well, it is the egocentric mind that can perceive things from only one point of view, theirs. Flexible thinkers entertain multiple perceptions, can consider alternate positions or strategies. Further, neurologists tell us that flexibility gives us the ability to rewire our minds to both repair and heal. This complex society requires flexible thinkers.
1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
Habakkuk 2: 2 “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”
Proverbs 16: 3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."
Language and thinking surely go together and intelligence requires accuracy, preciseness, defining terms, rather than over-generalizations. The over use of ‘thing’, ‘ya know what I mean?’ ‘everybody does it’, evading the point, are generalizations that can easily mislead. So let’s say what we mean and mean what we say, and in more detail. Of course ability in language [improved reading, writing, speaking] can help. Lots to work on and really a life long process.
James 1: 19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
Luke 11: 28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Proverbs also tells us that understanding begins with listening resulting in wisdom. Steven Covey in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” explains how the more effective people spend inordinate amounts of time listening. And listening is not just hearing. It is paraphrasing, showing empathy, recognizing what is being said beneath the words. It is not really a skill that is taught in school or even at home, and it needs work in us.
So, can we learn to be less impulsive as we were in young adulthood or childhood? Can we make an effort to listen more effectively? Can we see things from a different perspective? Can we clarify our vagueness and ask for it in others? In all, this author believes we can discipline our minds with the help of our Lord. How? - through prayer, meditation, listening to God and acting on it. Otherwise we can fall into faulty thinking habits and believe we are right; it was natural to us but not necessarily correct. As far as the above scripture quotes relating to impulsivity, flexibility, clarity and listening, I would ask you to seek out and meditate on even more verses. There are dozens for each topic. My favorite above is 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23.