“Well, that's just common sense! Everybody knows that!” … or do they?
In this series inspired by the Alpha courses* 5 “CS” ways that God guides us, good ol’ Common Sense is number 4.
But wait! What’s common to some may not be common to all.
Sadly the term “common sense” is not as applicable as it once was. How many of us agree on the collected “common”: common knowledge; common values; and even the common good. As our world changes, and not all for the worse, what once we would call good is now bad, and things that were unthinkable before are now quite “commonplace.”
But thankfully in and through all of this God has not changed.
I believe that God increases within us a quickening, if you will, of “common sense” as we begin to walk in His ways and learn what is pleasing to Him. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that “we have the mind of Christ.” As Christians, our truest litmus test is to ask ourselves…”What would Jesus do?”
This is why reading the Gospels daily and knowing what Jesus did is very important. Why? Because, believe it or not, sometimes what Jesus prescribes actually flies in the face of worldly “common sense.” “Love and forgive your enemies.” “Do good to those who curse you.” “Turn the other cheek.” “Leave ninety-nine sheep to search for the one.” “Give to all who ask.”
God’s ways are not always our ways nor are they always practical or convenient, but in the end, they are always good ways, thoughtful ways-- ways that lead to true freedom and even to simplicity.
If you google “common sense” there are many definitions of and articles written on ways to sharpen your own common sense:
“According to Merriam Webster, common sense is about exercising ‘sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.’ This definition suggests that common sense depends on not over-complicating the situation (simple), applying experience and general knowledge to the situation (sound and prudent judgment), and implicit in this is self-trust that your considered experience is valid for future situations. Karl Albrecht calls common sense practical intelligence. He defines it as ‘the mental ability to cope with the challenges and opportunities of life’ He explains that common sense is situational, dependent on context, and that your common sense in one aspect of your life might be excellent while failing abysmally in another aspect of your life. As to the purpose of common sense, it is basically thinking that prevents you from making irrational mistakes or decisions, a thinking approach that may open your eyes to the possibility that insisting on being right prevents you from seeing the bigger picture.”
This article goes on to say that taking time daily to reflect upon our actions will actually increase our common sense. Sounds familiar:
“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy 2:7
I pray that as we go about our day-to-day tasks of living, our loving Heavenly Father will increase in us a deep love for Him and for neighbor and all “common sense”. The resulting actions will flow from this renewed heart and mind closely intertwined with His own.
I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel with my eye upon you. Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.Psalm 32:8-9
I want to love You more. Allow me to love you from all I think, do and am. Please increase in me the capacity for expanding my mind to Your truth by taking time daily to read and reflect upon Your holy Word. Stir in me Your Holy Spirit to guide me in all ways so that I can easily hear Your voice and know which way to turn. Lord, help me be a light in this dark world so that the “common knowledge” of You would be a universal truth that all can live by.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
*Are you in the DC area and looking for an ALPHA course? Come hear Jamie Haith LIVE! At the National Cathedral, Thursdays, 7-9pm, March 2-April 27 (excluding Holy Thursday, April 13) http://cathedral.org/event/alpha-cathedral-lenten-series/2017-03-02/