First Thoughts

by Lester Young

If you’re like most of us, you can probably recall once upon a time when you sat in a classroom taking a test and you came across a question (or a whole group of them) that you really didn’t know the answer to. You looked the possible answers over carefully but none of them really rang a bell, so you took a guess. But before turning in the exam you decided to go back and have a second look: and upon further review another choice looked better, so you changed your initial answer to that one. Of course, when you got your paper back a few days later you discovered – to your chagrin – that you’d chosen the right answer the first time!

What’s interesting is that many exams now include in their pre-test instructions some type of statement suggesting that you guess at an answer you don’t know and not going back to change it, because “your first answer is usually the best one”. Why would they tell you to do that? Because statistics show it to be true. How could such an occurrence be so common among humans?

And here’s another fairly fascinating tidbit: What is it that causes so many of us personally relate to a story we hear that eventually concludes with, “You know, something told me I should’ve (or shouldn’t have) done that, and I should’ve listened to it from the beginning!”? What is that “something”? Is it simply part of our nature – the way we’re made?

It does have to do with the way we’re made, and it therefore must ultimately reside within the influence of our Maker (Psalm 95:6-7, 100:3; Proverbs 22:2). All things that we can see, perceive or understand have at their heart spiritual roots (Romans 1:19-20; Hebrews 8:5, 11:3). An inner voice, a sixth sense, your conscience – whatever name it’s called by, it’s how we’re made. It’s a means God can use to get through to us when we may really need Him to – whether we’re born again or not. And it can literally save our lives, if we’ll learn to recognize it for what it is – and even more importantly, heed it.

First thoughts typically have those same spiritual roots. 1 John 2:24 tells us to “see [to it that] that which you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father” (NIV). The principle here is that God doesn’t give us Plan B first: He always gives us Plan A first – even though we may not always understand where the heck it’s taking us or why. As a matter of fact, there would never even be a need for a Plan B if we would just get on Plan A and stick to it.

Jesus, the ‘last Adam,’ has brought us back into the original “eternal-life” fellowship with God the Father that the first Adam had but lost (1 Corinthians 15:45; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 5:12, 20; Genesis 2:15-17). In other words, God’s first plan has always been and will always be His best plan, and it’s always the right one (Genesis 1:1-30, 31). By the same wisdom, if you’re confronted with an issue and you’re in Christ Jesus, you should keep your ears open to the first thoughts, words or impressions that come up inside you from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 John 2:24). Of course, that’s not to say you shouldn’t examine every word and spirit you hear to make sure it’s coming from God (1 John 4:1-3). But the Spirit we’ve received from our heavenly Father has been sent to guide us into all truth, speak to us what God tells Him and show us things to come (John 16:13). He’s faithful and trustworthy to do the job He’s been given to do (1 John 5:6). So don’t worry, go ahead and trust Him: He’ll lead you the right way (Psalm 23:3).


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