Matthew 24:4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you."
"Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics."
We are called to use our thinking to evaluate ourselves. Within our thinking lie beliefs beyond our awareness which are inaccurate and influencing our choices. We ought to practice evaluation of our thoughts for alignment with God as we have them. With practice we can learn the skill of capturing our thoughts. Once we can capture our thoughts then we can learn to evaluate them to see if they are in line with God's will. There is much learning and practicing involved as we grow closer to God. Much of our beliefs and thinking happens automatically or without our awareness. Most of what we do is based upon beliefs developed years ago. Our beliefs are based upon our understanding. We choose to believe things sometimes simply because other people believe them. If enough people believe something then it has to be true, right? Other people make mistakes. Large groups of people can make serious mistakes together. Just take a look at history with prejudice, war, and religion. The bible suggestion wisdom, discernment, and examination. Test all things to see if they are right with God. We ought to learn it individually. We ought not to follow other people at the expense of our relationship with God. We ought to follow God as Jesus Christ followed God.
Mark 10:18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone."
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
We have the ability to change our thinking, beliefs, attitudes, character, friends, careers, choices, behavior, essentially everything which makes us who we are, yet to do so would require effort, strength, sacrifice, perseverance, faith, desire, willingness, self-control, restraint, commitment, and courage. People change all the time. For money and/or fame they give everything they have to become doctors, lawyers, actors, singers, and politicians. In recovery, drug addicts give everything they have heart, mind, and soul to save their lives. People have devoted themselves to incredible achievements just to get in the book of world records.
With similar effort we are called to love and seek God. However, often times our selfishness convinces us not to seek God with such zeal. Instead, we often desire a different God that will not interfere with our selfishness and that is idolatry. To be with the one God is to be rid of selfishness. To be rid of selfishness is to set our minds, thoughts, focus, and attitude to serve, love, care, listen, and obey God's word. We must be open to change and to be different. Without a new understanding we cannot change. We need new learning and for new learning we need to become students.
We learn through our mistakes, examining ourselves for error, refocusing our thoughts toward Godly principles and character. We practice God's character to better understand it. We keep repeating this process, growing in it, and discussing it with others to help each other. Processing our understanding and confusion with others helps us to sort things out and hear another person's perspective. Another person's point of view of our thinking, feeling, and behavior helps us see ourselves differently and gain new self-awareness. We are to examine ourselves always. Faultfinding in others is an ego inflating distraction. We have plenty of faults on our own. We must first find our faults and then correct them.
Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
Psalm 25:5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Proverbs 12:19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
Amos 5:10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth.
Zechariah 8:16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;
Mark 12:14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
John 7:18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 14:16-18 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Dallas Willard “the Great Omission” Page 125
“This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls. Our part in thus practicing the presence of God is to direct and redirect our minds constantly to Him… A new, grace-filled habit will replace the former ones as we take intentional steps toward keeping God before us.”
"The Matrix" clip
Much of what we know come from electrical signals in our brain. We have neural sensors throughout our body which collect information and bring it to our brain. From there we make sense of the information, judge the information, reject the information, and adopt a description of the information to assimilate or accommodate to our beliefs.
Neo is undergoing a serious change in how he understands his existence. He becomes defensive and refuses to believe it. This is a very normal reaction. Change is difficult. Quitting smoking, dieting, switching careers, moving to another state or country, death, divorce, recovery from addictions, etc. Many people try to make changes and suffer or fail. For some, death, divorce, and other tragedies send them into drinking or other harmful actions. Dealing with the pain, loss, confusion, and adapting to a new way of living is an internal struggle. Some refuse to accept it and repress difficult feelings or thoughts. This can be destructive.
Many people depend upon lies to support their beliefs and how they live life. If the truth would be revealed to them they may act a lot like Neo in this clip. Our belief system defends itself. When others tell us we are wrong we often will deny it instinctively. Seeking the truth is about searching ourselves for such defenses which keep us believing and acting upon lies. Anyone who believes they have no defect of character, are sin free, or pure as snow is someone trapped in lies. Anyone who acknowledges they sin yet make no adjustments or changes is someone trapped in lies. What good reason would we have not to change?
Our minds ought to fully embrace God's word into all our activities, but instead, we often conform to the world and make excuses. We can conform to God, we can choose God over all else... no excuses.
We are called to give into God's word to be changed and developed by it. We are to seek truth within us.
We are to be forever learning, focusing, seeking, thinking, and acting upon God's truth.