Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Mental Models are basically the result of repeated thinking on a particular idea. The idea has been stressed to a point where the thinker absolutely believes in it and repeats it to others. The idea, therefore, shapes the thinker’s perception and action.
A simple way to illustrate this is to recall the idea many of us learnt in elementary/primary school: “The sun rises in the East and sets in the West.”
Although this looks logical, it defies the essence of the sun because it is the Earth that actually rotates round the sun daily, not the other way around.
This rotation round the orbit of the sun is what gives us day and night; there is no rising or setting.
Proverbs 23:7a says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Although the object in this scripture is an evil ruler, the concept is still relevant to us.
The way we think is the way we turn out to be. This is why our anchor text encourages us to seek out the right things and dwell on them.
Mental models often affect the outcome of our lives. This can be positive or negative. We will consider both angles subsequently.
In Acts 10:12-15, God spoke to Peter through a vision. Being a devout Jew, he had been taught not to eat certain kinds of animals. (Lev 11:4-8)
However, Peter was told in verse 15 not to call unclean what God had already cleansed. This was meant to prepare him ahead of his ministration to a Gentile family- Cornelius’ household.
Paul, like most Jews also had a wrong mental model about Jesus Christ the Savior. He believed Jesus was an imposter and boldly persecuted the early Church. (Acts 7:58, 8:3, 9:1-2)
It was after his encounter with the Lord in Acts 9 that his belief was corrected and zeal redirected.
Timothy on the other hand, had a right mental model from the start. Paul said this of him, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 3:15)
He had been groomed in the knowledge of God’s word from childhood. No wonder it was easy for Paul to build on this, take him further in the faith and then commit the discipleship of other men to him even in his youth.
Some of us may have accepted wrong mental models as a result of our family backgrounds or culture. It is time for a redress.
Accept the truth of God’s word today over such models and begin to act on it.