Spiritual Solutions to Analysis Paralysis - Purity 782
Purity 782 7/13/2022 Purity 782 Podcast
Today’s photo of a large outcropping of red rock underneath blue skies comes to us from a friend who is vacationing in the Southwest and shared this scene from their visit to the Capital Reef National Park in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country. Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles. (https://www.nps.gov/care/index.htm).
Well, It’s Wednesday again and today’s photo might be part of a “geologic monocline” but the close up view of it made this portion of this wrinkle on the earth look like a mountain to me! So, I share it to symbolically represent the “hump” of work week.
Although this might not be a mountain, I guess, it sure looks like one! But when something is big and in your face, even mole hills can appear to be insurmountable monoliths. And likewise when our problems are present, daunting, and immediate in our lives, they too can seem too big to overcome.
With a mountain, we can go over it, we can go around it, or we can choose to sit in its shadow and repeatedly proclaim that “It’s just too big!” and do nothing.
I got mountains on my mind this morning because recently I have had chats with, or heard reports, about people who are facing big challenges in their lives right now and they appear to be locked in “Analysis Paralysis”. For an apt description of all of the aspects of this phenomenon we turn to the apt description of it I found on Wikipedia.
“Analysis paralysis (or paralysis by analysis) describes an individual or group process where overanalyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become "paralyzed", meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon within a natural time frame.”
Do you know someone who overthinks things and ends up frozen? Wikipedia continues:
“A situation may be deemed too complicated and a decision is never made, or made much too late, due to anxiety that a potentially larger problem may arise.”
How about that? Have you heard someone lament that it’s all just too complicated and they fear that whatever they will do will just make more problems? Wikipedia goes on:
“A person may desire a perfect solution, but may fear making a decision that could result in error, while on the way to a better solution.”
Know any people that don’t do anything because they can’t do it perfectly or fear that they will make a mistake or fail? Hold on there’s more:
“Equally, a person may hold that a superior solution is a short step away, and stall in its endless pursuit, with no concept of diminishing returns.”
Know anyone that is just waiting on that “one thing” they need to happen before they can do anything and ends up standing in place because of that “one thing” rather than working on other aspects that aren’t dependent on that “one thing”? Wikipedia has more:
“Analysis paralysis is when the fear of either making an error or forgoing a superior solution outweighs the realistic expectation or potential value of success in a decision made in a timely manner.
This imbalance results in suppressed decision-making in an unconscious effort to preserve existing options.
An overload of options can overwhelm the situation and cause this "paralysis", rendering one unable to come to a conclusion.”
Here we go, have you known anyone who wanted to “keep their options open” to the point that they didn’t do anything because they were “open” to everything? And finally,
“It (Analysis Paralysis) can become a larger problem in critical situations where a decision needs to be reached, but a person is not able to provide a response fast enough, potentially causing a bigger issue than they would have had, had they made a decision. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis)
Ever see someone’s situation get worse because they didn’t make a decision and while they stalled circumstances changed or deadlines or opportunities were missed?
If you have had a family and friends, for any length of time, I would imagine that you have encountered people, or heard about people that suffered, in one of the many aspects, or wrinkles, of analysis paralysis.
Now as varied and diverse as all these aspects of analysis paralysis are, they all have one thing in common: fear. Analysis paralysis involves someone fearing something:
Fear of making mistakes
Fear of not doing something perfectly
Fear of missing out on one thing because of choosing another
Fear of limiting their opportunities
Fear of the costs
Fear of their own inadequacies
Fear of failure
Fear of change.
Hey and don’t get me wrong, those things are scary, and in the flesh, when faced with a mountainous situation, the idea of going over that hump, or around that hump, or boring a way through that hump may just seem to be too hard. “Let’s just stay here” seems like a perfectly logical solution when all those fears come against us. And even staying put, can work sometimes.
Unfortunately, I don’t the answer for each specific situation that you might face but I can address the spiritual aspect of Analysis Paralysis and offer some simple advice that has helped me overcome what seemed to be some Himalayan sized problems in my life.
As Christians, what we do? We go to the word of God and One who made all the mountains and who sent His Son to assure us that through Him we can move them.
Rather that moving boulders and monolithic slabs of earth through the sky supernaturally, Christ’s encouragement in
Matthew 17:20 (NKJV) where
20 “…if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Was telling us that through relationship with God, our trust in Him, and our action we could overcome what seems to be impossible tasks.
In that section of scripture, the apostles failed to cast out a demon. But while Christ prescribed “faith” as a key part of success, He didn’t say “just believe brother”. In this realm of spiritual warfare, He also directed the apostles to take action in “prayer and fasting”. Although these are admittedly spiritual practices, we have to realize their problem was very spiritual in nature, demons right?
So what about analysis paralysis? I’m not facing demons, I have to make a decision!
Well your problem here is spiritual as you are consumed by fear.
The word tells:
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
So We are not to be afraid. We are to trust the Lord who sees the beginning from the end and who is control of all things. The word also tells us in:
James 1:5 (NKJV)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
God knows everything so if we need wisdom we are to ask Him in prayer for wisdom and for guidance.
And after you do that, you take action and all the while you are to stay in the presence of the Lord to receive courage, strength, and wisdom while you walk over the mountain, go around the mountain, or walk right through the mountain.
While we may be called to wait or walk through the valley of the shadow of death at times in our journey through life, we are never to do it alone. Go to God and receive courage, wisdom, and the confidence that tells us that:
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Through Christ who strengthens us. Get the strength and wisdom of God and face those mountains. Decide on a course of action and go with God and see what happens.
My bit of advice to those with God and are unsure of what to do is to trust the Lord and “DO SOMETHING”.
When we walk with God, we have to realize that we are accepted, secure, and significant in Him, and really, we can make a mistake that we can’t learn from or over come and because God is sovereign, we really can’t “miss out”. Because God is sovereign we can discern His will for our lives by the things that happen.
If something you were really hoping and pushing for doesn’t happen, it’s okay the failure to accomplish or receive something is an indication that it “wasn’t meant to be”, it wasn’t God’s will, or it means that you God’s answer is “not yet”.
I am often reminded of all the prayers I am glad the Lord didn’t answer in my life. God has perfect knowledge, we don’t. What we think will make us happy or fulfill us may not be best for us or may not be wise. SO we trust the Lord and accept the cup that He gives us to drink, knowing that no matter what happens in this life, this earth is temporary and our biggest issues and fears are resolved by God.
Though this world will pass away, the Lord endures forever and He has chosen us to be with Him. So don’t be afraid of making a mistake, missing out, or not doing it right, If the Lord is for us who can be against us? Everybody! But who cares! God is in control and He will lead us and guide us to ultimate good in His kingdom and if we decide to ask Him for strength, courage, and wisdom and walk in His ways, He will even allow us to experience a little bit of heaven here on earth by giving us a peace that goes all understanding that is not dependent on favorable circumstances or outcomes.
So keep walking and talking with God. If you got problems, DO SOMETHING to solve them but make sure the first something you do is to have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ so you will know that He is on your side and help you over that many mountainous humps you will face through life.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Matthew 6:24 (NLT2)
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Today’s Bible verse are the words of Jesus Christ that compel us to make a decision with who we serve.
Are we going to serve the Lord or are we going to serve money?
Can’t I do both? Not according to Jesus.
Now don’t listen to Satan and get this twisted. Other verses of the Bible speak of prospering and being diligent in work, so God is not calling us to homeless and to forsake all material possessions.
But obviously, the Lord doesn’t want us focused on the wealth that we can earn either.
Money can’t buy us love but it sure can take care of our material needs and help us to create peace environments and experience many good things. But it does not buy our way into God’s kingdom and it can’t help us to pay for our sins.
God does that exclusively through Jesus Christ. In order to be a part of God’s kingdom, we choose to be under the Lordship of Christ. So we have to choose to serve Him with our hearts, minds, and our money.
Where our time and money is spent indicates our priorities, God wants us to spend it on Him in service to His kingdom and we must freely decide who we will serve.
Money is temporary, God is eternal. Christ calls us to make a decision and we must make a choice that will show that we are His.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
The Attempt to Ruin God’s Redemptive Plan (1 Cor 2:6–8)
Paul gives us a brief glimpse at a moment in time when the powers thought they could forever thwart the redemptive purpose of God. Another Christian writer, the apostle John, revealed that Satan had wanted to speed Christ’s journey to the cross by entering Judas so he could betray Christ to the officials (Jn 13:27). Paul confirms John’s account of Satan’s intent, disclosing that the powers of darkness were convinced they could neutralize God’s purposes by precipitating Christ’s death. Paul writes:
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers (archontes) of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor 2:6–8)
This passage contributes three important insights into our understanding of the powers. First, their knowledge of God’s plan is limited—they were not aware of precisely how God would inaugurate his method of redemption through Christ. Paul states it plainly, “None of the rulers of this age understood it.” God did not reveal to these supernatural beings his “secret wisdom” (literally, his “wisdom in a mystery”). The intricacies of the plan of salvation were kept hidden, not only from humanity, but also from the angelic realm. The satanic opposition thus naively believed putting Jesus to death was the way to do away with the Son of God who had come to fulfill his Father’s will and inaugurate his kingdom.
Second, the demonic rulers are facing impending doom (1 Cor 2:6). Paul asserts that the rulers of this age “are coming to nothing” (NIV), “are passing away” (NASB), “are declining to their end” (NEB). Paul here employed a strong word (katargeō), which is generally used to mean “render powerless,” “abolish” and “wipe out.” Ironically, this is true of the powers because the cross of Christ marked their defeat. Although they may experience temporary victories in their ongoing hostility against the church, their ultimate doom is certain. Paul uses the same word (katargeō) later in his letter to the Corinthians, when he says all the hostile powers must be destroyed before “he hands over the kingdom to God the Father” (1 Cor 15:24). The demonic rulers are also described by Paul as being part “of this age.” Following traditional Jewish eschatology, Paul conceived of two ages, this age and the one to come. The powers are a part of this present evil age (see Gal 1:4) from which God is rescuing his people. The demise of the powers is all the more certain because the Second Coming of Christ will mark the end of “this age.” All the fullness of life in the age to come will then be experienced—and without contending with the devilish influence of the demonic rulers.
Third, the demonic rulers are intimately involved in the affairs of life by working in and through people. From the Gospel accounts it is clear that Jesus was nailed to the cross by humans—Roman soldiers following orders from the proconsul, Pontius Pilate. Jesus had been handed over to Pilate for crucifixion by the Jewish council consisting of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and led by the high priests Annas and then Caiaphas. Furthermore, a crowd of people had assembled for Passover who were shouting to Pilate that Jesus should be crucified. It appears that the guilt for Jesus’ death should be assigned to all of these people. Yet in this passage, Paul pointed to demonic responsibility for Jesus’ death. Not all interpreters of this passage have seen it in this way. Some think Paul has in mind only the human rulers responsible for his crucifixion, usually Annas, Caiaphas and Pilate. There are a number of good reasons, however, for believing Paul intended his readers to think of demonic rulers when they read this passage. First, Paul used the term “ruler” (archōn) elsewhere for Satan. In Ephesians 2:2, for example, Paul described Satan as “the ruler [archōn] of the kingdom of the air.” On one other occasion, he did use the word for human rulers (Rom 13:3), but the important point to establish here is that the word was part of his vocabulary for referring to an evil spirit-being.
Second, it is more natural to interpret the demonic rulers as being “wiped out” (katargeō) than the human rulers. Later in the same letter he said Christ must destroy (katargeō) the powers of darkness (“all dominion, authority, and power”) before he hands over the kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor 15:24). He also used the word katargeō to refer to Christ’s slaying of the satanically inspired “lawless one” during the time of great distress at the end (2 Thess 2:8). He never used the word for the ultimate doom of unbelieving humanity. It is significant that the writer of Hebrews also used the word katargeō with reference to the evil spiritual realm—by his death Christ “destroyed” the devil (Heb 2:14).
Third, this interpretation best explains Paul’s argument in this passage. In the larger context Paul was acclaiming the inscrutable wisdom of God. This wisdom is the essence of Paul’s message and is imparted by revelation of the Spirit to believers. He belittled human wisdom as useless for understanding God’s ways. He now advances his argument by showing that not even the angelic powers could understand the secret wisdom of God.
Fourth, Paul probably used the word ruler for evil angels because it was part of the wide array of terminology for evil spirits in Jewish tradition at the time. Furthermore, it likely carried the connotation of exceptional power and authority in the hierarchy of evil spirit-beings. This is especially true when we realize it was a title for Satan. The use of the word “ruler” (archōn) in Judaism for evil angels can be illustrated by its appearance in the second century B.C. Testament of Simeon. In this document Simeon allegedly gave the reason for his jealousy and hatred of his brother Joseph:
In the time of my youth I was jealous of Joseph, because my father loved him more than all the rest of us. I determined inwardly to destroy him, because the Prince [archōn] of Error [or “deception”] blinded my mind so that I did not consider him as a brother nor did I spare Jacob, my father. (Testament of Simeon 2:6–7)
This text also illustrates the tendency of later Judaism to rewrite patriarchal history by attributing demonic involvement to events.
Finally, the word “ruler” [archōn] was also part of the early Christian vocabulary for the satanic. The “prince [archōn] of this world” is one of John’s most common expressions for the devil (see Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). An example of its use by the Apostolic Fathers can be seen in the late first-century Epistle of Barnabas:
There are two ways of teaching and of power, the one of light and the other of darkness.… On the one are stationed the light-giving angels of God, on the other the angels of Satan. And the one is Lord from all eternity and unto all eternity, whereas the other is Lord (archōn) of the season of iniquity that now is.
Paul held the demonic rulers responsible for Christ’s death. He assumes that these powers of Satan were working behind the scenes to control the course of events during the passion week. It was not a part of Paul’s purpose to explain exactly how these demonic rulers operated. At the very least we can imagine they were intimately involved by exerting their devious influence in and through Judas, Pilate, Annas and Caiaphas, and by inciting the mob.
Demonic victory over God’s plan by putting Christ to death failed. The powers did not apprehend the full extent of God’s wisdom—how the Father would use the death of Christ to atone for sin, raise him victoriously from the dead and create the church. Least of all did they envisage their own defeat!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 101–104.