Overthinking (1 Timothy 1:4)

My colleague, Jake, was slumped in his chair behind his desk. Usually bounding with the energy of a child on a sugar rush, his dejected facade was an unfamiliar sight. I cautiously approached his office and was joined by another of my colleagues. 


“Hey, Jake! What’s going on?” I asked with forced lightness.


“Hey…” His voice was thirty decibels lower than it usually projected. My other colleague bravely ventured a question. “You okay?”


Jake shook his head. “I didn’t pass my specialty boards.”


We were shocked. He was one of the most brilliant physicians we knew. Even at this early stage in his career, his knowledge and expertise in his specialty were so renowned, that medical directors of other hospitals often requested that he lecture at their conferences. How could this happen?


“I was overthinking.” he began. “Whenever I read a question, I would second-guess myself. I knew the obvious answer but then, when I looked at the other distractors, I would remember a recent article that discussed that possible exception. I wasn’t sure how current the examiners were so I struggled with my answers. Obviously, I made the wrong choices.”


We understood and attempted to reassure him. The next few weeks were challenging but by the next year, Jake retook the examination and easily passed. He re-oriented his thinking and approach to the examination to solely focus upon the most salient and commonly recognized facts in his specialty.


Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.

1 Timothy 1:4 (NLT)


When I was searching for God, I would often find myself distracted over trivial issues that emerged in my study of Christianity and the Bible. Was Cain’s wife his sister? Who were the Nephilim? Did dinosaurs exist when Adam and Even were created? As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter above, he instructed his protege, Timothy, to not waste his time over many questions that do not help one live a life of faith in God. His admonition speaks to my heart as well. I was overthinking Christianity, distracted by minutiae and obscure possibilities, when I needed to focus upon only one issue. I am a sinner and I needed to confess and repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Once I understood this, other minor details and meaningless speculations fell into place. 


We must all ponder the questions that Christianity raises about our existence, but in the end, the only question that truly matters is what God asks of all of us, “What will you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?”


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


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