Every single one of us holds inside ourselves certain biases. I have written about racial bias many times, but confirmation bias consumes my thoughts this week. Have you heard this term before? Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that supports one’s own beliefs or opinions. Based on our upbringing, environment and experiences, we bring a set of predilections and inclinations to every relationship, conversation, book we read and movie we watch.
Our biases can be positive or negative, but they can become dangerous when put on God and His Word. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” NIV
Can We Really Know God’s Will?
I think it’s safe to say that anyone who believes in God is interested in His will. We pray to know it and we pray for it to happen. But I see the global church increasingly aligning with the pattern of this world and less to God’s will as written for us in His Word.
What does it mean to test and approve what God’s will is? I firmly believe that God speaks to His children in a myriad of ways. And if we aren’t careful, we can become convinced He is directing us along the path of our confirmation bias. Can we ever be 100% certain of God’s answer to our prayers? Depends on what our question is. God makes it very clear what He wills for us on many, many issues…in His Word. The Bible is our ultimate authority and the plumb line with which we should measure everything! So the first and most important thing we can do is to put what we believe we are hearing or thinking up against God’s Word.
How to Go About Eliminating Confirmation Bias
There are lots of topical study helps. How should I treat my spouse? Should I lie to my boss to save my job? Who is Jesus? How can I be saved? Should I tell my co-worker about Jesus? These questions and so…many…more can be found in the Bible. Seek out a scripture, read it in context (the whole chapter or more. Not just the verse.), and look up the original language to make sure you know what the author intended. My favorite tools for this practice are biblehub.com and blueletterbible.com. Our Heavenly Father will never give you revelation or direction that contradicts His Word. Period.
But what if you can’t find your issue in a bible index? The scriptures won’t tell you if you should go back to school. Or whether you should take a new job. Or whether buying a new home is a good idea. (Although at times there are underlying issues that God’s Word will address). In situations when correct theology or sin are not involved, asking for guidance from mature, godly men and women in your life can help you draw wise conclusions. But remember, everyone brings confirmation bias to the table. So hold everything said – including from the pulpit – up against the Holy Scriptures. In other words, see point number one. It is the most important point.
And now for this week’s featured post from the link up!
This post on persevering in prayer was a reminder I needed this week.
The Link Up
1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.
2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.
3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).
We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.
Now Let’s Link Up!