Clear thinking is unnatural for most of us. Digital Thinking, taught by Robert Fritz, helps create clarity and focus by using opposites. And clarity is especially challenging when you are emotional or assume absolutes do not exist.
If you accept anything like the law of entropy, then you accept that everything in the world is changing, even if you cannot see the change – everything. So, if everything changes, it is either getting better or worse. Notice how that presents only two options; therefore, it is a “2” or an opposite, as we call it.
Additional examples are yes or no, plus or minus, true or false, up or down, acceptable or unacceptable, good or bad. You stay confused or at least unclear when you do not accept that there is a “2” even for the situation you are considering. When you remain between true and false, 0 and 1, and do not accept that it is one or the other, expect confusion in your life.
Without clarity of good and evil, anything goes. Satan wants to confuse you, thinking things are not good or bad. One of his most effective strategies is to encourage thinking that things are complex, even those things that are plain and obvious.
Look at how he used the strategy with Eve in the Garden of Eden.
“Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1
What God had stated was plain, straightforward, and simple.
“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Genesis 2:16
That statement from Satan introduced the possibility that things are not as simple as they appear. With that seed of confusion came the full blossoming of Eve and Adam, trusting their thinking, doubting God, and ultimately introducing sin into the world.
You are faced with the same strategy today. First, it is imperative to know what God wants; otherwise, deception is that much easier. But just because you know (consider Adam; God gave the command directly to him) and have even applied God’s wisdom to your life, Satan through your sin nature will be introducing exceptions and confusion to get you to think, “It can’t be that clear. There must be some room for me to do as I want without violating what God says.”
Once that is entertained, you are on the slippery slope to sin.
The antidote is to know God’s Word and think digitally. Every situation either pleases God or does not. (Notice, that is an opposite or a 2.) If unsure, get into God’s Word or seek counsel, but do not act.
As a quick reminder, God has provided clarity on what is right and what is wrong. Some things are incredibly transparent, like forgiveness, confession, slander, murder, etc. Some things are less clear, like dancing, smoking, and even drinking.
Those things you might consider less clear still have clear, DIGITAL principles. Consider Romans 14:14-23 for those situations.
- Are you causing someone to stumble? Yes or No!
- Are you willing to give up your freedom for the good of another? Yes or No!
- Are you willing to do it in private, not in public? Yes or No!
- Are you doing this with a clear conscience in faith, honoring God? Yes or No!
Asking a question using opposites creates a structure that requires a definite answer, preferably “yes or no.” That provides clarity, and often the truth can come clearly into view. Is this choice good or bad? Am I willing to live with the consequences? Will this glorify God? Each of those questions requires a clear yes or no. Be careful not to try to rationalize your answer. It either fits God’s principles, or it does not.
Sometimes 3 Helps
While not quite as helpful as 2s, another tool of digital thinking is 3s, which takes the human perspective and the possibility of no change into consideration. Since we cannot or may not see change, it is easier to offer that as one more option. A standard “3” uses “stays the same, gets better, or gets worse.”
For instance, consider the chart for the second item, “Project on schedule,” which starts with a digital answer of “No” but then uses a “3” to identify that it is getting better.
Be careful. Using a 3 may tempt you to rationalize your “No” by choosing the option that it is getting better. So, consider staying with “2s”. The project is not on schedule, so get it back on schedule.
When you talk with someone, you can help them discover solutions without giving them advice if you use digital thinking or opposites.
Early in my career as a leadership coach, the CEO of one of my clients called me to help with a problematic employee. The employee was not performing and constantly excused their poor performance. After talking briefly with the person, I asked, “How do you see your performance at work, is it adequate or inadequate?”
Their response was a list of excuses. So, I told the person, “I can appreciate that those things happen, we could talk about them, but now it is important to know your answer to that question. So, if you would indulge me, how do you see your performance at work? Is it adequate or inadequate?”
After 5 minutes of a combination of complaints and excuses, I drew a horizontal line on a whiteboard in the room. Then I drew a vertical line in the middle of the horizontal one. On the left, I wrote “Inadequate” and "Adequate" on the right.
I sat down and asked the person to put an “X” on the horizontal line to represent their performance.
Several minutes passed with them recounting excuses, telling their work history, and explaining how others were constantly creating problems for them. I did not dispute their excuses; we briefly talked about a few. Finally, I politely asked, “So, considering all that is going on, do you think your performance is adequate or inadequate?” After a pause, the person walked to the board and marked an “X” on the “Inadequate” side.
They accepted reality about their performance without badgering, arguing, or providing advice. Within a few days, they quit. The power of 2s demands reality rather than relativity.
It would be a much better story if they chose to become a high performer, but that did not happen. Hopefully, when you apply Opposites to your life, you decide to change and do life God’s way!
You and I have been in situations where we fought reality also. It is a futile fight, but we still try because we will not give up our flawed thinking. Unfortunately, we fight against God’s Word, the ultimate reality.
Consider the following short passage from 1 Thessalonians:
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. – I Thessalonians 5:12-22
Answer the following questions digitally with a yes or no.
- Are you rejoicing always?
- Are you praying without ceasing?
- Are you giving thanks in everything?
It is highly improbable that you could answer yes to any of those questions. Any “no” means you live in a fantasy world, not reality. Why? Because God’s Word is the ultimate reality. Anything God says is real; therefore, He is telling us how life will work best. When you do not live by His Word, you live in a fantasy world, thinking you know best – thinking that complaining and not being thankful is okay!
WOW, that is convicting to me!
The Ultimate 2
The Ultimate 2 is THE fundamental question and decision you have in life. It is constantly part of your life.
- Will I depend on God?
- Or will I depend on something other than God?
Does your life depend upon what God tells you in His Word? Or, do you trust yourself or some other source? Are you getting better or getting worse? It is your choice.
Let’s make this more specific. Will I depend on God or something other than God regarding relationships and marriage?
Here are some clear statements from God about marriage.
- Marriage demonstrates His Divine Nature (Genesis 1:27, Titus 2:1-5)
- Marriage propagates children (Genesis 1:28)
- Marriage eliminates solitude (Genesis 2:18)
- Marriage helps prevent immorality (I Corinthians7:2, Hebrews 13:5)
- Marriage provides enjoyment (Proverbs 5:18)
Which of those do you believe? If you do not believe and apply all, your marriage is not in reality. Do you want to live in reality or fantasy? You are in reality, or you are not.