Top performers in any field become good at problem solving because they learn to see how things connect. When we learn how things connect, problems become less complicated.
It means when we address any one area of the problem with a sound solution, the rest of the components of the problem will be affected for the better as well, but you have to start somewhere.
Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.”
We do not want to attempt to solve a problem with the same type of mentality that created the problem, or we may wind up with a bigger problem. We have to be able to think differently, at a higher, clearer level, than when we got ourselves into the middle of the problem.
Most people are passive about their problems. They let them happen to them, instead of taking control of them and finding a solution.
Settle one difficulty and you keep a hundred others away. The biggest problem faced by people is fear. However, the Bible says that perfect (complete) love casts fear out (I John 4:18).
When the nation of Israel was on the banks of the Jordan River, about to go into the Promised Land, they stood in fear because of the enemy waiting on the other side of the river (Numbers 13 and 14). It was their fear and what resulted from it that sent them back into the desert.
Joshua and Caleb were the only ones that said, “We can do this.” They knew that the problems weren’t across the river — they were in the hearts and minds of the people.
That’s why Jesus dealt with people’s hearts and minds. He knew that if he solved the problems there, he would solve all the rest of their problems as a result.
Problem solvers are good at boiling things down. Instead of seeing problems of great stature (Num. 13:32-33), you see one or two that you can move on immediately. Solve those and you start to solve the rest.
Taking control, responsibility
God has given those that follow him the power to take control of any situation (II Timothy 1:7). He was literally saying that when we take the initiative, we are forcing the issue to a good outcome. If we don’t take the initiative on, our problems they will get worse. Any battlefield commander knows that when the initiative is lost, retreat or withdrawal is not far behind. It means that when we become timid in the face of our problems, we lose the advantage that God has given us.
It isn’t just having the advantage, it’s keeping it. God has given us the power to see things in their simplest form regardless of how complicated they may seem to be. We must remember that it is never the potency of the opposition that gets us. It is the weariness in us that gets us. Problem solvers know that you do not get better without follow-up and follow-through.
A mind for solving
The sound mind is the trained mind and that is what is being talked about in II Timothy 1:7. The words “sound” and “mind” are the same in the Greek. They both mean discipline or self-control. That is going to be necessary when the pressure is on.
One part of military training involves timing and terrain. Troops are expected to locate key points in quick order. It is a matter of seeing a goal in the context of related factors. It is called orienteering for which there are international competitions.
Those that advocate the teachings of the Bible should be better oriented to the spiritual terrain than anyone else. It’s making the right decisions at the right time.
Dr. M. Hildon Guy is the President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River, Alaska. He also serves as a board member of Love INC, Eagle River. (www.universityofcss.org)