Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Lent: Watch your Mindset
I had a converstaion recently which reminded me of the importance of our thoughts and how the way we think affects us.
We think in terms of "I am" statements.
I am poor. I am destitute. I am sick. I am depressed.
These thoughts define us in our own minds. They are a statement of agreement with an accusation of the enemy. We need to cut this behaviour out and recognise the Truth behind the lie.
"Poor" is not the same as "broke"
I have been broke. Often. But I've never been "poor". Poor is a state of mind. It is an acceptance of poverty. Someone who is in a state of poverty is defined by it. He is trapped by the agreement that he is "poor". And that very agreement then prevents him (or her) from breaking free of the hold the enemy has on their life. If we believe we are poor we develop a "poverty" mindset. That means we look at every cent that comes in. We account for everything to pay the "essentials" and we generally cut out our tithe or gift as an "unnecessary expense". The thought drops in "I can start giving again when the situation improves". But if you don't sow a seed, you can't reap a harvest.
Don't misunderstand me here. As opposed to other "prosperity" teachers I'm not saying you must give to me, my ministry or any particular organisation or church. There's no "donations" page on this blog. I ask for nothing except feedback. I want to see the church blessed financially, and to see God's People freed from a poverty mindset. The only way that can happen is a paradigm shift that eliminates this poverty agreement.
"I am sick" is just as bad.
Currently I take medication daily for diabetes type 2. This is a "pregressive" illness, meaning it gets worse as you get older.
Mine isn't. It's getting better. I've not changed anything except how I look at the diagnosis. I used to say every time "My diabetes". Agreement. Acceptance. Ownership. It was mine.
Then I realised Isaiah and Peter both point out that by the stripes of Jesus we are healed.
Healed. Cured. Fixed. Sickness has no permanent hold on us.
But we can hold onto sickness. That's happened with me. I spent over ten years declaring the diabetes to be something that defined me. It made me who I was by agreement. The revelation that it wasn't who I am, but the agreement was a lie is something I've been working on for over 5 years now. It takes time to win that fight sometimes, but even if it's by inches, I'm winning. The same with my eyesight. I wear glasses, but I've not needed to change my prescription since I began to understand this principle of not agreeing with the lie. Now I get a new pair of specs a year because my medical insurance pays for it, and I wear them out. No other reason. Or I get contact lenses. Either way, my eyesight is stable, and I expect it to begin to get better. Again, like diabetes, deterioration is "progressive". It's a lie.
Moses was 120 years old and his sight hadn't failed. And he lived under the Old Covenant. How much healthier should we be under the New Covenant?
And then there's the doozy...
I've battled this one. Victory and loss in almost equal numbers - leaning slightly towards victory now finally.
Depression is a big one. It's so convincing. The thoughts bombard your mind and it seems reasonable to accept them. What begins with a natural emotion like grief can begin to spiral if we don't keep our thoughts submitted to God. Grief becomes anger. Unresolved anger becomes depression. Disabling, crippling thought patterns that rob us of the joy of living.
The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy the Bible warns us. Depression, like any illness, has a spiritual root, a physical root and an emotional root. Like a difficult tooth it gets in with an infection and we need to have it removed. Psychology tries to crown it. Cut off the tooth, but the root just gets identifief, not removed, then burined under good intentions. Sometimes it's enough. If we bury the root in Christ as the Crown, then the root will not trouble us again too badly. There may be flare ups now and then right?
If a dental root is diseased a crown won't fix it. Eventually it spreads and rots the bone. The rot goes into the blood stream. Poison. Deadly poison. An egyptian mummy was given an MRI and it established cause of death was most likely blood poisoning due to a dental abscess. Slow. Painful. Like depression.
Rip the root out competely, however, and it can't bother you again. treat the site so no worse infection gets in and then no more toothache.
It's the same with depression. Some of my roots got buried, some got removed by God's power. The ones buried keep coming back to haunt me until I find the strength to have them pulled.
And it hurts. The pain is made worse because it's festered and been allowed to rot. My wife is encouraging me to seek grief counselling (Christian counsellor) over the death of my brother to find healing. He died 29 years ago in 1985 at the age of 9 years and 11 months. Recently I've had violent mood swings as that root has flared up because of other things I've had to deal with. The root needs excising. It will not be pleasant, but I recognise it's essential for my health and my ministry to not be hampered any longer by this grief.
I'd entered an agreement I didn't even know about because I didn't watch my mindset.
Brother Lawrence wrote about "practicing the presence of God", which I have read only extracts of. The wisdom in what I've read is incredible. See stirring a pot of stew as an act of worship, or washing the dishes, or hugging your sibling. Anything we do, do it as for Christ. Make Him the first, last and only focus of our every action and live a life Holy, and wholly devoted to Worship. When I can it changes everything for me. From writing this blog to washing up, helping my mum (who can drive me batty in 0.001 seconds) or even patting the dog, when seen as worshipping God by my actions is a whole new way of thinking for me. The trials in my life suddenly dim as His Brightness overwhelms me. I remember it's His cross I carry, as a yoke - He takes the weight, and I simply mark His footsteps.
So keep your eyes on Christ. Watch how you set your mind and your heart. David fixed his heart to serve God in all things. As a result of trusting God's goodness, God forgave his adultery and murder. He submitted himself and his thoughts to God - to Christ, the Messiah - and his Faith was credited as righteousness.
If he could, we can.
Watch your thought life.
I'm trying to watch mine.