December 17, 2017
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Rooted in the knowledge of our Creator

… You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. - Colossians 3:9-10

Healing, at its core, is to be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. The old self, which is the false identity, has to be replaced with the new self, which is the true identity. Earlier in the third chapter of Colossians, Paul proclaims that we have died to the old nature in order to be resurrected with Christ in new life. This is a supernatural exchange by which we are created anew by God.

You are what you think. Your current identity is formed and controlled by what you believe to be true. This is your paradigm, your belief system, in which you put your faith. That is why it is so important to consider the source of your information. Do not put your faith in the reckless opinions of others, misguided intentions from family, misinterpreted signals from peers, or the misapplication of a diagnosis. Put your faith in God by being renewed in knowledge after the image of your Creator.

Simple Mind Renewal Outline

1) Ask the Lord to identify the current pain or conflict.
2) Focus the conflict and ask how this makes you feel, or what it tempts you to do.
3) Interrogate the emotion or action to discover the belief.
4) Interrogate the belief by asking how you came to believe it to be true.
5) Surrender the belief to Christ and ask for His truth.
6) Accept the Truth in place of the old belief.
7) Check to see that the original pain or conflict has been resolved to peace.

Mind renewal means to think a different way, to exchange one paradigm for another. It is vitally important then to know what needs to be replaced and what needs to be confirmed. We call it brainwashing when one person causes another to accept his worldview. We call it education when the intent is to adapt one’s worldview to truth.

Pilate asked the right question of Jesus: “What is truth?” Healing prayer asks the same question about what one believes to be true.

How do you know what you believe? You see the evidence expressed in how you feel and how you act.

Interrogate Your Emotions and Actions

Emotions are neither good nor bad they are simply a response to what you believe to be true. If you believe your life is in danger you will feel fear. If you believe you have lost something of value you will feel sadness. If you believe you are about to receive something of value you will feel excitement. Your emotions respond to your expectation.

We sometimes say “historical accuracy is overrated” because your emotions do not prove something to be true but respond to what you believe in the moment. For example, if a friend approaches you on your birthday with a gift bag you will feel anticipation because you believe you are about to receive a gift. If you discover that the gift is for someone else, your emotions will change as quickly as your belief. Your former excitement was not wrong, just short lived. The point is your emotion is an accurate indicator of your belief.

The same is true with your actions. You respond to what you believe to be true. If you believe your life is in danger you will either fight or run, depending on your personality and the situation. If you discover that your life was not in danger, despite your fear, your actions will change accordingly. Your initial reaction was not wrong, it was appropriate for what you believed to be true. However, when the new truth replaces the initial assumption the actions will change.

Whether we interrogate emotions or actions, the goal is the same: what do you believe to be true that causes you to act or feel this way?

Interrogate Your Beliefs

What do these words have in common: believe, know, faith, hope, conviction, opinion, trust, and confidence? Most people consider them to be near synonyms or similar terms that describe the ingredients of a paradigm. Yet there can be confusion in the nuances of meaning.

For purposes of mind renewal we are interested in a person’s guiding beliefs. These are convictions or opinions that are held in the heart and have a conscious and subconscious effect on emotions and behaviors. They should not be confused with information or facts of which we are aware in our mind, for these latter concepts do not actually guide us.

For example, an adult may recite the truth that God will never leave them nor forsake them. If you ask if they believe that to be true they may quickly affirm it because they are aware of the statement from the Bible. However, if you ask if it feels true to them you may get a different answer. This has been called the head-heart split. In our head are all the “right” answers that we have stored for later recall. In our heart are the guiding beliefs, and these are the ones we must interrogate.

Martin struggled with panic attacks, and a recent episode prompted him to schedule a prayer appointment. This was the conflict that came up as we opened our time in prayer, so we began to interrogate the emotion of panic.

He described an incident that began with caution but grew into worry, then became anxiety, and finally a paralyzing panic attack. He believed that the panic attack could take over his body and he would not be able to protect himself. I asked how he came to believe this to be true.

In response he recalled the first time he experienced a panic attack. He was in his late teens, visiting with some acquaintances for a few days while trying to figure out how to leave home for good. It had been a rocky time with his dad that led up to this. He was alone in an unfamiliar house, and he began to consider the enormity of his decision. The thought of independence, while exciting on the one hand, was daunting on the other. His thought grew to worry, his worry to anxiety, and then he had a disabling panic attack.

When we prayed for clarity he realized that his problem was a fear of fear. He believed a panic attack could take over his body, and its onset was outside of his control. He had been trying to guard against that possibility by eliminating any thought that could lead to fear. Of course, this is an impossible assignment.

I prayed: “Lord, Martin believes that he could be paralyzed by a panic attack, and that this could happen at any time, and that he has no control over it. Would you now reveal Your truth to him in this matter?”

Martin kept his head bowed for a few moments, but when he looked up his face had changed. I asked him to describe what the Lord had revealed to him.

“While you were still praying, I remembered how it felt when I was getting away from home. I had never been on my own before, and didn’t know if I could handle it. I was afraid my dad would cut me off completely,” he said. “But then it dawned on me: I was an immature nineteen-year-old then, and my decision was huge to me. I’m not that scared little kid anymore. God has protected and guided me.”

“That sounds like real truth to me,” I responded. “How does that make you feel?”

“Oh, I feel great. There is a verse that says ‘Cast all your cares on Me.’ I know I can handle the little fears and anything that grows into an anxiety I can cast on Him!”

I reminded Martin that fear is just an emotion, and it is an emotional response to what you believe to be true. This is normal and healthy. However, a fear of fear is a scheme of the enemy. The devil cleverly inserts a fear of an emotion, rather than a belief. This then quickly becomes a vicious cycle. Once you enter the vortex of fear it spirals out of control, being fed by the very fear it creates.

I led him in a prayer to kick out the spirit of fear in the name and authority of Jesus. Then we talked about how to defend against any future attack. Martin has been free from panic attacks since that time.

The Creator’s Knowledge

And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. - Colossians 3:10

There is a standard of absolute truth. Ironically, when Pilate asked the question “What is truth?” he did not know that Truth was standing right in front of him. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

I once worked with a man who was a classic designer / entrepreneur. He always had another great idea or impulse. A mutual acquaintance referred to him in a conspiratorial tone and said: “He has trouble making decisions, doesn’t he?”

“On the contrary,” I replied. “He makes decisions very quickly. Making decisions is not his weakness, but perhaps holding onto them is.”

Our minds are like that. We make decisions, or draw conclusions, very quickly but we must interrogate those that we hold as guiding beliefs. We are reconciled to God through Christ by being renewed in the knowledge that is embodied in His image. When we change our guiding beliefs we are able to put off the old self with its practices! The knowledge of the Creator guides how we feel and act, and this is the new self, reconciled to Him.

 
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