Friday, March 28, 2008

Who and What Controls You ?

I dreamed that we were living in a time when Christians were being threatened and we knew it was only a matter of time before we would be killed for our faith !

I was trying to explain to my sister-in-law and her husband, who had come to visit, the dark time we were living in and how we needed to be strong. Suddenly a vehicle with two uniformed men drove up and I thought .. " they come to kill us..” But they only dropped off a huge chain link cage full of chickens.

The phone rang and I turned away from the window to answer it. It was a man asking that we agree to contribute a roaster full of food to feed some down and outers off the street … about twenty of them. I argued that I didn’t think it was a good idea because I was a Christian and I was expecting to be killed shortly and if I agreed to feed these men and was killed before I could serve them then they would go hungry.
The man wasn’t taking no for an answer even though I further explained that with expecting to be killed I had not gone grocery shopping and didn’t have any food in the house. He still wasn’t accepting anything short of me agreeing to contribute to this meal… so finally I agreed after he told me that perhaps I was a little ‘squirrelly’.

I needed a larger roasting pan than I had so I sent Vic out to go buy one. He came back with a huge one. He had to bring it home on a wheel barrow. It had large legs and a ceramic animal head on it. It would never have fit into a normal oven but in my dream I was quite pleased with it and decided it would be great to roast potatoes in it -- that would be my contribution to this meal.
The day came for us to bring the food to these men and they were already gathered in a large room. The men were shabbily dressed and unshaven. Before the meal was started a man obviously in charge addressed these men asking them to stand if they had had a change of religious faiths since their last meeting. One of the men stood…. And I thought.. “They are taking note for when the killing starts.” I knew it was now only a matter of time.

OK.. so you have the idea by now that I am a crazy dreamer …. Always have been !!

Every one of the details in my dream I can connect back to conversations or comments made to me the previous day, although taken individually they made a whole lot more sense than the crazy quilt my untended mind wove them into.
I think not one of us would argue with the fact that we have a subconscious mind that keeps on working when we are asleep – even though it sometimes seems to lack intelligent discretion as to how to use the information stored in our brains that it obviously has access to.

However, I think few of us have spent much time considering that perhaps, to a greater extend than we realize, our conscious mind is influenced or controlled by our subconscious. We may think that we are consciously in control of our thoughts, our deeds, our actions, our decisions… when in reality the very converse might be true!

I watched a documentary on TV the other night that really made me think.

The documentary detailed a study done on this very subject. What they found is that not only do we have a subconscious mind but we also have two ways of seeing.
One is the obvious - our physical eyes relaying sight information to our conscious mind --- but then they learned that we have another sight path we are not even aware of.

They did an experiment that consisted of flashing a word very quickly across a blank screen. Most people could catch it. But then they used what they called a mask … a jumble of lines clumped together. When the mask appeared on the screen very quickly following the flashed word – no one saw the word... only the mask and yet when they were asked if the word that they did not see look more like ‘this’ or like ‘this’ they were all able to pick out the word that looked most like the word that had been flashed onto the screen. So even though consciously they had not ‘seen’ the word, their choice of which word they chose when given the multiple option was ruled by something they were not aware of in their conscious mind.

My mind was racing toward the spiritual implications of this study!
I love when God’s Word is confirmed by scientific studies – often done by men who do not profess any belief in a Creator God!!

Does scripture not teach us that we are not to be ruled by our ‘outer’ man but rather by our ‘inner’ man... our spiritual man within us?
“Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (I Peter 3:4)

The outer man is to die... so the inner man can live in righteousness in the image of Christ.

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth……. put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:5,10)

Consider …. If my subconscious mind takes what my conscious mind feeds it and works with it ‘behinds the scenes’ where I am not aware… then what if my spirit takes what I give it and works with it ‘behind the scenes’ where I am not aware. Then, if this is true I will be influenced in a powerful way to act and react and think... not according to my conscious physical brain but rather my ‘inner man’ or my spirit!!

Look what God’s Word says in Psalm 51:6 “Behold You desire truth in the inward parts and in the HIDDEN part You will make me to know wisdom.”

That is an incredible concept, don’t you think?

While there seems to be little wisdom in how my subconscious mind uses or abuses the information it is fed….we have a decided advantage in our spirits.
“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (I John 4:13)

If we belong to the Lord we have His Spirit in us watching over and working with our spirit… using what we give Him to work with and applying the wisdom of God to make it truly life changing.

But there is a catch, isn’t there. The Holy Spirit can only work with what we give Him. If we do not feed our spirits with the Word of God then perhaps the Holy Spirit must sit idle.
Interesting isn’t it ? that both our subconscious mind and our spirit are fed with words?

And maybe we need to think more seriously about what we do allow through our 'gates' -- our eyes , our ears -- because maybe the words , the sights are NOT gone when we turn off the TV set or close that book, or walk out of the place where we really shouldn't have been. Maybe they continue working in a hidden place to conform us to the image of what we have seen or heard.

And maybe when we spend time in God's word, or fill our spirit with worship through prayer or music .... that is NOT gone either when we turn to go do other things. How encouraging to think that God's Word in us is working in hidden places to make us wise in the things of the Lord.

As we become mature and strong in the Lord, perhaps maturity is not so much that we have controlled our conscious mind as it is that we have fed our spirit and grown strong from the inside out !!

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph.3:16)


Sara said...

Julie, you have, as always, put your thoughts down very cogently and clearly. I think about this issue a lot and I know from years of experience that it does make a big difference what we allow in...and also that this world and culture and society are constantly bombarding everyone with things that are not necessary and are quite harmful to our inner much "noise" out there. Years ago I copied down a quote from "The Best of A.W. Tozer" compiled by Warren A. Wiersbe and I still have it (I'm sorry, this is going to be a long comment)--

"Retire from the world each day to some private spot. Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God's presence envelopes you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Give yourself to God and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few. Don't try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind--short bits of unrelated facts, cute stories and bright sayings. Learn to pray inwardly every moment. Practice childlike candor, honesty, humility. Pray for a single eye. Read less, but read more of what is important to your inner life. Never let your mind remain scattered for very long. Call home your roving thoughts. Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul. Practice spiritual concentration."

Not exactly what you were saying, but it goes along with it I think. It's good to be reminded of these things because we so easily get distracted from this mind set!

Thank you.

Julie said...

Thank you , Sara!
Your thoughts followed perfectly to what I was saying!!

Lovella said...

Julie, the dreaming definately runs in our genetic line. I'm a crazy dreamer too.

You are amazing in your ability to bring all things back to the glory of God. I can sure see that you spend time immersed in things are are good and true.

Thank you for the reminder and lesson.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Julie-I've been studing the mirror image of your thoughts: How what we tell ourselves in our mind then plays out into our lives. The study is keyed on Peter walking on water, and explores both doubt and lack of faith (not the same thing, oddly.)

It has been really challenging as I as a Christian am always couching things with "if God wills..." then tend to scrunch stuff down. I'm being challenged that even such nonsense as telling fig trees to dry up, ax head float, or tossing a mountain into the sea IS acceptable and doable/answerable. Oh, that's figurative language! everyone claims, yet disclaimers seem always at the ready for any request demanding faith.
As Sara's article pointed out, the focus of prayer is paramont. Staying focused is quite challenging..the mind wants to disclaim and suggest why things will go awry rather than right.

Elsie said...

Interesting post, Julie! I chuckled at your dream because I often dream like that too, bits and pieces of thoughts from my day, gathered into one crazy story. (My husband shakes his head in wonder. His dreams usually consist of one picture, like, "There was a car.") Anyway, it is so true that what we feed into our mind is stored there, even though we don't remember it at the moment. That's one reason I'm so passionate about Bible study. Even though I don't think I remember every detail I study, there is a foundation of truth being built in my mind, which draws me closer to God and helps me to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Demara said...

Aloud I just said to Jeff, "That was scary" and "Wow that was a good one!" meaning that is so cool to hear of the scientific aspects to our minds. That we have TWO WAYS of seeing is SO neat! And I always thought this too, but didn't know it was true. I mean the Bible talks about it to me, so in the 'back of my mind' (maybe that's where this other 'eye' is.) I think I kind of knew perhaps that there was another aspects to what information we 'let' into our gates! Scary and Good to know at the same time. Thanks Julie!!!

Demara said...

oh and I love what sara quoted is SO what I need to remember! The "noise" distracts me so easily, it's sad, sad to our Father. Because I think the noise gets more of my time than my Father should. :(