From the time you were in your mother’s womb right up until today there are certain things that have a profound influence on you. Events and experiences, positive and negative that influence how you feel, how you think, your beliefs, perspectives, identity and frames of mind.
These influences can be biological, emotional, psychological and spiritual. This includes your hormones and neurotransmitters, your thoughts, your behaviour, your experiences, your childhood environment, parents, caretakers, siblings, school, culture, friends, education etc. Your brain and nervous system absorb these experiences through your senses and you start building your “internal reality” or map. You build an internal representative map of what you experience. You create meaning from experiences. You associate thoughts and feelings to these experiences, and then you link these thoughts and feelings to states of mind. Meaning exists as our construction and our interpretation. It arises as our model of the world and as such governs our experiences and emotions. Think of this as the software for your operating system (brain and nervous system).
Your frames control and direct the way you think and act. How you react and respond to the world. It functions unconsciously, yet drives your behaviour determining subsequent results in your life. So how your life evolves, the level of success and prosperity you achieve and whether you attain your destiny largely will be determined by your frames of mind.
If things go wrong
As you proceed through life you can listen to two narrators. You can listen to God and His Word for you or you can listen to the enemy and his lies. Both of these narrators can be heard through many channels. Examples are our thoughts, dreams, what we read and listen to; the media, magazines, newspapers, books, music, teachings, friends, parents, teachers etc. Ultimately your beliefs and identity will develop based on the voice you consistently listen to, prioritize and believe. So various words land in your head/mind like seeds in a garden. The seeds that will grow into plants and flourish are the ones that you nurture and give attention to. Those thoughts you repeat to yourself over time. Your self-talk; what you meditate on. Unfortunately, due to the fact that we are born into sin, into a fallen world and are sons and daughters of Adam, we tend to the thoughts/seeds that serve our selfish interests. The ones that elevate us. Not the ones that elevate God and others. For most of us, who don’t consume the Word of God on a daily basis from childhood, this leaves the gardens of your mind open to be covered by seeds of the enemy.
You become a product of what happened to you, what others say about you, how you responded and how that made you feel, instead of whom He created you to be. So “life” molds you rather than the “truth”. That is why you need to be born again and become a new creation.
Our default setting is how God created us to be. He made us according to His image and likeness. But from the moment we are brought into this world, we are being bombarded by the enemy’s voice and his lies about us. Unfortunately because we don’t treat God’s Word (the Bible) like our daily bread and fill ourselves with it daily from a young age, we start believing the enemy. The enemy plants thoughts in your head and they take root. You allow these roots to grow out of control in the garden of your heart. It doesn’t take long for the invader plants and weeds to suffocate God’s Word and His promises for us. The devil wants to keep you from your destiny. He never wants you to become who God created you to be.
You are not responsible for the seeds that fall in your garden, you are however responsible for the ones you cultivate.
Often we over-identify with thoughts and emotions and we find or build our identities in them. If you have not made a conscious effort in your life to weed out the devil’s lies by replacing them with God’s words and promises by seeking Him and daily meditating on His Word, you have probably built up a false identity on someone that you were not created to be. But someone who is a product of the devil’s lies and a fallen, broken, destructive and violent world.
Wrong mindsets can block you from loving yourself, receiving the love of the Father and from loving others. If God can change the way you see, He can change the way you be. Sometimes we don’t need prayer. What we need is the truth.
We need to think like God thinks if we want to reach our destiny and be conformed to the image and likeness of Christ. We do this by daily submitting to the Holy Spirit and the renewal of our minds.
This is how it works on a psychological level. Life happens and we create internal, representational, mental maps. We use these maps to navigate through life. This is how we create the maps:
- We have an experience
- Then out of the context of that experience, we build basic internal maps about what it “is”, what it means and what it says about us, our identity, future and about others.
- Then as we keep repeating and habituating our ideas and understandings, it becomes our frame of reference.
Recurring thoughts habituate and become states, states habituate and form beliefs and frames of mind. Frames (of mind) and beliefs become our conceptual reality that governs our conduct. It becomes our perceptual filter for understanding and making sense of experiences. We also use it to attribute meaning to other experiences.
Frames perpetuate themselves. Once a frame sets in, it will govern your thinking, perceiving, valuing, emoting, responding, speaking, acting, behaving, relating etc.
Frames govern subsequent experience by keeping out anything that doesn’t fit in it’s paradigm. If something falls outside of our frames, we will delete, distort or generalize that information to fit in with our worldview. Frames become our referencing system and control our perceptions. Frames therefore function as reality structures even though most of us are not consciously aware of them.
Can you see the danger in having a “wrong” frame and what impact it can have on your life? And how the devil can prevent you from fulfilling your identity and destiny.
There are many wrong mindsets (frames) that we can have in place that took years to build up. These mindsets can be influenced by fear or pride. These mindsets move us away from God. The Word says “They will look but not see, hear but not listen” I believe that these are wrong mindsets that will prevent some from hearing God’s voice and know the truth.
The correct mindset
God intended for us to have a Hebrew mindset. The operating principle behind this mindset is faith and trust in God. Here we have to accept things from time to time without understanding it. On the other hand there is the Greek mindset, which most of us operate from. This perspective opposes the Hebraic mindset. It over-emphasizes education, knowledge, reason and logic. It makes you your own God, well able to reach your destiny on your own intellect and ability. The operating principle behind this mindset is pride. The Hebrew mindset, which God intended for you, believes God has chosen you and is watching over you. We have to love, worship and obey God, even if we don’t always understand. To gain this mindset you need to transform your mind by meditating on His Word (seeing how it applies to your life and circumstances) and by taking your thoughts captive. This is how your mind becomes transformed by the truth of God and how you are conformed to the image and likeness of Christ. This is your factory default setting, your true identity.
Faith is simply saying what God says about you and seeing what God sees in your situation. Faith is based solely on God’s Word and accepts the testimony of your senses only when this agrees with God’s Word. Don’t bend God’s Word to suit your circumstances. Bend the circumstances to suit the truth. Your thoughts and feelings do not define truth. God’s Word defines truth. Your thoughts and feelings are echoes and responses of what your mind perceives. And sometimes, many times your feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens, and it happens every day, try not to bend the truth to justify your imperfect feelings, but rather ask God: Lord, purify my perceptions, conform my mind and transform me so that I am in sync with the truth.
It takes a thought to replace a thought. Fill your mind with fresh, powerful and redeeming thoughts. It takes a right belief to replace a wrong belief. You need God’s truth to replace the enemy’s lies that kept you in bondage. Replace any destructive or selfish thoughts with thoughts that are from God. Meditate on His truths.
To test the character of your thoughts or feelings, just inquire if this is leading me towards God or away from Him.
Is it contrary to God’s word?
Does this bring light or darkness?
Does this please God or me?
Is this occupied with God’s interest or my interest?
Is this seeking God’s glory or my glory?
Is this God serving or self-serving?
Is this growing my dependence on God or on myself?
Does this lead me to admiring God or myself?
Does this elevate God or me?
Is this promoting what God wants or what I want?
Is this putting God on the throne or me on the throne?
You can also inquire what is the motive behind this thought or feeling. What is motivating it? What is it trying to achieve? Is it motivated out of God’s love or out of self love, rebellion, pride etc. By putting your innermost feelings on the operating table, the Holy Spirit will shine His light and illuminate the darkest corners. By putting these intimate, cherished and treasured feelings on the altar, God’s fire will purify your heart. God sees all; you may just as well be transparent and get on with it.
Let God reset you to your factory default setting, your true identity.
Let Him give you a new map, purpose and destiny.
Be who God created you to be.
You can only find this in Him.
Let Him show you He is God in your life and in your circumstances.
You may not understand everything, but just know and believe He is in control.