This month, we are covering a seemingly simple concept that has powerful, revelatory, and wide ranging applications: Right-Right vs Right-Wrong...Right WHAT-Right HOW/WHY vs. Right WHAT-Wrong (or NO) HOW/WHY.
The overview for the rest of this Series is that God wants our brain to have Profitable Thought Processes. The enemy and our flesh wants our brain to have Unprofitable Thought Processes.
Throughout this Series we have seen the brain is the battlefield on which God and our mind participate in Spiritual Warfare against the enemy and our flesh. So, there are two participants attempting to access our strongholds: the enemy and our flesh.
The previous post began a three part mini-series on HOW the enemy participates in Spiritual Warfare:
The HOW of God's Spiritual Warfare Overview
1. The goal is to bring about God's Will
2. God supplies the power through the Holy Spirit with an influence upon our heart
3. We (Mind) choose to speak WORDS that are truth
4. These WORDS are spoken according to our understanding and experience...our imagination and memory.
We covered HOW #2: The Heart...and summarized the post with:
The heart is the gateway to the battlefield of Spiritual Warfare.
EVERYONE has access to the heart of the individual...
Today, we will look at HOW #3: The Mind.
STRONGHOLDS: THE ENEMY (Mind)
The HOW #3 for God's Spiritual Warfare Overview is:
3. We (Mind) choose to speak WORDS that are truth
The HOW #3 for the flesh and enemy's Spiritual Warfare Overview is:
3. The influence from the enemy is meant to encounter strongholds (sin) in our brain
We saw from the post titled, "The Seventh Stimulus" that when God puts an influence upon the heart, it is a fully formed complex causeless thought.
"Fully formed complex" means it is a thought that has gone through more than one cycle of The First Feedback Loop. It isn't just a stimulus, connecting fact, and emotion. It is made up of several connecting facts. It is a thought that would have taken several cycles of The First Feedback Loop for us to come up with...
"Causeless thought" means the fully formed complex thought doesn't have an associated stimulus. When we become aware of the influence from God, we can't trace what the stimulus was that began The First Feedback Loop. Actually, since the fully formed complex thought would have required several cycles of The First Feedback Loop, we would also realize that we don't have any memory of ANY of the cycles in The First Feedback Loop. In fact, we were thinking about a completely different topic when this fully formed complex thought landed upon our heart and got sent to the brain as a stimulus.
So, when we now examine where this thought came from and we realize we have no causality trail in our brain, we begin to take the fully formed complex thought apart. When we do this, we find the thought teaches us. The thought contains information that we don't have filed away in our cortex.
Notice, physiologically, the thought couldn't come from our brain because if we came up with the thought it would have to come from The First Feedback Loop and we have no memory of this happening. Also, if one were to say it came from the unaware brain, the amygdala, the amygdala sees patterns and translates them into action. The amygdala doesn't build complex thoughts that teach us.
However, if you were going to stick to physiology, you could point out there is "another brain" in the body. Recently, research has found that the heart is a "mini-brain". It makes complex decisions. Since this is a Friday post, here are a couple more links to look into during the weekend:
The Intellect of the Heart
This post shows how the heart is a mini-brain.
Hearts and Minds
This post looks at Bible verses showing that the heart and the mind are treated as two completely separate "belief centers".
Keep Your Heart
This post talks about how we ought to manage our heart: how we ought to sow into our heart and how we ought to deal with tares being sown in the heart.
So, even physiologically, we can see that it is more likely for a fully formed complex thought apart from the cortex to come from the heart rather than the amygdala.
So, the fully formed complex thought is placed upon the heart by God through the Holy Spirit (grace) and then it goes to the brain where it will be received as a causeless thought that teaches.
Notice, this means that Spiritual Warfare is ALWAYS initiated by the Holy Spirit.
Look again at the Bible passages we have covered concerning Spiritual Warfare...when Spiritual Warfare worked it was when people were "full of the Holy Spirit" or directed by the Holy Spirit. When Spiritual Warfare didn't work...like the sons of Sceva...it was done from the person's strength. In fact, let's take a brief look at the most famous example of Spiritual Warfare...
"14 Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
In the post titled, "Overcoming Temptation", we looked in depth at the above passage and Jesus being tempted in the desert. We saw that there is NO Greek word for the word "points" in this passage. The word is NOT "things". We found that Jesus was tempted in the areas that could have caused Him to fall, just like we are tempted in the areas that could cause us to fall. This gets back to sin being that which is done apart from faith FOR THE INDIVIDUAL.
The devil is a spiritual being. The devil can see our "points" in the spiritual realm that we can be tempted. The devil doesn't tempt us with things that couldn't work on us individually. The devil won't tempt you to play too much golf if that couldn't cause you to fall. Also, Jesus wasn't tempted in EVERYTHING that we were tempted because there are things that weren't around when Jesus walked the earth...for instance, Jesus wasn't tempted to play too many video games.
The passage in Hebrews says Jesus was tempted in all "points" like as we are, yet without sin. This means that the temptations didn't lead to Jesus sinning...like it does with us. Let's look briefly at Jesus' temptation...
"1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led in the Spirit in the wilderness
2 during forty days, being tempted of the devil. And he did eat nothing in those days: and when they were completed, he hungered."
Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit was led by the Holy Spirit INTO Spiritual Warfare with the devil.
Also, remember that John 8 says Jesus said He didn't do anything of Himself. All the Spiritual Warfare Jesus did was initiated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was led of the Holy Spirit.
"26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you: howbeit he that sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these speak I unto the world.
27 They perceived not that he spake to them of the Father.
28 Jesus therefore said, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things."
Notice, this passage deals SPECIFICALLY with what things Jesus came TO SPEAK (HOW #3)...with WORDS. Jesus says the CAUSE of what He speaks is what God teaches and tells Him. Jesus did the HOW of Spiritual Warfare PERFECTLY. EVERYTHING He did during Spiritual Warfare was initiated by the Holy Spirit and focused on bringing about God's Will.
Remember, also that this influence upon the heart by God through the Holy Spirit is grace. We saw in the Salvation Series that Grace is going to be uncomfortable. It is going to tell us to give...to love. It is going to do it with specific WORDS. These WORDS are truth...they will create.
Remember, Jesus said the Holy Spirit will lead us into ALL truth and will show us what will come. Truth is a Right WHAT stated with a Right HOW/WHY. This fully formed complex thought through grace will have a HOW or WHY that we are able to prove to be true according to our experience or understanding of God. Let's look at some examples...
Medicine - In the grace post, we used the analogy of taking medicine. The medicine is like the divine influence and our choice (responsibility) is whether we take the medicine or not. When we get healed, we don't say that we healed ourselves. We know the medicine healed us (grace), however, we are responsible for whether we take the medicine or not. God provides EVERYONE the medicine (grace) and the individual is responsible for their own healing (Salvation) whether they apply the medicine (grace) to their life or not.
In this post, we are saying grace is the fully formed complex causeless thought that teaches us. So, notice the medicine is a fully formed complex pill. We didn't make the pill, so to us it is causeless. Asking questions about the pill would teach us. We are NOT adding anything to this from ourselves.
Here is how this example would look if it was from the enemy: We would get an ingredient (powder, bark, even a pill). Then we would be told we would have to do something to it or add something to it. We would have to grind up the bark, dissolve the powder in boiling water, look up what other medication to take with the pill, etc. In this case, there is an opportunity to do something that would make the medicine ineffective, or worse, deadly. We were only given a portion of the answer and we had to add to it in order to attempt to make it effective.
The Matrix - One of my favorite ways to explain grace is to reference the scene in The Matix where Morpheus mails Neo a phone. Here is a link to the scene: Neo being led by Morpheus.
In this example, Morpheus is the Holy Spirit. Neo takes complete direction from Morpheus. Morpheus leads Neo into all truth and shows what will come. Morpheus constantly gives a HOW/WHY for every WHAT that he states. Everything that Morpheus says is uncomfortable to Neo. Neo doesn't have to add anything of himself to each direction. The directions are teaching him. Eventually, the final decision is Neo's to make...it is his responsibility. When he loses the phone, he loses his faith...and then he makes a Statement of unbelief ("I can't do this")...and the actions follow just as Morpheus stated.
If the same scene was done along the enemy's objective, the influence would be cryptic. For instance, instead of: "There's an office in the corner, when I tell you, go to it." The influence would say: "If you think there is a way out, you had better find it quick."
That influence could cause the individual to doubt that there is a way out and quit. If the indivdiual didn't quit, they'd need to first figure out if they think there is a way out. Then they would have to decide how much time they think they have. Then they would have to, etc.
The point is: the individual is doing all the work from their own strength. The influence got them started by creating a work. With God, the individual needs to decide whether allow the influence to reflect in their life...it is a yes or no answer. It does NOT require the individual to do anything in their own strength, and consequently, they can't take credit for it. If Neo had made it out of that building, could he have taken credit for doing it in his own strength? (No.)
Notice, most stories/novels are written like the devil is leading the individual. We get a portion of the answer and we need to keep reading to get all the answer. This story is focused on the WHAT.
One thing that makes the Bible different from every other book is it gives the WHAT up front. Grace gives the entire WHAT up front. Joseph knows his brothers and dad will bow down to him. We know Jesus is going to be crucified. The Bible is NOT written focused on a WHAT. The Bible is written focused on the HOW/WHY. That is WHY you can read the same story over and over, knowing the end result (WHAT), yet still learn something new...BECAUSE God is focused on the HOW/WHY, NOT the WHAT!
Parable of Trees - The entire Brain Series was presented in terms of "trees". In fact, this brings up a point I want to emphasize from that series: Parables Are Models!
A model is an explanation for observed effects. A good model can teach you more as you apply it to other areas. Jesus spoke in parables. A good parable can teach you more as you apply it to other areas. An analogy or diagram is also a model. Not only are models NOT bad, God wants us to MODEL! God is constantly telling us models throughout His Word so that we can understand MORE and intentionally get the effects God desires us to get!
I recently had a pastor tell me his plan for a project by stating it in four consecutive steps. When I referred to his plan as a model, he lost his mind. He begged me NOT to call it a model! People who want to be unintentional and NOT bear the responsibility for their actions try to avoid ANYTHING that looks intentional...and that includes models, parables, analogies, diagrams, etc. It is hypocritical for a person to say they are unintentional, yet get mad when other people are unintentional towards them! I have written this before:
EVERYONE had a model for EVERYTHING.
The difference is whether the individual is aware of their models. Stating that you don't have models is really an admission that you are unaware of the reason WHY you do what you do. It may even be an attempt to damage your own brain...
At the end of the brain Series we looked at a TREE as a model of our spiritual selves. We know all the factors affecting the growth of a tree. However, we then looked at how each factor related to ourselves in a spiritual manner. We began with The Soil.
We found there was a reason Jesus used trees in His parables as it relates to us...each aspect of the tree ended up teaching us a spiritual truth about ourselves.
However, the enemy comes up with bad analogies. One of my pet peeves is people who use bad analogies. I've written how Rob Bell used a trampoline as an analogy for the Christian's experience with God. Again, it is a partial thought that only applies to one narrow aspect and causes damage when expanded to other areas. For instance, half the time a person uses a trampoline they are coming down and in the end they are in the same place they started. People who present bad analogies are proving they are trying to do things in their own strength...according to their flesh.
God's influence teaches us. It creates and we learn from it. The enemy's influence requires us to create. Let's look at what happens when the enemy puts an influence upon the heart...
When the enemy puts an influence upon the heart, it is a thought that APPEARS complex because it is built on deception.
Remember from the post titled, "Deception" that deception is a Right WHAT presented with a Wrong (OR NO) HOW/WHY. If we choose to examine the thought, we will realize there is NO HOW/WHY or the HOW/WHY does NOT prove true (create) according to our experience and understanding of God. This causes us to supply a HOW/WHY...usually incorrectly.
(Also, if the influence is not causeless, it is most likely from the enemy or our flesh. If we can trace the creation of the influence, then it needs to be checked twice as much.)
Again, the enemy's influence can be causeless, but it won't teach...it will cause YOU to build on the fragment...you will be adding your connecting facts from your cortex. Grace causes you to learn FROM the influence, NOT have to add to the influence. Let's take a moment to look more deeply at how the brain works so that we can understand HOW the enemy wants his influence to hinder God's Will...
Our brains are built to apply causality and detect contradictions. These are two of the God-given principles. However, our brains are also designed to be comparative and comfortable...the opposite of the other two God-given principles.
When we get a stimulus, our brain immediately looks for a connecting fact...for something that is SIMILAR to the stimulus. With each feedback loop, the brain is building a full thought that is based on similarity...on comparative facts. The brain does NOT want to look for contradictory facts...the brain is NOT contrastive. The Mind makes the choice to be contrastive.
Our brain being built on comfort means we will choose the easiest and quickest route during the feedback loop. We will choose the loop that makes us feel best and has been traveled the most. Remembering back to our squirrel in a tree analogy...the squirrel comes to a tree that represents the stimulus. For example, somebody just shoved us.
In our brain, there is a "shove tree". There is a tree that represents all the thoughts we have in conjunction with shoving. The squirrel runs to the trunk of that tree and now has to pick a branch. There may be a few branches. There may be many branches.
(Notice, when people play games where they have to come up with a list in a short amount of time, they are showing how many branches they have. For instance, if I asked you to name as many things as you could in 30 seconds that are "red", you would be showing if your "red tree" has a lot of branches or few branches.)
If the squirrel is rushed he is going to go to the first branch which is usually the biggest and most traveled...and most likely we will shove the other person back in response to this most popular connecting fact. When someone always chooses the biggest and most traveled branch, the person will appear to be in a rut or close-minded. For example, this is what we see when we mention New York City and a relative ALWAYS has to tell the same story about Empire State Building. In order to exercise your brain, you ought to try to think of something different...you ought to take a less traveled path...you ought to be contrastive.
We also see this when someone ALWAYS thinks of the most negative response to every stimulus...or the most positive response to every stimulus. Telling the positive person to be realistic or the negative person not to be such a downer, is an attempt to get them to be contrastive and have their squirrel intentionally pick a different branch.
The enemy can tell your strongholds because they are spiritual. The devil can tell which branches your squirrel likes to travel. The devil also knows which circumstances and influences can lead your squirrel to a branch where they will hit the solid invisible cube (stronghold), fall out of the tree, and get upset and act in confusion.
So, the principles that would solve this technique of the enemy are:
Choose to intentionally think the opposite of what your comparative brain is attempting to create.
Choose to be uncomfortable and grow in the Long Term.
Actively seek the opinions of other people you trust. Use the understanding and experience that others have of God to test if the influence you are following is from God.
Now we can look briefly at HOW the devil participated in Spiritual Warfare with Jesus. We saw in the post "Overcoming Temptation", the devil used three IF/THEN Statements.
"3 And the devil said unto him, if thou art the Son of God, command this stone that it become bread."
"6 And the devil said unto him, To thee will I give all this authority, and the glory of them: for it hath been delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship before me, it shall all be thine."
"9 And he led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, to guard thee:
11 and, On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone."
The devil made a conditional Statement that would require the individual to supply the rest of the information. (Notice, the devil even quoted the scriptures with the third IF/THEN!) Remember, the Serpent did this to Adam and Eve.
The devil is NOT going to state a HOW/WHY. The devil is going to let you come up with the HOW/WHY. This HOW/WHY is going to be according to YOUR uniqueness.
The devil's goal is for the individual to look for comparative facts associated with the THEN. In fact, the ideal situation for the devil would be for the individual to find comparative facts that have positive emotions associated with them. For instance, the devil wanted Jesus to think about what it would be like to be in authority over everything. Then the devil is hoping the individual continues to create from the individual's uniqueness something that the individual wants. Eve created from the thought she would be like God.
The devil knows your strongholds.
The devil attempts to plant an influence on your heart that YOU build a HOW/WHY on top of with your comparative brain. The devil wants you to create something in your uniqueness that will cause YOU to want something so much that you then imagine it is God that wants you to have it...because it feels so right. The devil wants the loops that you go through to encounter a stronghold which will ensure that you will justify yourself instead of God or cause you to get angry and confused enough to do something destructive.
Jesus' response to each of the devil's influences was to be contrastive. Jesus quoted truth. He quoted the Bible according to His understanding and experience in a manner that it created in the Long Term.
Eve's response was to be comparative. She stated three facts that seemed to create in the short-term, but ended up in destruction in the Long Term.
God's influence upon our heart is a fully formed complex causeless thought that teaches us. It requires NO effort from us. All we can do is agree and let it reflect in our life OR disagree and prevent it from reflecting in our life.
The enemy's influence upon the heart of the individual is a deceptive thought that APPEARS complex. The individual adds the HOW/WHY to the thought and may encounter a stronghold. Once the influence is planted the enemy leaves because we are the ones who do all the work.
When this influence from the enemy is successful, the result of this is that our faith runs down...
While ALL influences OUGHT to be checked according to understanding and experience (faith), there is a greater objective concerning these two areas...
We will look at these areas on Monday with HOW #4.