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.
This week, we have looked at specifically how strongholds are formed. In the previous post, we covered another way strongholds are formed in the cortex:
The other way for strongholds to be formed in the cortex is for Unprofitable facts to be filed into the individual's brain.
The Unprofitable facts are made up of WORDS.
These strongholds are formed with inaccurate facts, multiple definitions, and lumping of concepts.
Ultimately, an individual's worldview is made up of WORDS. A contradictory worldview will have inaccurate facts, multiple definitions, and lumping of concepts. Notice, this is WHY discussion of a worldview is the MOST emotionally charged discussion you can have. When a person realizes their worldview is flawed, the associated stronghold causes the amygdala to fire and people begin acting Unprofitable.
Again, a stronghold holds resources and ammunition for the enemy inside us that the enemy can encourage us to use to destroy ourselves.
We have seen three ways that strongholds are FORMED: experience (amygdala), emotions (cortex), and facts (cortex).
Today, we will begin looking at practical examples of how strongholds work...
STRONGHOLDS: THE FLESH
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. Let's look at our flesh first...
There are numerous Biblical passages that can be examined to see HOW Spiritual Warfare actually occurs with strongholds. Today, we will look at Romans 7 as an overview.
"1 Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth?
2 For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband.
3 So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God."
Paul uses an analogy of marriage to illustrate the relationship between the individual and the Law.
We are joined to the Law as long was we are in the flesh, just like a woman is joined to a husband as long as they are physically alive.
However, just like a person is no longer married if one of the people physically dies, we are no longer joined to the Law if we are dead in the flesh.
Paul goes further to say we are the Church...the Bride of Christ. We are made to join to Him who was raised from the dead. This is a "Meaning of Life" passage!
Notice, the Profitable EFFECT is fruit unto God. The Unprofitable EFFECT is fruit unto death. Now, Paul is going to get more specific:
"5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death."
From our study of the brain's feedback loops: Paul is saying the Law was the stimulus. The sinful passions were the stronghold. The EFFECT was Unprofitable actions.
"6 But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter."
Paul is saying that we are no longer affected by the Law. The Law is no longer a stimulus. We have a different stimulus: newness of the spirit.
"7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet:
8 but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead."
Paul is saying the Law is NOT sin. (Notice, the Law is also NOT the stronghold.) The Law is NOT the Unprofitable EFFECT. The Law is a stimulus.
Paul says it is the SIN that found an occasion...found a stimulus...to lead to Unprofitable actions. Paul says "apart from the law sin is dead". Paul is saying that if the stimulus is removed, then the sin can't lead to Unprofitable actions.
SIN needs a stimulus...it can't act on its own.
Remember, a stronghold is a source of ammunition and resources for the enemy within OUR brain that when activated leads to Unprofitability. The stronghold is ONLY Unprofitable once a stimulus is supplied.
SIN and strongholds operate the same way...
"9 And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died;
10 and the commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto death:
11 for sin, finding occasion, through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me."
Paul follows up his claim that "apart from the law sin is dead" with supporting information. He was alive apart from the law, the commandment came, sin revived, and he died. Furthermore, Paul states that the commandment which was intended for life (creation) ACTUALLY led to death (destruction). WHY? Paul states "for sin, finding occasion, through the commandment beguiled me..."
Remember, the Bible gives the WHY. It usually comes after "for", "because", and sometimes "that" and "which". The WHY is that sin used the commandment to beguile Paul...to deceive Paul.
"12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good."
Paul makes sure that EVEYONE is crystal clear about this point: the commandment is NOT the cause of Unprofitability. The commandment is a stimulus that the stronghold (sin) uses to result in Unprofitability.
Are we clear? The Law is NOT sin. The Law is NOT Unprofitable.
"13 Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; --that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful."
Paul states even more clearly, the problem is NOT the commandment. It is the sin...in fact, the commandment was intended to show what is sin. The commandment OUGHT to make sin more apparent and easier to identify for the benefit of the individual who is sinning!
Whatever SIN actually is, we can see that Paul states SIN is a cause that leads to an Unprofitable effect.
"14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do."
This sounds like the beginning of Paul's Spiritual Warfare passage (II Corinthians 10)...and more specifically it sounds like the definition of a stronghold.
Recall our analogy of the squirrel jumping between trees when it comes to creating a full thought (stimulus, connecting fact, and emotion)...
When a stimulus occurs (e.g., five senses), our brain goes looking for a connecting fact and an emotion bonded to the connecting fact. This is The First Feedback Loop.
The stimulus leads the squirrel to the first tree. This first tree is the dendrite in the brain where the information is stored that is associated to the stimulus. The squirrel goes to the trunk of this first tree, runs up the trunk, goes to the appropriate branch and then finds a branch to jump to that is from a different tree. The branch of the second tree is the connecting fact. Ideally, the squirrel jumps to the branch, runs to the second trunk and proceeds down the trunk to the ground to complete the loop.
However, when we hit a stronghold, it is as if the squirrel ran into a solid cube that knocked him off the branch and directly to the ground. The squirrel didn't complete his loop. The squirrel is very upset...and confused.
It was never the squirrel's intention to fall out of the tree...but now that he has, he is going to do something he didn't intend to do out of anger...and confusion.
Likewise, Paul is stating that his intention is to complete the loop and do something Profitable. However, what ACTUALLY happens SOMETIMES is that he doesn't complete the loop and he does something Unprofitable...that he didn't intend to do.
Think about this analogy as you read the rest of Paul's explanation for how the cause of his Unprofitability is NOT HIM...it is SIN IN HIM. The cause is the solid cube...not the tree or the squirrel.
"16 But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not.
19 For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise.
20 But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me."
Paul clearly states the problem is SIN in his flesh. So, now he has equated the stronghold...the solid cube...with his flesh. The flesh is what caused him to be Unprofitable!
"21 I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members."
This sounds like Spiritual Warfare. Look closely at the language. The law of his mind is warring against the flesh! Paul's mind IS HIM. Paul's brain is the battlefield.
Paul's mind and the law of God are on one side. Paul's flesh is warring against the "good guys" and bringing him into captivity. This is Spiritual Warfare!
"24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
Paul's conclusion is that "through Jesus Christ our Lord" he is able to be delivered out of the body of this death. He is able to overcome this Unprofitable attack. We will look at this solution more closely tomorrow.
Paul's concludes that with his MIND he will serve God...but his flesh is going to serve SIN. CLEARLY, the mind is NOT the battlefield...the brain is the battlefield.
HOW does the flesh actually participate in Spiritual Warfare?
The flesh uses a stimulus...any stimulus...to activate SIN.
The problem is SIN. The key to understanding how the flesh is able to war against us requires us to understand SIN.
What is SIN?
Tomorrow, we will focus completely on answering this question...