Summary: There is a battle today for your MIND. There are tens-of-thousands if not millions of things that influence everything about you. They can be so powerful that the control they have is like hypnosis.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (The Message)
Text: 5We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
2Don‘t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. (Romans 12:2, The Message)
Today’s subject is a focus on the MIND. There is a battle today for your MIND. Every action and decision made is the result of a seed planted in the mind. There are tens-of-thousands if not millions of things that influence everything about you. They can be so powerful that the control they have is like hypnosis which is known as “the power of suggestion”. Sometimes these influences badly affect our ability to think rationally and act properly in given situations. Social suggestion is the ability of an outside source, product or person, to convince us of something that may not be entirely objective or even true. Dr. Charles Henderson provides a case in point. He tells of a woman who “had suffered from acute bouts of depression for 30 years when she saw a newspaper ad looking for subjects for an antidepressant study to be conducted by the Neuropsychiatric Institute of UCLA. She applied to be a participant and was accepted into the research program.
She went to the institute at the appointed time where she was prepared for participation with interviews and a 45 minute session on an electro-en-ceph-a-lo-graph [i-lek-troh-en-sef-uh-luh-graf] to record her brain activity. When she left she had a bottle of pills she was to take. She was excited and couldn’t wait to get started taking them.
The woman, who was at that time a 46-year-old interior designer, got dramatically better within a couple of weeks. Her bouts of depression had disappeared and she no longer felt worthless (she had at one time seriously considered suicide). She was functioning at a higher level, and feeling better, than she had in years. For two months she went to the institute weekly for interviews, tests, and EEGs to record her progress. At the end of the study she was a different person. She attributed her nearly miraculous recovery to the new antidepressant drug which was the subject of the study. It was venlafaxine, better known as Effexor.
But on her final visit she received a stunning shock: She was told that she had not been taking medicine at all, but a placebo… She had been taking nothing but sugar pills.” The pills could not be the result of her amazing improvement because sugar pills do not have any pharmacological drug ingredient or chemical compounds.
This story is one example that shows us
1. THE POWER & INFLUENCE OF SUGGESTION
By taking sugar pills, this woman thought she was taking a new drug and she became convinced that it was the answer to her depression and that she was actually getting better. If her powers of reason were altered by a perceived reality, t is not hard to believe that “the power of suggestion” can offer the same antidotes and hypnotic powers to every aspect of our lives. This is a very scary idea when we consider how it can control our spiritual lives – our relationship and thoughts of God; our beliefs about heaven and hell; or that there are many ways to God and one is no more true than another. The power of suggestion can have us believe that there’s nothing wrong with a ‘soft’ lie, sex before marriage, living with someone in a common-law relationship or homosexuality. We can justify just about any action or reaction to anything that is conjured up in our minds or situations we face. In other words we can become spiritual hypnotized by social suggestion – it’s not wrong; it’s okay; everybody’s doing it. God loves you and he’ll understand and forgive you.
Spiritual hypnosis comes in many forms:
A. Hypnotized with doubts/anxiety
Psalm 94:19 - When doubts filled my mind
The doubts of this verse concern a multitude of realities as offered by John Gill. There are thoughts of the majesty of God and how we relate to him. It is offered that we sense security yet an uncertainty at the same time. We believe we have hope but are consumed with hopelessness; saved but lost; sure but doubtful at the same time. It is a struggling desire to be all God created us to be, realising we can never attain to that image; waiting for heaven but never sure it will come.
These thoughts and struggles are the result of being spiritual hypnotized by the power of social suggestion. A child who’s been told by an abusive parent “you’re no good” or “you’re too stupid to excel” translates those powerful messages of suggestion into their minds so that they believe God thinks the same things about them. Just as they struggled through adolescence trying to prove themselves or craving to be loved, truly, purely loved, so now they struggle and their minds are filled with doubts that they believe in hope against all hope. They try to accept that God loves them while at the same time cannot forget the suggestions of the past that they are “no good”. The potential for spiritual freedom is hypnotized by the other conflicting message.