Summary: The MATRIX is not just a movie it’s a tool! Long before MATRIX the movie, there was matrix the tool, a sort of a shovel-hoe-in-one. A matrix is also a mathematical design, a system of columns and rows that relate to each other. It doesn’t matter which
The Mental Matrix
A Message On Dealing With Our Mind
Pastor Paul Newell
June 22, 2003
The MATRIX is not just a movie it’s a tool! Long before MATRIX the movie, there was matrix the tool, a sort of a shovel-hoe-in-one. A matrix is also a mathematical design, a system of columns and rows that relate to each other. It doesn’t matter which of these definitions we decide to use – they all fit the “mental matrix” I want to talk to you about this morning.
Matrix, the movie, revolves around a plot where man is fighting machines. Humans are using their brain power to overcome the mechanical intelligence of computers. I guess we’ll all have to wait until October to find out who wins in the movie.
The allegory though is a good one, as a matter of fact there seems to be a whole “philosophy” building around Matrix the movie, somewhat like Star Wars I guess. In reality we are all called to use our mental abilities, our thoughts, to fight the outside influences that are “warring” against us.
Matrix, the garden tool is used to break through really hard dirt. I wore plenty of blisters on my hands with one of those things! Sometimes it takes a special tool to break through the really hard stuff. In the same way we sometimes need a powerful tool to break through our stubborn thoughts.
Matrix, the mathematical design, also works with our sermon this morning. The Bible gives us principles that when put into practice always bring about God’s design and purpose for our lives. They never fail.
This morning I want to share a simple “mental matrix” with you that will revolutionize your life.
It works when you are battling outside influences.
It works when you are attempting to “break out” of a stubborn habit or "break through" an especially hard problem.
It will give you the ability to see God’s design in everything that is happening in your life.
I found this “matrix” in two different passages in the New Testament. We’ll look at both briefly and then draw it all together in a very practical way.
But before we begin, I want you to do something.
Ask yourself this question: “Where am I stuck?”
If that question doesn’t work for you, ask yourself this question:
“What problem, what worry, what concern can’t I get out of my mind?”
Now write it down. Make sure you right something down. It needs to be something going on inside of you. Don’t list someone else or someone else’s problem. This is about YOU!
Now that you have written it down, read with me 1 Peter 1:13-15
"So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ. Obey God because you are his children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy."
That’s the mental matrix.
Look at what you just wrote down.
Do you want to think clearly and exercise self-control through that problem? Peter gives three steps:
I. THINK AHEAD:
Peter tells us to “look forward to the blessings”.
Why? Because God wants us to understand that we are not just living for today – we are living for eternity. This life is just the proving grounds for what’s next. God created us to live forever. When we begin a relationship with Jesus He gives us eternal life.
When Peter tells us to look forward to the blessings he’s telling us this life is not all there is. That’s good news, because this life is not always great. Sometimes the struggles seem overwhelming. People let us down. We let ourselves down. But God has promised us an incredible eternity with him.
How does that help me think clearly and self-controlled? With every problem, every challenge, every worry I can view it in light of eternity. When I get ready to decide what my priorities are – all I have to ask is “what difference will this make in 100 years, 1000 years, in eternity?" That kind of forward perspective clears up a lot of cloudy thinking.
You know, most of us live in the past, neglect the present, and worry about the future. God wants us to learn from the past, invest our present and live for the future. What we do now effects what happens next! So think ahead.
II. Then PRACTICE YOUR PLACE.
Another way to say that is, listen to your Father.
Peter goes on to say “Obey God because you are his children”.
The second piece of the matrix is to begin to simply obey God and obeying Him is easier when you are living for the future.