Summary: Part 2 of series Every Thought Captive. Dave looks at the lie that spiritual experience is just a head-job and teaches that this idea springs from 1) the elusive nature of spiritual things and 2) a personal agent of evil.
“This Is All In My Head”
Every Thought Captive, part 2
Wildwind Community Church
January 28, 2007
Last week I established with you the great importance of the mind as we pursue God together. The mind is the seat of everything that is most important about you. Your thinking is more important, even, than your feelings, since it’s not what happens to you but how you think about what happens to you that determines how you feel about it. Thinking leads to feeling leads to behaving. Behaving leads to either positive or negative effects, and whether the effects are positive or negative will have to do with what? Whether the thinking that ultimately gave rise to behaving was positive or negative thinking.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 12 that we are not to conform to the patterns of this world, but rather we are to be transformed. And he said that we are transformed how? By the renewing of our minds! The mind is the seat of life in God. The mind is also the seat of life outside of God. The difference is in how a mind is trained, what it learns to think on, what it comes to understand as reality.
Correct, or proper, thinking depends on our ability to understand truth. If you erroneously believe someone has stolen something precious to you, you will treat that person accordingly – with coldness, perhaps even with hatred. You have wrong emotions toward this person, and act wrongly toward him why? Because your beliefs about him are not based on truth but on falsehood. He in fact did not steal from you. Notice it is not truth that determines how you feel about him, but your perception that is based in falsehood. In other words, perception is reality. The point being that you can be surrounded with truth, truth can look you in the eye, and you can miss it – you can live in falsehood.
John 8:31-32 (NIV)
31 …If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
What sets us free? What in this passage does Jesus say sets us free? Not simply the truth, but KNOWLEDGE of the truth. Truth will not free you if you do not know it.
There. In just a few minutes we have set up today’s message. Jesus called us to live in freedom. Freedom depends not on truth simply existing somewhere, but on us knowing what it is. Truth is the freedom-bringer. If that’s true, what are lies? Lies are freedom-destroyers. Show me a person living in emotional, intellectual, and/or spiritual bondage, and I’ll show you a person who believes lies.
In twelve years of ministry I have born witness to a tragic fact. Many Christians – many people who say they serve the Lord of freedom – live in continual bondage. Though they were called into freedom, they do not live in it. Instead they live in chains. Chains of guilt. Chains of regret. Chains of perfectionism. Chains of fear. Chains of addiction. Chains of insecurity. Where do chains come from? Lies. Always? Always.
There are several particular lies Christians live with all the time and I want to address and hopefully dismantle those things in the coming weeks. You need to know the truth, so the truth can make you free. The lie I want to address with you today is the lie that spiritual experience is all in your head, that it’s just a big head-trip that you’re imagining. Let me give you a scenario of how this often looks.
Often you’ll have a person who has been on a journey toward God for some time. And they reach a point where it seems clear that they must surrender their life completely to God, repent of their sins, and follow another direction under the management of the Holy Spirit. They do so, whether that would mean going forward at some kind of altar call in a church, filling out a card at the end of a service, talking and praying with a friend to receive Christ, or whatever. Somehow the decision is made to become a Christ-follower.
It goes pretty well for a while. They often report a feeling of lightness, of joy, of a burden having been taken off their back. They look forward to their new life and rarely think about the old life they have left behind.
But something changes. Suddenly the weekend is over and they’re back to school, back to work, back to normal life whatever that is for them. By the end of the first week, or perhaps the second, they are having all kinds of doubts about what they experienced. They’re thinking, “Maybe I was just emotional because I was at camp, at church, whatever.” “Maybe I was fooling myself that God would be a way out of my problems.” “Maybe I only did this because others were doing it and I felt pressured.”