Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Believing in the Power of Belief

      At some point in every Olympic competitor's training, the athlete's belief level becomes more important than talent itself. Competing in the event is only a byproduct of the day-in and day-out discipline of practice. Running a race, for example, requires running consistently and strategically in practice sessions to achieve fitness of mind, body, and spirit to prepare for the event.

       Some athletes like American gymnast Gabby Douglas recognize the importance of a supernatural element as well. In a Tweet this week after her gold metal victory Gabby quoted Matthew 6:33 which says, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."  In other words, if we believe in God's ways and seek to honor Him with all our heart, our needs will be supplied and we will be fit to handle anything life tosses our way.  Gabby says, "I believe in God. He is the source of my success.  He gives people talent." Not only is this a great posture to hold for winning Olympic gold, but it wins "gold" in life circumstances as well.

        Sometimes it becomes necessary to ask ourselves tough questions about our belief level. We say we believe in God and that he is the source of our talent and success, but do we really "run the race" (of life) with the confidence of His supernatural ability leading the way?

       Our mind is a powerful tool. There are two functional parts of the mind--conscious and subconscious. In a book called The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Dr. Joseph Murphy explains how the subconscious mind influences everything people do. Bringing the subconscious mind under control, and changing one's life to go in a positive direction, is simply a matter of changing one's beliefs.  Murphy writes, 

      "A wonderful way to begin getting to know the two functions of your mind is to think of it as a garden. You are the gardener. You are planting seeds of thought in your subconscious mind all day long. Much of the time you are not even aware of doing so, because the seeds are based on your habitual thinking. As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.

Imagine your subconscious mind as a bed of rich soil that will help all kinds of seeds to sprout and flourish, whether good or bad. If you sow thorns, will you gather grapes? If you sow thistles, will you harvest figs? Every thought is a cause, and every condition is an effect. This is the reason it is so essential that you take charge of your thoughts. In that way, you can bring forth only desirable conditions.

Begin now to sow thoughts of peace, happiness, right action, goodwill, and prosperity. Think quietly and with conviction on these qualities. Accept them fully in your conscious reasoning mind. Continue to plant these wonderful seeds of thought in the garden of your mind and you will reap a glorious harvest.

When your mind thinks correctly, when you understand the truth, when the thoughts deposited in your subconscious mind are constructive, harmonious, and peaceful, the magic working power of your subconscious will respond. It will bring about harmonious conditions, agreeable surroundings, and the best of everything.  Once you begin to control your thought processes, you can apply the powers of your subconscious to any problem or difficulty. You will actually be consciously cooperating with the infinite power and omnipotent law that governs all things,

     Look around you. Wherever you live, whatever circle of society you are part of, you will notice that the vast majority of people lives in the world without. Those who are more enlightened, however, are intensely involved with the world within. They realize—as you will, too—that the world within creates the world without. Your thoughts, feelings, and visualized imagery are the organizing principles of your experience. The world within is the only creative power. Everything you find in your world of expression has been created by you in the inner world of your mind, whether consciously or unconsciously.

       Once you learn the truth about the interaction of your conscious and subconscious minds, you will be able to transform your whole life. If you want to change external conditions, you must change the cause. Most people try to change conditions and circumstances by working on those conditions and circumstances. This is a terrible waste of time and effort. They fail to see that their conditions flow from a cause.; To remove discord, confusion, lack, and limitation from your life, you must remove the cause. That cause is the way you use your conscious mind, the thoughts and images you encourage in it. Change the cause, and you change the effect. It is just that simple."

       The subconscious mind is part of what can be called your inner person or "heart."  In addition to Murphy's comments, I would add a few verses from the Proverbs in the Bible. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 3:5&6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."  If you intentionally allow the supernatural presence of God to work in your life, your "garden" (heart) will be producing more than the natural fruit of a positive mindset.  It will also produce fruit of the Holy Spirit which exceeds your natural ability to produce.  Yielding to God's power and surrendering to His ability to help us formulate the correct beliefs is the way we will see the quickest and most lasting results. We need God's help to believe the truth, consistently, day-in and day-out, to accomplish his purpose for our life.

        Some reading this may react to Murphy's comments above as being too "humanistic."  I believe there are two extremes that a Christ-follower needs to be careful to avoid. One is to "over-spiritualize" events to the extent of denying the natural laws of the world we live in, and the other extreme is to "over-naturalize" by relying on self-effort to the extent of minimizing the power of God in one's life. Both extremes cause the same error. They miss the purpose of the divine and human working together. The very nature of God demonstrates the importance of the two working together.  God, through Jesus Christ, is both divine and human. The quality of our relationship with God depends on our ability to "trust in the Lord with all your heart" (see above). That is, to look to Him for the balance of the spiritual and the natural. While on earth, there's no escaping our humanity. Because we're created by an eternal being, there's no escaping our spirituality. We must engage both to have fullness in our  relationship with God.

       What is the major obstacle to trusting God?  I believe it is fear causing unbelief.  Hebrews 3:10 says, " See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God."  The context of this verse is about the people of God in ancient times oscillating between belief and unbelief.  Their pattern was to turn to God and then somehow turn back to unbelief. Even since Christ the Savior came to earth, human beings have the same tendencies, fears, and unbelief. Again, without God's intervention, we gravitate to the extremes.  The same fears that cause a person to over-emphasize (cling to) their humanity to deny God's power (supremacy over human achievement), are the same fears that cause a person to under-recognize their humanity to deny God's personhood.  His personhood is uniquely expressed in every human he created.  His personhood desires an intimate companionship with each person he created as he or she walks through life's journey.  He is a relational God. Most of us aren't as welcoming of him being "in our space" as we may like to think.

        If you are reading this and find it hard to believe God cares for you as a person, don't allow your subconscious mind to talk you out of God's love. The Bible says God's character is the very definition of love.  I think that qualifies him to know how to love you best.  Don't allow the enemy of your soul to tell you "you are trash," "you'll never amount to anything," "you're damaged beyond repair," "you have no talent," "you will always feel lonely,"  "you will always fail," "you will never succeed,"  "you can't ...," "you won't ....," and "you should've ...,"  Not so!!!  There is hope!  There is Refuge!  God's ability (grace) is available to believe you should, you can, and you will grow into the person He made you to be. By believing (in His power first), all things necessary for abundant life are present (Matthew 6:33).

        Stop trying to get good enough. Come to God and let him make you good enough.  Just believe. Start by believing in belief.  As Bob Dylan sang in When You Gonna Wake Up, "There's a man on a cross, and he be crucified for you.  Just believe in his power, that's about all you gotta do."

            Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: See more on book . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry