The Software of the Mind
Overcoming Unbiblical Thinking Patterns
And Walking Freely in Messiah
As of late, I have been researching the issue of addiction from a variety of sources and comparing them to the words of Scripture. One common theme I see in myriads of addictions, whether it be sexual, alcoholic, drug-related, or whatever, is that all addictions seem to begin in the thoughts and become carried out in the actions. This is hardly suprising, considering that the Bible teaches that whatever we think in our hearts, we are that very thing (Proverbs 23:7). Messiah Himself taught that our actions are first rooted in the mind and carried out in the flesh (Matthew 5:22,28). This likewise was the testimony of James (James 1:13-15). Thus, we see that all sinful behaviour begins with a thought and is carried out by our actions.
However, one key thing Paul says in his epistle to the Romans will be the thrust of my essay today. In the New International Version, we read:
"We know that the [Torah] is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the [Torah] is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this [torah] at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in [Elohim's (God's) Torah]; but I see another [torah] at work in the members of my body, waging war against the [torah] of my mind and making me a prisoner of the [torah] of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to [Elohim]--through [Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)] our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to [Elohim's Torah], but in the sinful nature a slave to the [torah] of sin" (Romans 7:14-25 NIV, insertions in brackets mine).
We understand a few principles from these verses. First, we in our own strength are incapable of doing good. We desire to do good, but we cannot do it. That is because the torah (law) of sin is at work in us. It literally lives, breathes and acts beyond our will. It seems almost impossible to resist, even when we ourselves want to do Yahweh's will and keep His Torah. What is this torah of sin and how does it come into us?
In short, the torah of sin comes into us through the Devil, the flesh and the world. As we go throughout the world, everything we watch, read, hear, and experience is downloaded into our mind and stored away in our personal memory banks to be acted out on later. The Bible says that this torah comes through Satan (who likewise operates through the world) who blinds our minds so that we cannot even percieve the truth (2 Corinthians 4:4). This is why friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim (James 4:4) and why we are commanded to be in it but not of it (John 17:15-16). We are to avoid the world (except to share the Gospel) and its ways for precisely this reason. Like a cookie or a virus program on a computer, every exposure to it downloads into our operating system (mind) and thus influences the operating system (mind) for good and bad.
For a more detailed analogy (borrowing from and expanding upon the analagoy at InnerPeace.org which is New Agey but has some truth), let us take this a bit further. I have Windows XP. When I press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, I can see my system resources. This allows me to see which programs are running and which are not. Sometimes, I may not be aware of these programs, sometimes I may be. However, all of them drain my system's resources and the more of them that are open, the slower my system tends to operate.
For example, one program may be called "Lust", another may be called "Hate", another called "I Can't Do Anything Right". At the same time, however, you might have a program entitled "Love" running at the same time as "Lust" and "Hate" and this causes conflicts, confusion and possible neurosis because the programs contradict one another. The other one runs its course unhindered and leads to problems because you don't know any other program. However, you know something is wrong because, try as you might, the system always crashes when it is run (the hardware was never made to handle it). Some are just a plain strain and play in the background. These are past experiences which we either keep reflecting on or are shoved in the subconscious beyond conscious control (Unforgiveness, Abuse, etc.). All of them, however, strain the system. So what's the antidote?
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. In the New International Version, we read:
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds [i.e. false beliefs which spiral out of control and seem unfixable]. We demolish arguments [rationalizations] and every pretension [lies] that sets itself up against the knowledge of [Elohim], and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to [Messiah]" (emphasis and information in brackets by me).
Every thought in our system must be made obedient to Messiah. The Scriptures calls this "mind renewal" (Romans 12:2). We must literally put on the "mind of Messiah" (1 Corinthians 2:16). How is it we do this?
First off, the most important thing is faith in Messiah. Without this faith, we could never be justified, inspite of all the works we do (Galatians 2:16). Allowing Messiah to be in us (Galatians 2:20) is the initial program we must download into our system. He is the initial operating system and decides and defines how all the other programs run. Upon acceptance of Him, we likewise receive the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) as our constant companion and guide (John 14:26; 15:26). And also, the Father Yahweh will be with us and live in us (John 14:23). Thus, when we have the entire Godhead with us, They will teach us and guide us into all truth and undo a large part of the faulty programming, if we allow them.
But even with this, it is sometimes hard to hear Them when other programs are lingering which contradicts Them (from my experience). This is what the Word of Yahweh, the Bible, is for. Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself states that if we do not keep His commandments, we will not abide in His love (John 15:10). Likewise, the Apostle John tells us that we know what love is through the commandments (1 John 5:2-3). The two Great Commands (or rather, the Two Great Summaries) are to love Yahweh with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbours just as much as we love ourselves (Mark 12:29-31). On these two laws, all the commands in Scripture hang (Matthew 22:40). Ultimately, they are a summary of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) which are a summary of all the individual ones. This software is neccessary for it (along with the Godhead) is part of our antivirus software which detects what sin is (Romans 3:20).
So now then, how do we actually get rid of negative thoughts and emotions and empower the mind with truth? First, we need to pray for the Father to guide us through His Ruach (Spirit) in each of the steps. Next, we must learn to identify the renegade thoughts. For example, if I am struggling with lust, I need to ask myself why it is I am lusting. I need to get to the motive, the programming underlying the "Lust" software. In other words, when I feel a tendency to lust, I must let the programming in the software play out without giving into it so that I may see the code underlying the software. This is so that every lie may be identified. We can likewise figure out some programming from the dreams we have during the night by identifying the lies when we are half-awake (usually if I launch out of bed, I tend to forget my dreams). We then compare this against Yahweh's Word. While doing this, we need to ask ourself: How does Yahweh view my behaviour? This takes some familiarity. If you are not sure how Yahweh views a particular habit, you can look up the subject topically in a concordance or on the Internet. Once we know how it is Yahweh views our behaviours, we need to think of possible consequences for our actions: What will happen if I continue to do this? It could be a loss of job, loss of family, loss of control, and ultimately, a loss of salvation. Every cause has an effect. Be as detailed as possible. After we have identified the lies, addressed them with the truth in Yahweh's Word, and considered the consequences, we must release them to Him unconditionally in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name through prayer. He will settle for nothing less but death to our flesh (Romans 8:13). It is then that He can supernaturally renew our minds and reprogram us. This is how we take on the mind of Messiah.
Another thing we can do is confess our faults. The Scriptures state that if we confess our faults and pray for one another, we will be healed (James 5:16). Generally, it is important for the person who is hearing the confession to ask the confessor probing questions to get to the underlying motive, using the system I outlined above. If the root of the programming is not discovered, it will continue to take its course. It must be neutralized through the bright light of truth and then deleted. If you try deleting it without neutralizing it, it will only cause system conflicts and the person will only go back into the same sins. Their minds must be reprogrammed with the exact opposite programming in order to neutralize it. Just as an antivirus program is familiar with many types of viruses and disables them by being familiar with their programming, we must do the same thing to break demonic conditioning and programming.
I find journalling these things out really helps. I find it personally difficult to go through the process unless I am writing it out. That way, I can personally detail every lie and interact with it with my eyes. I realize that my journalling is a prayer to Yahweh to help me uncover the truth. I find that as I do this, the lies lift very suddenly. That is because I no longer see the use for this behaviour. Its not me. Its not even worth it any longer. And I am thus reprogrammed with new behaviour through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) who will help me do Yahweh's will. The more I do this, the more I become conditioned to do it without even having to write it out.
Once we've done all these things, we must thank Yahweh and rejoice in Him with gratitude for all that He has done for us. Then we can lead others through this process as He guides us to them.
The seven steps then are the following:
1. Pray to the Father Yahweh to have His Ruach (Spirit) guide me in each of these steps.
2. Identify the renegade thoughts.
3. Ascertain from my knowledge of the Word how Yahweh views my behaviour.
4. Ask myself the consequences of my actions.
5. Release the actions to Him unconditionally in prayer.
6. Thank Yahweh and rejoice in Him with gratitude.
7. Lead others through this process as He guides us to them.
Of course, these suggestions do not omit other alternative therapies. Theophostic Prayer Ministry is likewise a helpful tool for getting rid of "stinking thinking" (destructive thoughts). In suggesting this, I am not suggesting "positive thinking". All of this must be built upon Yahweh's truth. We must consider how Yahweh views things and the consequences of our actions. Rather, I am suggesting "realistic thinking". Since Yahweh defines reality, only His commands are a balm for our soul (Psalm 19:7). This is why we are commanded to think upon His Word day and night (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 119:97).
These are tools then to overcome demonic oppression, sin, bad habits and addictions. It is my hope that they will be a blessing to the wider Body of Messiah and may be employed for His glory in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name, amein.
This page was created on 4 October 2009
Last updated on 4 October 2009
Copyright © 2009 NCCG