As I’ve said, paradigms power perception and perceptions power emotion.
This is why it so convenient for man to buy into his own perception rather than truth. He is already given over to a style of thinking that fuels his views. Mistaking truth for that which comforts and confirms him, he is taken prisoner by his perceptions without his knowledge.
My emotions are neither good nor bad. They just are! That’s extremely difficult to believe when you are in a negative loop emotionally. Six years ago when I began my life as a single man, my emotions were ruling my days and nights. I didn’t have much of an appetite, I couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours at night and I was terrified of the future. Sundown was my favorite time of the day, because the day was over and I could stay home and hide. It was difficult beyond description to carry out my responsibilities during the day; real torture. I was in constant apprehension of something else happening. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop!
Everyone around you seems to be going about their day with ease, laughing with friends, making plans and I’m waiting with bated breath for something else to happen. I’m not exaggerating to say it was a 24/7 Steven King novel. I remember one afternoon sitting in my café than ran my life. It was summer and the AC was running. The room was comfortably cool, but I was sweating profusely while I just sat and thought.
FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. I knew that little acronym for years. I also knew intellectually the dynamic between my emotions and how they are fueled by my perception of life and so on. After all, I taught this stuff to many people over the years. What I lacked was the truth in the circumstances I was now in. I was in prison, a prison of my own making. At 60 years old, I was single, broke, in debt and nothing to show for all my hard work.
That’s when it became clear to me. If I was going to survive this new set of circumstances, I needed to know the truth about the mental trauma I was under. I needed to see things as they really are and not how they appeared. As I began to retrain my life mentally, I started to see little by little, there was no substance to the terror in my mind. In order to get my emotions in sync with the truth, my style of thinking had to change. That couldn’t happen fast enough.
Changing your mind is what true repentance is all about. There’s nothing religious about it, except for breaking the chains of lies that keep you incarcerated to the past and fearful of the future. Changing your mind is not only difficult, it’s not even possible without being born from above, born again. There’s nothing religious about this. It’s simply a fact of life; a moral truth. You cannot believe in something you don’t see. When all you see is hopelessness, that’s what you’re committed to. But if you can see the kingdom of God, you see it only because you are born-again. But it doesn’t stop with merely seeing. I had to walk out what I saw in order for this new sight to become truth in me. This is the truth that set me free. It didn’t happen overnight, but was a slow process of change. Life is all about change. In fact, change is the only constant.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”, says the Proverb. This is a man’s thinking style or paradigm. The more my thinking and living is centered in the truth, the more my emotions will help me see clearly and not hinder me. More than we consciously think, this dynamic of humanness controls our entire lives and the relationships we have. But without fellowship (prayer) , these relationships are dead and empty. Fellowship animates the relationship! – Proverbs 23:7
Our fellowship with God animates the relationship otherwise our relationship with Him is lifeless and all that remains is a religious paradigm of our last encounter that continues to fuel our present perception and emotions. We must never lose our fellowship with the Spirit of God. Rules and principles are much easier to follow, but they cannot love us nor can they animate the relationship between us and God or one another.
Religion is about being in control and having all the right answers. Religious dialog assumes its own credibility established by known principles and peculiar doctrines, but it does not establish necessarily a relationship with God. Understanding or knowing God through the eyeglass of rules and principles is no more helpful than looking at God through the knot hole of pain and hurt. Simply having all the right answers about deity does not mean you know Him.
Isaiah 6:9,10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
One assumption that religion makes is our need to do something for God – to present something, a gift that will add to or satisfy something in Him. The pressure to perform is enormous. The reality is we can offer nothing to Him that can add or even take away from who He is. Only the Holy Spirit can show us anything of God and He will never reveal a God who is something less than fulfilled in Himself and loving you with that same measure.