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Reprogramming Your Heart For Kingdom Breakthroughs - Rev. Kola Ewuosho
“Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not [practice] what I tell you?” In Luke 6:46 our Lord Jesus asked this question when he was on earth and it is a question that still needs to be answered today. The question, amongst other things, challenges our understanding and application of His Lordship over us as well as our recognition of the fact that His Word should have authority over our lives. In our present day world, all these have a place in our study and thoughts. I believe that in response to this question we might answer, “Lord, the things that inform what we do have been established in us before we accepted you as our Lord, so we have no place for what you say. Moreover, what you say runs contrary to what we have been programmed to do and how we live our lives. By nature we were not designed to ‘love our enemies" or ‘bless those who curse us".”
NEW CREATION NEEDS NEW MINDSETS
The new birth starts with the injection of God"s life (‘Zoe" in Greek ) into our spirits. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour having repented of our sins, we have our human spirits recreated by the Holy Spirit infusing God"s life into us. We now have a new identity - in Christ. We become a part of the new creation, with Jesus Christ as the head of this new creation, replacing Adam as the failed head of the old creation. This life is in our spirits but the inherited nature we had is still lodged in our souls (our mind, will and emotions). James 1:21 tells us to lay aside naughtiness, amongst other things in our souls, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save our souls. Work needs to be done in our souls so we can come into alignment with the way God ordained for things to function in our lives on the earth. Our souls (the seat of our personality) have been affected by the sinfulness in our world, nature and the experiences we had before we met Christ. Without the development of our spirits in the life of God, we may still live as people who are governed by the dictates of the human flesh and not yield to the Spirit of God who lives within us. The Corinthian church, in the days of Apostle Paul, were full of the manifestations of the Spirit in gifts yet they were ruled by their flesh according to 1 Cor. 3. In Paul"s letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 amplified translation), we read the following:
“HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [ unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?
God"s Word is designed to train us to walk in the victory that has been granted us through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many Christians are not taking full advantage of their privileges in Christ. God raised Paul to help bring us all into the fullness of what we have become -in Christ.
UNDERSTANDING HOW WE RECEIVED OUR PROGRAMMING
Our souls are programmed through observation, imitation and repetition . The advertising companies know this and are taking full advantage of it. Even a relaxed observation when it is repeated can influence us. Our nature, (inherited nature from Adam and our temperaments), our nurture (how we were brought up) and culture have been known to define who we are and inform what we do and how we go about things. Our culture is a body of accepted norms, traditions and practises that generally inform our environment. Our nurture is how we were brought up; in love and acceptance, in discipline or tyranny, to love development or cultivate self destructive habits. Our nature has to do with our inherited nature from Adam as well as our inborn temperament and general human tendencies. Each person is pretty much defined by these. Satan, the god of this world, on the other hand has our carnal mind, the worldly systems and his cohorts of evil spirits to enhance his operations in our lives. He has come to steal, kill and destroy. Most of the time he is not the one to deal with directly but the culture in which we live.
LESSONS FROM THE PRODIGAL SON AND PARABLE OF THE SOWER
The story of the prodigal son shows the influence of the environment or culture that the son allowed into his life. The thought that receiving his inheritance immediately will give him the freedom to enjoy his life without the regulation of the father came from the culture in which he lived. The same is happening today, “why wait until you are married before enjoying sex? Do it now! Get it all now!” This type of thinking does not help people to see far enough ahead to recognise the consequences that will follow such things. In this story, the devil was not in the picture at all. The environment, prevailing thought patterns and culture informed his way of life, desires, expectations and hence experience. Thank God for a loving Father who can accept us in spite of our foolishness. See Luke 15:11-32.
In the parable of the sower, we see the enemy mentioned in only one case i.e. when the seed is stolen for their lack of paying attention to the Word they heard. Satan is said to be the direct cause for only one of the four types of soil that resulted in non-productivity of the seed. In the stony ground and the thorny ground we see the culture once again affecting the heart, hence the soil. The stony heart received the Word with gladness but had no root in themselves, no time to develop a root system of understanding. The persecution or tribulation comes directly from either the environment or from wrong expectations within. In the thorny heart, the cares, the deceitfulness of riches and desires for other things all come from culture and nurture. Satan is behind all these but we are learning what his channels are in getting the Word to be unproductive in the lives of people.
“And He said to them, do you not discern and understand this parable? How then is it possible for you to discern and understand all the parables? The sower sows the Word. The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown [in their hearts], but when they hear, Satan comes at once and [by force] takes away the message which is sown in them. And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy; And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away. And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless. And those sown on the good (well- adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit—some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.” (Mark 4:13-20 Amplified Bible)
We need to take responsibility for our future. This sense of responsibility will help us stop allowing excuses in our lives. Failure has a lot of excuses and success does not usually need any explanation. So decide to be a success with God! The decision to be a success in God is the reason why we can challenge our thoughts and examine our ways. Things only change when we decide to change.
We need to examine the philosophy at work in each person. Our inner philosophy will determine or influence the quality of decisions we make. Apostle John said he was glad when he heard that his people walk in the truth as the truth is in them.
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 2-4).
You can walk in the truth to the extent that the truth is in you. For truth to be in you, it must replace what was there before. Our lives are greatly determined by our decisions and our decisions are based on the accuracy of knowledge we have. No wonder the same Apostle had earlier said “I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2). Soul prosperity leads to material prosperity and health. The soul of a human being comprises of the mind, will and emotions. All these are affected by the programming we have all received through our nature, nurture and culture. For many the process begins when we have the courage to ask why we think, say and do the things we do. The answers to these questions will reveal the internal programming at work in us. When God"s reality (truth) is not in us then lies have found their way into us. Satan"s greatest access into the human race is by injecting thoughts into the mind. The grafting of truth into us, as we humbly receive the truth, is what will save our souls from all the junk we have imbibed into our minds, emotions and will. James 1:21 says “So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls”. (Amplified Bible)
Matthew 15:19 - For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech. (Amp. Bible)
If our thoughts are not examined, their source may never be identified and they may continue to influence us. These thoughts can influence an entire generation; not just an individual. Many even suffer bitter experiences and yet never stop to ponder on the thoughts that led to the experience. By analysing our experiences we can derive lessons and knowledge from the experience itself.
Our programming has been filled with poverty, rejection, selfishness and pride. These all came through our nature, nurture and culture. Our motives, focus and intentions should be examined in the light of God"s Word.
Joshua 1:8 and Psalms 1:1-3 are instructions designed to reprogram ourselves and our lives with God"s truth in His Word.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success”. (Joshua 1:8)
“BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” (Psalms 1:1-3)
STEPS TO REPROGRAMMING
1) HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF A WINNER NOT A LOSER.
Your attitude is a function of your knowledge, thoughts and expectations in life. Paul said he has learned to abase and abound and can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. His attitude was, ‘no matter my financial state, I will not let the natural control me. I am regulated internally by the presence of the Greater one in me". A winning attitude seeks to develop, improve and be the best one can be in life. No excuses are allowed and no one is to receive the blame for any circumstance in one"s life. You are a victor not a victim. This winning attitude is essential if we want to undo the past and prevent the mistakes of the past from affecting our destiny in the future. I will give my best. I will learn my lessons. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
2) KNOW THE WORD AS THE SEED FOR ALL YOU NEED.
God responds to His Word. He watches over His Word to perform it and confirms His Word with signs following. Many refuse to plant the seed and wonder why there is no harvest. The seed is the guarantee for the harvest. Be seed-minded. The kingdom of God operates by seed-time and harvest. The seed is the Word. The harvest are our needs being met. Our prayers, faith, and focus all enhance the operation of the seed (the Word) in our lives.
3) UNDERSTAND THE PLACE OF TRUTH-ENCOUNTER WHEN DELIVERANCE IS NEEDED.
When things go wrong repeatedly, we may consider the need for deliverance from the forces of darkness. There is the role of exercising the power of God to cast out devils, when we use the name of Jesus Christ. We need to be established in this. There is, however, a second side to the same coin; the truth-encounter.
John 8:31-32 says “So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”
The truth you receive, know and adjust your life to has the power to set you free. Truth demands process, it takes time to internalise. It replaces error or wrong MINDSETS as we pay attention to it.
“If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7
When the Word abides in our hearts, our prayer releases power.
4) PRACTICES THAT WILL HELP
DEVELOP A PRAYER LIFE OF INTERCESSION AND SUPPLICATION FOR THE SAINTS. “Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God"s consecrated people).” Ephesians 6:18.
DEVELOP A WORD-ORIENTATION OF STUDY, MEDITATION AND CONFESSION OF THE WORD. “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analysing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skilfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (Amp. Bible). ”And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.” Mark 4:24. Romans 10:10 says “For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.” Study is the systematic pursuit of understanding. There are various ways to study the Word, for example, we can study topics, individuals or books in the Bible. The subject of confession has been limited to confession of sins but confession has various roles in our lives. We build images inside ourselves through what we say regularly and the image in us can be changed or affected by the words we speak. Then we can change our external situation by speaking to the mountains around us. We should confess who we are in Christ, what we have in Him and what we can do in Him. If we do these things regularly our minds and hearts will be programmed for success by God"s word.
DEVELOP A REGULAR LIFE OF FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER BELIEVERS. “And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
DEVELOP YOUR HEART AND SKILL FOR SOUL WINNING. One of our purposes for being on earth after we get born again is to be a witness for God hereby influencing people to know the love God has for them through Christ. If we do not make it one of our goals, we won"t do it and the effect it should have on our development will be lost. (You can order our message ‘Evangelism; the Missing Key" to train yourself on this aspect of our assignment in God.)
DEVELOP A LIFESTYLE OF OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD.
These Kingdom principles should govern your life.
1. Thanksgiving/praise; having a thankful heart.
2. Positive expectation-in attitude and speaking.
3. Faith in the Word- be a doer of the Word. (James 1:21)
4. Forgiveness- forgive anyone who offends you. (Mark 11:23-25)
5. Cast your cares on The Lord. (Philippians 4:6. 1 Peter 5).
6. Check your motives and focus regularly.
7. Maintain a constant communion with God.
God bless you as you embark on this life long journey of constantly reprogramming your mind, heart and life to become all God wants you to become and accomplish His assignment for your life. Remain hungry for more of God in every aspect of your life.