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Biblical ANTIVIRUS against destructive thoughts and ideas

Most people remember INCEPTION the mind-bending dream-within-a-dream film about corporate espionage. It tells the story of a thief called Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) who extracts corporate secrets using dream-sharing technology and the science of planting an idea in someone’s mind. Cobb says in the film: “The smallest seed of an idea can grow, and it can grow to define or destroy you.” Towards the end of the film, we realize that it was the idea that “Your world isn’t real” that led his wife to her tragic suicide.  

Our thoughts are so powerful that they can determine the course of our lives.

There are two prominent scriptures about the war in our minds in the NT. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12) 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Cor 10:3-10) 

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29) 

These scriptures give us a biblical epistemology of how one receives ideas, knowledge and hence become actions and subconscious lifestyle. 

Principality: Archḗ is the beginning of something, as the beginning of a line, road, and so forth. The line or road is conceived in one’s mind, but where he touches the paper to draw the line is the beginning of the line (Matt. 19:8; Mark 1:1; 10:6; 13:8). When talking to people one quickly begins to sense a particular Archḗ Principality that governs their life. Certain: Ideologies like racism, beliefs like evolution, emotions like anxiety, ideas about vaccines, and conspiracy theories. One almost wants to lose hope in humanity hearing with what conviction people speak the lies they believe.  

The power of Ideas

  • Emotions follow and energize our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. 
  • There is nothing on earth more powerful than an idea. 
  • Ideas produce everything. 
  • Everything began as an idea. 
  • Ideas are eternal, cannot kill them with a bullet
  • Ideas cannot be destroyed 
  • Ideas submerge and re-emerge from generation to generation 
  • Ideas become ideologies, and we are ruled by dead men’s ideas. [1]

Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge

  1. Perception 
  2. Reason
  3. Memory 
  4. Testimony[2]

For ideas to become strongholds of belief they follow a certain process. 

  1. Originality
  2. Self-involvement 
  3. Blending
  4. Agreement 
  5. Execution 

This shortlist of ideas, that becomes knowledge, that becomes actions can be positive or negative. It takes the same process to install a self-defeating, negative, destructive thought and the eventual sinful act than receiving an instruction from the Spirit and bearing His good fruit. 

The 2 Corintians 10:3-6 Biblical Wording is:

  1. Thoughts 
  2. Imaginations, ideas & arguments 
  3. Strongholds, Beliefs 
  4. Obedience 

Jesus proposed radical ideas that when obeyed, have a distinct positive fruit in one’s life. 

Some of Jesus’ Ideas that Sticked:

  • Love your neighbour as you love yourself.
  • Love your enemies.
  • If you want to be forgiven learn to forgive those who offend you.
  • If you want to live you must die to self.
  • If you want to lead, you must learn to serve.
  • If you want to be first, go stand last in the que.
  • If you want to gain more, give more away.
  • Do unto others, as you want them to do unto you.  

The Source of Knowledge determents you

The sources of our knowledge, and how we came to have this knowledge is empirical to the state of our being. Knowledge either makes or breaks you. We live in the age of a knowledge revolution. Never in the history of mankind has so much knowledge been so freely accessible to mankind. Knowledge used to cost you money, to earn a PhD, to isolate yourself into a study program. Now everyone searches google, and acquire knowledge in seconds. (Being lazy readers does not help) Not all this knowledge is good for you. Remember Adam and Eve, eating from the tree of KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. 

The Bible is prescriptive: It is the knowledge of God that saves us! 

may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Eph 1:17-19)

But even knowledge of God can be misleading, as the foremost pharisee scholar Saul discovered when He met Jesus face to face. (Acts 9) 

It is thus the knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ, acquired by being on the journey with Him that leads to life! (John 14:6)

The Biblical Antivirus is: 

The knowledge of God.  I would strongly suggest that the knowledge acquired through only one of the following sources, can lead to error. It is the sum-total of all that one engages on our spiritual journey with Christ that leads to truth. 

How does one come to have knowledge of God? 

  1. Know Jesus through revelation of Mysteries – But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. but as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor 2:6-13) (Awaken to His righteousness, enlightenment, assurance & conviction of Faith) 
  2. Know Jesus through direct encounter – Job, Moses, Paul etc 
  3. Know Jesus through experiential obedience – Pragmatic Realist epistemology – Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15:22. 
  4. Know Jesus through His special representatives – There is nothing new under the sun, and as the World-views of the world got formed and motivated by great thinkers, the church and body of Christ have select men and women of faith who directs and judges people to look to Christ. Example Paul, Peter, James and John. 
  5. Know Jesus through His everlasting Covenant – God’s binds Himself to an everlasting covenant with man, to be its redemption.  Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. (Gal 3:15-17)
  6. Know Jesus through His Body the Church – but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph 4:15-16)
  7. Know Jesus by the Spirit – Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.(Gal 5:16)  https://hrco.co.za/sermons/walk-and-live-in-the-spirit/

[1] Dr Myles Munroe – The Power of Ideas 

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology#Sources_of_knowledge

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Lessons on accurate Interpretation

We live in the age of a staggering information overload: Currently, there are a total of 1.86-billion websites on the internet, over two-billion YouTube Channels, 2.85-billion active Facebook users, and two-billion people sending information to the most popular communication platform Whatsapp. In addition, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide is expected to reach 17.72-billion by 2024. So the question is: is all this information TRUE and Wholesome?

Particularly recently, deciding whether one should be vaccinated or not. Did the Corona Virus COVID 19 leak from a lab in Wuhan or naturally hop from bats? Another battle people struggle with is whether they should stay in SA or not?  With the coming elections, how to vote for the right party? Is the earth flat? Did man ever land on the moon? Most importantly, we need to be alert of the Mainstream Social Justice movement’s opposition against fundamental Christian values. Getting involved in some of these debates can become emotionally heated, a first sign that people have already swayed from a non-bias, investigative path.

The BIBLE our SOURCE for accurate interpretation.

Interpretation has quite a broad scope of use: dancers interpret music and words through movement, we interpret dreams and visions, the interpretation of the law, bookkeepers interpret financial statements, to name a few.

It is impossible to restrict and contain people’s inert interpretation of life. Yet all interpretation requires a source-code, an instruction manual, laws, an ancient holy text, a distinct worldview, a specific upbringing culture and traditions. For example, bookkeepers have to have the source document to give an accurate account of the financial status of an enterprise.  Dancers need a particular song to interpret using a certain style of choreography.

Followers of Christ interpret LIFE, TIME or relevant World FACTS primarily from our knowledge of God first, as revealed through Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the general assembly and church of the firstborn. (Heb 12:22-24)   

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 3instruction in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

Despite the truth of God’s Word, it is unfortunate how man’s misinterpretation of the scriptures misconstrued and distorted it’s divine intent. The church’s shame is not Who we believe in but our misrepresentation of His will and desire.

JOIN THE MBTC Class on BIBLE Interpretation TERM 3.

The danger of wrong interpretation

Most wars are maintained by misinformation and propaganda, forming groups by outward identifiable differences, then alienating them from another by creating an evil ‘face’ that people are willing to kill. Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies stand in direct contrast, so powerful yet extremely difficult. Generally we see the enemy win the battle by creating a distance.  The alternative opposite path is to break through the walls of seperation, segregation and distance through face-to-face contact and meaningful dialogue. 

Phillip Zimbardo proved with the Stanford Prison Experiment how nine normal middle-class college boys could turn evil in just eight days. The process involves the following: Dehumanization, deindividuation, absolute obedience to authority, passivity in the face of threats, self-justification, and rationalization.

Dehumanization is like a cortical cataract that clouds one’s thinking and fosters the perception that other people are less than human. It makes some people believe that their perceived enemies deserve torment, torture, and annihilation.”[2] One of the war techniques is to paint faces so that the warriors become unrecognizable and intimidate their enemies, and thus more prone to act contrary to their conscience.

Lessons from other sources are helpful for accurate interpretation.

In addition, we can draw lessons from the above mentioned shortlist of interpretive practises to gain insight and deepen our understanding, for instance: wine tasting.

Primary things to remember:

  • Slow down
  • Pay attention 
  • Irradicate conflicting smells in the vicinity.
  • Build smell vocabulary practise labelling all fragrances 

We all need to slow down before jumping to conclusions. Learn to pay more attention and ask engaging questions. Focus and eliminate distractions. Improve our vocabulary of discerning categories and the true meaning of words through study and experience (Heb. 5:13-14).

FIRST LESSON on INTERPRETATION:
Make a point of getting direct feedback.

Equally crucial for survival is direct feedback.  Like a racing driver feeling the understeer on the steering wheel going through a corner, we need accurate feedback to make the right decisions. Unfortunately, too many options complicate matters and lead to procrastination, frustration or forced decisions.  

It is alarmingly sad how many believers have heard the right word or instruction, but the interpretation was way off! I must confess my mistakes in my own life and ministry were not because I did not hear correctly; my interpretation was limited, and I jumped to misinformed conclusions.  Assumptions exist because of distance. No communication leads to more presumptions. We often leave God’s face/presence too soon and run into making our own decisions without further consultation with God!

SECOND LESSON on INTERPRETATION:
Interpret Scripture as communication between God and man.

God’s Word is not a compilation of abstract literary words and sentences. The Bible is God’s way of communicating with us.  Like any good listener, it is harmful and disrespectful to cherry-pick parts that resonate with our point and then quote it as if this is God speaking.  Because we talk more than listen, with an increasingly shorter attention span of eight-seconds[3], we are disposed to misinterpret Scripture, God’s voice, and another.  Correct interpretation begins with becoming an exceptional listener.  

Natural science and widely read academic papers are just more than a hundred years old. For thousands of years, ancients used narratives or stories to navigate life’s complexities and find the best practices. The stories of Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel, their triumphs and their mistakes are like guiding lights in the darkness. The primary interpretive lesson to be learned is; look at a life lived! Jesus is in this aspect our ultimate example! The Word became flesh and showed us the best way to do life!

We basically stay in this mess because of too few meaningful relationships with the right people, at the right time. Theories and philosophies can become harmful because they are formulated in minds and classrooms without the appropriate, relevant relationships on the ground level.

THIRD LESSON on INTERPRETATION:
Interpretation requires a thorough investigation.

Journalists rigorously research source verification and fact-checking before they publish a story.

Bible interpreters study the context, background, ancient narratives and audience, text category, language, culture, and intention of a portion of Scripture before making a current application of use and preaching about it.[4]

Academics review existing conflicting and complementary research literature and provide research methodology (experiments, surveys, questionnaires, interviews, case studies, observational trials) to determine feasible and practical outcomes. 

Interpreting God’s Voice entails: testing whether the word is in line with the Spirit of Christ; general acceptance among a mature multitude of counsellors; the conviction of sin righteousness and judgement; the producing inner peace. It is specific, practical, is a conviction, ensures a generational blessing, is at the detriment to self, and is always missional. 

FOURTH LESSON on INTERPRETATION:
We are more wrong than right – remain in HIM.

One who is perfect in knowledge is with you. Job 36:4 

What makes us think we can hear a person speak for five-minutes, and we already make a judgement whether this person is good or bad? Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, “Talking to strangers” explains in his typically digressive exploration of the wrong assumptions we make when dealing with strangers.[5] He lists as an example how the best CIA espionage operatives find it very difficult to tell when people are lying. 

When it comes to fake news, even more, alarming is that older adults engage with and share false political information on social media than any other age group. [6]

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, (James 1:5)

FIFTH FIRST LESSON on INTERPRETATION:
Test the fruit – the outcome and the motive. 

Be aware of thinking carnally. Here is a list of bad fruit and outcomes:

  • Cognitive dissonance 
  • Blaming, resentful, reactive 
  • Creating suspicion 
  • Guessing assumptions 
  • Worry, fear, anxiety 
  • Projecting guilt, favoritism, bias.  
  • Shame, guilt, condemnation – of other parties
  • Futile – no practical confrontation and outcome
  • Cause & Effect thinking – Job 
  • Carnal, miss-out on short term benefits 

Rigorously test the outcome:

  • If I need to execute this thought?
  • What will be the implications? 
  • Is the Lord going to be glorified? (1 Cor 10:31)
  • Is it going to break down or build? (1 Cor 14:26)
  • Is that going to change anything?
  • Is it do-able? James 1:22 (Doers of the Word) 
  • What’s the end?
  • What is the fruit?
  • What is the outcome 3 – 7 generations from now? 
  • Does it release faith or fear?
  • Is it Scriptural?
  • Is it compatible with the fruit of the Holy Spirit? 
  • Overthinking, analyzing the thought is perfected in the doing, not the thinking.  

SIXTH LESSON on INTERPRETATION:
The spirit of CHRIST litmus test 

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this, cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all. John 18:33-38 

All self-determination is founded in the works of the flesh.

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
My life is hidden in Him. (Col 3:2).
My purpose is in Him (Rom 8:29).
My life is in Him (Mat 16:24).

A life centred on ‘self’ leads to struggle.  Either we are doing too much or too little, trying, striving, and fighting to be better, yet dreadfully failing, over and over, again and again! We never seem to get it right, seeking comfort and peace, accomplishment and meaning in all the wrong places to end up empty again at the end.

When we are the most like Him, we become the ideal spouse, parent, employer, and employee. When we live through His wisdom, life began to have meaning and purpose. He is the solution to every problem. His life will save you!

SEVENTH LESSON on INTERPRETATION:
Truth test: 

  • Truth must bring the individual to inner peace, rest, and an acceptable resolution. It must conclude and resolve the quest. 
  • The truth is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God.
  • Truth is coherent.  For coherence theories in general, truth requires a proper fit of elements within an entire system.
  • Truth is consistently sustainable and rigid throughout time and history. It’s opposite to relativism, changeable, unpredictable fluidness. 
  • Truth can’t just be theory or philosophy. It needs to be tested practically in a particular life, place, time, and proven lifestyle. 
  • Truth must be both simple but also complex. Life is bitterly complicated, so truth should answer this complexity and give it good direction to simple, doable action.  
  • Truth is a paradox. Impartial, self-sufficient, indisputable, indefensible. The strongest magnet changes the weaker magnet’s polarity. 
  • Truth should be universal, similarity and comparisons in other sciences. 

You’re welcome to study the sermon/blog on the DANGER of being led by your emotions. https://hrco.co.za/sermons/the-danger-of-being-led-by-feelings/


[1] The Amplified Bible, (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1987), 2 Ti 3:16–17.

[2] Philip G. Zimbardo. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

[3] Social media: the impact on spiritual formation among generation Z freshman college students.  https://firescholars.seu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1081&context=coe

[4] So opening the Bible can be likened to entering into a communicative event. Or, to put it metaphorically, Scripture begins a conversation that is interpersonal and potentially life changing, because it is God who initiates the dialogue.” Jeanine Brown,  2021. Scripture as communication. Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics. Baker Book House.

[5] Gladwell, Malcolm, 2021. Talking to strangers. Back Bay Books. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Amazon.com Services LLC
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NC11JGM/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PZDAVAJP2DE64PRJ376C 

[6] Guess, A. M., Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2020). Exposure to untrustworthy websites in the 2016 US election. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(5), 472-480. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0833-x

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Maintain Childlike Wonder

Throughout the Bible we see people losing sight of the things of this world, as they fixate their gaze upon the Glory of our Lord! From time to time, it is necessary that we close our eyes to the physical world, so that our senses can be awakened to the eternal reality of the spiritual realm. Once we habitually continue to behold FIRST His glory (2 Cor 4:18), His Kingdom (Mat 6:33), we begin to see this world from a heavenly perspective. 

AS WE CONTINUE to practice doing just as He tells us to do in His Word, life completely changes for us. We will have a completely different perspective and will come to have an entirely new attitude toward life, things and people! 

KINGDOM OF GOD – ROM 14:17: its characteristics are described as righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. The eternal chaos in the world due to the “tares” has not prevented the growth of the wheat. (The world was created by the Word of God out of chaos ). 

OUR PRIVILEGE: to reign with Christ. Enter in by faith. We have been made to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. We are to be more than conquerors. Sin shall not have dominion over us. Sin, sickness and Satan are banished from the glorious realm in which God’s children are called to live. Jesus is our KING, we are His Kingdom. HIS WILL is our highest desire and the extension of His Kingdom is our sole occupation. All else will be added unto us. Our occupation is rulership, not defeat!

Like a child our sense of wonder is restored. We see miracles in the smallest things. We live with an intentional expectation for signs, wonders, and miracles. Nothing is impossible for our God! We are sincerely grateful for what we have already received in Christ Jesus. Our hearts are at peace, we are content, and we have a joyful expectation that if God is for us, nothing can be against us. (Rom 8:31)  

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God! (Heb 12:1-2) Passion Translation 

872. ἀφοράω aphoráō; contracted aphorṓ, fut. apópsomai, from apó (G0575) an intens., and horáō (G3708), to look. To look away steadfastly or intently toward a distant object. Metaphorically, to behold in the mind, to fix the mind upon (Phil. 2:23; Heb. 12:2).

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (Joh 3:13)

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (Joh 4:25-26)

Peter Saw Him as the Messiah.  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Mat 16:15–17). 

And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:5). 

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luk 23:40–43)

The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,

Lord God Almighty,

Who was and is and is to come!”

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

“You are worthy, O Lord,

To receive glory and honor and power;

For You created all things,

And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Rev 4:8-10)