Get Disillusioned

Being disillusioned is a step toward perceiving reality.  So get yourself disillusioned.
We think of being disillusioned as a negative experience.  Our hopes and expectations in someone or some process come crashing to the ground and we talk, with a pity-poor-me attitude, about how disillusioned we are.

The disillusioned are thought to be somewhat depressed, offended and unable to get motivated.
However, think about what being “disillusioned” really means.  It refers to having our “illusions” removed.
Do you want to live in a delusion?  Do you want silly and meaningless ideas to rule in your heart and mind in place of truth and reality?
Being “disillusioned” is the process of having your illusions exposed for what they are.  That is a positive experience, if only you will receive it as such.

Now you may be upset about being disillusioned because you don’t want to face reality.  That’s too bad.  Reality isn’t going to change to suit you.  While some realities are harsh, God is real and He is just as able to help you deal with the realities of life as He has always been.

It’s time to grow up and get real, about life and about your need to rely on God to get you through it.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself that you have been disillusioned.  Start living in the reality that you now perceive, without the fantasy notions that once kept you from dealing with the real world.  And start living with the help of the Living God who designed you to be His champion in the REAL world.

Hayden Gillie prompted this thought recently in a catch up chat after quite a few years. I liked his thought about the need to be dis-illusioned and that led me to pass this on to you.

Synthetic Reality

Following my recent series of posts on Words that Control Us I am now extending the concept to the matter of synthetic reality.

A set of words can invoke a sense of reality in our minds and even bind us as surely as if we were in chains of iron.  Yet that reality is synthetic.  It is synthesised from something other than reality and takes on tangible form in our thinking.

Consider Titles of Office.  One person is called a manager and another is called a janitor.  But they were both born naked and will take nothing out of this world.  The titles describe their responsibilities, but those titles also convey as sense of status and importance, and even a sense of the worthiness of the bearer.

Artificial Persons

Consider artificial persons.  A corporation is only a piece of paper with a name on it.  If no living man or woman turned up to sell or invest their energy into the corporation it would be powerless.  Yet many of us think of corporations as more powerful than the whole community put together.

Imagine having to fight a global, multi-national corporation, or the World Bank, or whatever.  The thought is a disturbing one, because we think of that entity as having great power.  But the entity is actually a fiction.  It is something that was made up in someone’s mind and then put on a piece of paper.  If all the employees went home it would lie dormant.

Immersion in Fantasy

Ps Chris Ong recently prompted my cogitations along these lines in a sermon about how people get carried away with pure fantasy.  People immerse themselves in books, movies, games, virtual realities and fanciful ideas with great zeal these days.

Yet the fantasy world was simply made up in the mind of a writer who created mental images that delight us.  There is no true substance or worth in the fantasy world, except to distract and entertain.

Think of such popular fictional realities as Narnia, Helms Deep and the Shire, made popular by recent movies of people’s fictional writings.  Or consider the new world of blue avatars that has now become part of western mythology.

However, no matter how compelling that world is, and how much we can immerse ourselves in it, or in books about it, or in books about books about it, it has no substance.  It is as shallow as a dream that passes or an imagination that dances in the mind but has no bearing on anything.

TV Ads

I am not a consumer of commercial television and so I was interested to see some recent television commercials in which absolutely fantastic worlds or animated (but real looking) transformations take place.  It seems that the world has become addicted to the super-real, “nothing like this has been seen before” imagery.

However, while synthetic reality has become ubiquitous today, people who know how to encounter and deal with the “real” world are possibly fewer, as people become distracted with the worlds of fantasy.

A top gamer, or one who reads commentaries on the commentaries of someone else’s imaginary world, or one who escapes to the false worlds created in books and movies, cannot build their real world experience on such things.

An Old Problem

Synthetic reality is not new.  Notions of a hero, alter ego identity through which people have vicarious experiences (movie stars, sports heroes, rich and famous) is not new.  Identification with a sports team, star personality, powerful corporate entity, etc gives people a sense of vicarious virtue that is synthetic.

The Illusion of Image

And consider the world’s addiction to “image”.  Image is also a synthetic reality.  The notion is that by improving the image, by style, fashion, plastic surgery, attitude, etc, one can change the reality of who they are.

The statement was made of American Christians that they have as many problems as Christians in any other place, but have learned to slick up their image.  That improved image, of personal presentation, body language, power dressing, etc, masks insecurities, shame, fear, guilt, pride, emptiness, etc, that may be more apparent in other, less dressed up cultures.  But the reality is not different, despite the synthetic reality being projected.

Vain Imagination

Illusions in the mind can be vain imagination, and that can all be a “stronghold” in the mind that is a high thing exalting itself against God and truth.  It can also be a lie that seduces and entraps you with imaginary chains that work as powerfully as real ones.

Illusions of grandeur, fantasies about who and what you are, escape from reality, retreat from real interaction through escapist preoccupations, day dreaming, prejudicial labelling, preconceived notions of what is and what can be, fascination with image, addiction to worldly values, these are all elements of a vain imagination.

In the Mind

The Apostle Paul identified the root of this problem two thousand years ago.  The problem is in the mind, but it’s not merely a mental problem.  Thoughts in our head take on spiritual power that enslaves us.

Paul advised that we need spiritual weapons, not human techniques, to pull down “strongholds” in our mind.  We know the strongholds are in our mind because Paul then lists three descriptions of what makes up the strongholds, and the list includes “imaginations” and “thought”.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2Corinthians 10:3-5

Taking Thought

Those who preach metaphysics suggest that natural man has the power to change his thoughts and thus change their life.  They even base this claim on the Bible, quoting such verses as “as a man thinks so is he”.

But don’t be deceived by the Mind Worship delusions.  They are a vain imagination.

Look again at what Paul said.  The weapons we need to deal with the issues in our mind are not “carnal”.  That means they are not of flesh and blood.  You are not capable of breaking the strongholds in your mind by natural means, including by trying to guide your thoughts.

You need supernatural weapons to pull down those strongholds, and destroy those imaginations and thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.

And remember the words of Christ when He said, “Who by taking thought can add one inch to his height?”

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:27

Don’t fall into mind worship of give your life to chanting mantras about how you are getting better and better every day.  That stuff is fleshly.  It is “carnal”.  And carnal weapons don’t work on strongholds in the mind.

Rely on Truth

One of the spiritual weapons at our disposal is Truth.  Truth sets people free.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32

Now, once again, don’t be fooled by people who say that if you read their book you will know the truth.  Truth is not just some supposedly factual information.  Truth is a person.  Jesus Christ identified Himself by the name “Truth”.

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

When you allow the truth of God’s Word and the truth about who Jesus is, as revealed in the first four books of the New Testament (the Gospels), you will be releasing the power of truth into your life to pull down strongholds in your mind.

The Matrix Allegory

In the first Matrix movie we see a chap named Neo learn how to live outside the illusions forced upon his mind by others.  Christians immediately saw in that story an allegory for the freedom we have in Christ to be able to live free from the lies of Satan, the deceptions of the world and the deceitfulness of sin.

And we see that allegory also hinted at in Alice in Wonderland, where Alice rejects the beliefs and impositions of Wonderland and will not let them dictate who and what she is.

The Bible puts it as resisting the devil.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Your Reality

Who is dictating your reality?  Do you choose to believe whatever you think best indulges your self will?  Or do others force a perception of the world and how you fit into it onto your life?

Have you been deceived?  If you were deceived how would you even know?  Have you ever been set free from a wrong idea?  If not how do you know how to discern truth from lie?

Are the labels used to identify you accurate or are they chains to tie you down?

What does God say about you?  His Word is truth and what the Bible says about you is something you really should pay attention to.

Are you living in vain imagination?  Have fantasy thoughts seduced you and drawn you away from living in the real world where you can actually achieve real benefit as God created you to?

You may not have thought about these issues before, so get onto it right now!

Yesterday is Gone

The Beatles made a huge hit singing “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away”. And others waxed poetic about how “Yesterday’s gone” and how they remember “Yesterday when I was young” and so on.

Yesterday’s Hold

The reason “yesterday” has such a hold on people’s lives is that we all carry the past into the present and beyond that into the future. Yesterday is the time we sowed certain things into our lives and today we reap the harvest. So yesterday is a powerful component of ‘today’ and it will still be making its presence felt when we get to tomorrow.

The Catholic Church teaches people to go to confession to deal with the sins of yesterday. Someone sneered at the habit of some who sin during the week and look for forgiveness in the confessional on the weekend. They said it was like sowing wild oats all week and then praying for a crop failure.

The Hindu faith respects the baggage of yesterday as karma, which we carry not only through this life, but into future lives which Hindus believe they will face. Gautama Buddha, who rejected the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, went so far as to say that we cannot remove our Karma even in a thousand lifetimes.

Yesterday’s Debris

Here are just a few of the things we bring with from yesterday, even though yesterday is gone.

We bring our disappointments from yesterday. We face disappointments with others, such as our parents and family. But we also face disappointments with ourselves.

We bring our broken relationships from yesterday. Once we have offended someone else or they have offended us that damage remains, often throughout life. Family reunions and community life become tinged with the hurt and offence that we feel toward others and they feel toward us.

We bring our compromises from yesterday. Once we have compromised our values and character that becomes a weak spot for us from that time on.

We bring our slaveries from yesterday. When we give in to sin, such as anger, pride, jealousy or lust, that thing enslaves us and it controls us throughout our lives.

Today’s Harvest

It is also true, as the Bible teaches, that our actions and choices involve us sowing seeds in our lives. A seed not only remains, but it germinates and produces a whole crop. So when we sow something into our life, we are setting up a harvest in the future.

Today’s harvest is filled with the fruit of the things we planted yesterday. If we planted selfishness, pride, anger, greed, violence, self-pity, wilfulness, addiction, lies or other evil things, we will have an evil harvest today.

If we planted forgiveness, faith, love, trust, humility and the fear of God then we will have a much better harvest today than others might have.

Yesterday is not ‘Gone’

While the songs might say, “yesterday’s gone” it isn’t true. Yesterday has passed, but it has not ‘gone’. Yesterday lives with you today.

Just as yesterday’s piano lessons undergird today’s musicianship and yesterday’s studies undergird today’s understanding, yesterday’s moral choices undergird today’s character.

Transforming Yesterday

“You can’t go back in time” is one way to look at it. “What’s done is done!” might be your way of dismissing the past. But there are powerful ways of unlocking the past and transforming yesterday. Let me briefly outline two of them.

Confession of Sin is a powerful way to unlock and transform yesterday. When you repent of the choices you made in the past God is able to set you free from the debris and consequences of those choices in the present. You can actually get a crop failure, even though you sowed lots of wild oats.

God can go back in time. While you are stuck in the time-space continuum, God exists outside of time. So He is able to go back to your past and make Himself present, bringing healing to things that are part of your yesterday that has ‘gone’ from you.

A Testimony

A friend of mine named Malcolm visited a lady who had chronic problems. When he prayed for her she had a vision of a baby crying in a cot. She realised that she was seeing herself as a tiny baby. She sensed the extreme distress of the baby and it connected with the pain that kept surfacing in her life.

A spirit of intercession came on Mal and he began to weep for her. As he did she saw in her vision that the door to the baby’s room opened and Jesus walked in. Jesus lifted the baby into His arms and as He did the woman felt all her pain and torment drain from her life.

It was as if Jesus was able to go back in time to the entry point of the woman’s troubles and resolve them, even though that was now many years past.

Saying Good-bye to Yesterday

If yesterday has brought its bad baggage with it into your today then be encouraged to say “Good-bye” to that stuff. You can remove it forever by confession and by asking the Lord to unlock and heal your past.

The Steps to Release, which I have written about in my books and in other posts, will be helpful in this process.

I want you to live in the freedom with which Christ has made you free. I want you to be able to say, in all reality, that Yesterday is Gone! Keep all that is good from yesterday and unlock and remove all that is bad. Once you’ve said “Good-bye” to yesterday’s rubbish you will have an even better future to look forward to.

God is the Substance

A world without God is an oxymoron. It is God who gives substance to all things. This is especially so in reference to things we readily recognise as moral in character.

Imagine a World Without God

John Lennon tried to conceive of a world without God. I suspect that he really wanted a world without consequences, such as heaven and hell. That was the focus of his Imagine song. So let’s take Johnny’s suggestion and do what he asks. Let’s ‘imagine’ a world where God does not exist. Then let’s see what happens to everything else.

Imagine Truth Without God

Let’s assume there is no God. Someone comes along and tells you something that they assert is the ‘truth’. What do they mean? Are they telling you the truth or not? By what empirical reference point can you test the validity and veracity of what they say?

They assert something to be true. Is it true in a universal sense, or only true in their perception? Is it a fact that has been tested or is it only assumed to be true? Are they lying?

To address those questions we need to answer the question, “Where does truth come from?” Is truth a matter of human perception? “I saw something so I know it to be true.” But did you see clearly? Many a witness has been shown to be unreliable in their assertion that “I saw it with my own eyes!”

If God does not exist then we only have human perception to rely on, and that’s unreliable! Human resourced truth can only be relative to the perceptions of the humans involved. It has not more reliable anchor point. Truth then ceases to be truth and becomes opinion or belief.

Imagine Justice Without God

In a world without God what is the measure of justice? Is it “the common good”? That could be terribly unjust to those who sit outside the social mean. Is it what some leader thinks is good? That is so open to abuse that it is frightening. Tyrants love to determine justice on that basis.

And just what is ‘justice’ in a world where there is no external reference point? If you believe you have been treated unjustly how do you appeal against it? You are reduced to popular public opinion. If you have more money or talent or skill than others they just might turn against you and decide it is ‘just’ for you to work, achieve and earn on behalf of all of them. But that would seem quite unjust, wouldn’t it?

If someone is seeking revenge for their loss are they likely to stop when exact justice has been achieved, or are they likely to act in spite, bitterness, retaliation or the like?

Justice falls apart unless there is an external moral reference point. And that’s what God provides for us, quite apart from His reality and power and love made available to us.

Imagine Morality Without God

If there is no God then who or what determines what is moral or not. There are millions of people ready to justify their immoral behaviour, even in a world where God and His Word are clearly presented. Imagine what a free-for-all it would be if God was not there at all!

What makes something moral? Is it because it doesn’t hurt someone? God tells us of secret attitudes and thoughts which He deems to be immoral (such as lust), even though no-one gets hurt. Is it because all those who participate do so of their own will? God shows that many actions are evil, even if the whole nation votes in favour of them. The inhabitants of Sodom all agreed on their behaviour, but God did not.

If God’s moral reference was removed people would do evil, justify their actions, promote evil among others and even aim to subvert the morals of others. There are many tools already in use today to subvert people’s morals, offending their sensibilities and arousing their lusts, so they will succumb to immoral behaviour. God is the only hope we have for maintaining morality.

My Old Mate (‘Buddy’ in US speak)

I once had connection to a chap who turned out to be a talented rip-off merchant. He often bragged about his various exploits and the way he took advantage of other people. True to character he did the same to me.

After several appeals for proper recompense my old mate was quite clearly intent on taking advantage of me and many others. Taking him to court would have been a vexing issue, as he was well acquainted with the courts and had many connections to assist him to use the courts to his advantage. The matter was not of sufficient consequence to warrant the dubious process of legal action. That’s what he hoped would be the case with each of his victims.

My wife, Susan, found herself quite aroused by this man’s actions. She made it a matter of prayer and then told me that she was concerned for the man. She wondered whether we should even call on him to warn him. She came to realise just how severe God’s judgement, justice and moral standards would be when applied to this clever rogue. His ability to play human instrumentalities would do him no good at all when God decided to look into his case.

Existence Without God

Many people, like my old mate, imagine a world without God. They make up their own truth, twist justice to suit themselves and work by their own morality. But God is not amused, nor is He required to sit back and watch.

Existence without God is a misnomer. There is no existence outside of God. And there is no morality apart from His. There is no truth outside of Jesus Christ, because He is truth. There is no justice outside of God’s judgements. We will all eventually face the judgement seat of Christ.

It is better to be judged in the here and now, so we can repent and attain God’s forgiveness, than to live this life as if God did not exist. Once we pass from this life without repenting we face an existence without God. That’s not some clever place of human freedom. It is an eternal torment of physical pain and mental regret.

I Wish You Judgement

Those who hate you may wish you every success in life, so you will pass into eternity with unresolved judgement resting on your head. Those who love you will warn you and pray that you face God’s dealings in this life, to alert you to what is to come. Once forewarned you are empowered to do something about it, through repentance and God’s forgiveness.

In the spirit of that observation, let me tell you that I wish you judgement. May it be the blessing of your eternal existence.

Sovereignty Reigns Supreme

One of the awesome realities about our personal sovereignty is its inherent power. We, as sovereign citizens, can exercise incredible, miraculous power. That’s not because of any power resident within us in inherent in our being. The power is God’s power. But we can access that power, as people able to enter God’s presence and do business with Him.
History provides us a number of compelling examples, passed down to us in the historical records of the Bible. We find that ordinary citizens, less physically capable than their opponents, have been able to overthrow their enemies and win against insurmountable odds. The reason they could do so is because they were able to exercise their personal sovereignty. That’s why I say that sovereignty reigns supreme.
Personal sovereignty, when properly understood and exercised in the fear of God, brings people into line with the will of God and gives them access to the power of God. Consequently they end up with more clout than governments, armies and people of obvious social influence.
Consider the prophet Elisha. He had no political privilege. He had no special social influence. He had no army, nor any great store of money to use for productive ends. He was simply a ‘prophet of God’. He lived in a country where the ruler did not fear God and where most of the populace were idolaters. Yet he was a man who knew God. He had diligently pursued the right to do business with God.
So, when the nation of Syria decided to invade his country, Israel, this insignificant man, living in one of the villages in the countryside, was able to know what the king of Syria was planning. He would send intelligence information to the King of Israel. This happened so consistently and so accurately that the King of Syria suspected there must be a traitor among his closest advisors.
When the King of Syria discovered the personal influence of this one, defenceless prophet, he sent his whole army to capture the man of God. Yet Elisha was able to boldly walk straight up to the leader of the invading army and lead them all into a trap. See 2Kings 6:8-20.
One solitary sovereign citizen can exercise greater clout than a king and his entire army. One solitary person who understands their right to stand in the presence of God can call down power and outcomes that cannot be bought with millions of dollars.
David was a lad, but he knew his sovereign right to stand in faith in his God. So David, the shepherd boy, killed the fiercest enemy warrior, Goliath.
King Saul’s son, Jonathan, knew that with God on his side he could beat a group of enemy soldiers, and so he did.
Gideon, reluctantly at first, discovered that a small group of soldiers with God on their side is no match for a huge army without God.
Personal sovereignty reigns supreme. That doesn’t mean that people can be anarchists, because the only way to exercise personal sovereignty is to be in submission to the will and purpose of God, Himself. It also doesn’t mean that people should defy the authorities under which God has placed them. But it does mean that those who will press in to God’s presence, and be the people God wants them to be, will be empowered to work the works of God, despite opposition and every resource that is thrown against them. Some will experience miraculous power and miraculous outcomes. Others, like the many martyrs in human history, will take a stand for God and pay for it with their lives.
Personal sovereignty starts with the realisation that we all have to fall at the feet of Almighty God and enter into relationship with Him, on His terms, for His purposes, despite the personal cost to ourselves. From there, there is no stopping you as you step out and fulfil the will of God in your life.