Words That Control Us 4

We have seen that words have impact upon us and we can respond to attempts to gain control over us by various means.

Before we finish with this subject we need to consider how words impact us and what that might mean for us as we seek to remain free from their grip.  We can deflect people’s attempts to control us, but sometimes words invade our heart and mind with pervasive power that we cannot easily shrug off.

Map Overlay


If you have used a map program on your computer you know that you can click on and off various overlays.  For instance, you can have the map as a satellite image, with no roads, towns, borders or the like marked.  That, at the click of a key, an overlay of street names, town names, borders and boundaries and such like can instantly appear, superimposed over the image.

Now consider the significance of that for a moment.  The names and boundaries are not part of the natural landscape.  Whatever name you give to a road it is much like all the others in its vicinity.  The name is only a descriptor, not a component of the natural environment.

Some roads are called such things as “the mountain road” and everyone knows why.  Similarly the low road, the back road, the river crossing, and so on, have a natural element to their name.  But in London stretches of road will famously change name every kilometre or so, completely confusing anyone who does not know their way around.

The name or a road or town is an “overlay”.  And so too is the border between one county or nation and the next.  They are the product of words that impose a mental projection over the natural environment.

Living With Overlays

Whether you like it or not your whole existence is under siege by overlays.  The name your parents gave you, like the expectations of those around you, has been embraced into your life without natural reality.  And to show the point, consider how many people live with a pet name which is unrelated to their given name.  Which name is the right one?  Both are a projection over the natural life.

Impressions people have of you, including their prejudices for or against you, have profound impact on you.  Yet they are an overlay.  You were not born to be oppressed or limited by someone else’s opinion of you, nor to be chained by their words.  Yet many people end up imprisoned by the words of others.

I know of multiple examples of people whose lives were driven by a need to prove their intelligence, talent or significance, because at an early time they were sneered at because of a perceived limitation.  The urge to “prove yourself” is widely felt, and it speaks of the fact that an “overlay” has been imposed upon you which you are trying to shrug off.

Overlay or Description

God, as Creator and Lord of all, has the authority to describe and prescribe things.  The Bible gives insight into the various labels which God accepts, such as righteous and wicked, wise and fool, good and evil.

So some labels, or words used to describe us, are true descriptions.  Young, old, male, female, tall and short are descriptors.  But some of these worthy descriptions are open to change, such as from skinny to fat, young to old, brunette to grey haired, and so on.

God can even bring such transformation that a person who is cursed becomes one who is blessed.  A sinner can become a saint.  And, sadly, a righteous person can become wicked.

But, apart from those worthy descriptions which label the truth about us, at least in our present state, there are many “descriptions” which are impositions in themselves.

Fat and Ugly

A Christian minister described his attempts to assist a woman who struggled with self acceptance.  In one discussion with her she blurted out that she was “Fat and Ugly!”

The minister and his wife were shocked by the outburst, as the woman was slim and attractive.  So they investigated why she held such an opinion.  She explained that as a teenager she lived with an aunt who did not like her and with whom she argued.  On one memorable occasion the aunt became angry and screamed at the girl that she was fat and ugly.  The words not only stung, but became a permanent overlay in the woman’s life.

If you have been stigmatised by words, or felt limited by the descriptions injected into your life by others, then you know how words can become an overlay in your life.

Only an Overlay

While we think of a place, street or town in terms of the words we have learned to describe it, others, unaffected by the imposition, could come up with completely different ideas.  Your notions about things are often only an overlay.

What people in Melbourne think is hot weather is considered mild by people living in the north of Australia.  And what seems like heavy traffic to people in a country town is nothing to the intensity experienced in many cities around the world.  The individual perception is a personal overlay.

The suburb that some people think of as “home” is regarded by others as “the slums”.  What some think of as their big house is thought by others to be too small for their liking.

Relabelling

Since words are labels and those labels invade our thinking and become an overlay over our perceptions, relabelling things can be a powerful way to create a new overlay that invades people’s minds and changes perceptions.

Marketing companies do their best to put a good label and a positive spin on their product.  They want to associate their product with words that will invade the minds of the public with positive sentiment.

The arrival of refugees who don’t speak our language and who have strange customs could be labelled as an invasion and offensive against our identity, or an expression of our love and care for those in need.  The label is an overlay that impacts how we respond to the situation.

Sovereignty and Overlays

If you are created by God as a sovereign being, then how many overlays should you allow to entangle your freedom and rob you of the life God gave you?  If you are created equal to all others, how should your respond to labels that deny your equality?

When others impose labels over you that trap you into their claims upon you, denying you the natural life and freedom God gave you at birth, what should you do about it?

You may not be able to change other people’s perceptions, but you can certainly come to your own internal place of resolution about what labels and overlays you will accept upon your life.

Recognising Words

Having grazed widely through the subject of words that control us, the next thing to consider is how to be tuned in to the impact of words.

If we are attentive to the impositions, overlays and controls implicit in the words, labels, assertions and other expressions of those around us, including officials, governments, friends and society, we can hopefully assess and deflect those impositions.  We can even move into greater exploration of who we are.  So that is the topic of our next lesson.

Giving Up Sovereignty

In recent posts about going to Court I noted that people have power they do not realise they have. We are bluffed and deceived into giving up our authority, or, worse still, handing our authority over to others who then use it against us.

If you are irrational, unstable and otherwise a danger to yourself and others then you will be treated as a child and put under the authority of carers. If you are a mature, responsible adult, then you do not need to be treated as a ‘ward of the state’. However, those in power like you to let them act as your parent or guardian, so they can use your authority to advance the things they want to do.

Governments and courts want you to acquiesce, submit and let them do whatever they think best. While governments and courts are there to serve us (remember the term “public servant”) and we appreciate their positive contribution, they have no right to take our sovereignty from us or to treat us like children when we are responsible adults capable of determining what is best for us.

I hope that is a reasonable description of you, Hmmmm?

Just Give Up

defeated

Those who want to rule us unlawfully and impose statutes, rules, limitation, etc which we do not want or need, want us to just give up our freedom and give in to their demands. That is why official processes are often presented in a way to intimidate or bluff us into just giving up.

A man researched the laws in his country and realised he was completely within his rights to register his vehicle privately, instead of with the Government agency. When he wrote to the police about this a legal adviser for the police wrote back telling the man to give up and yield!

“The vast majority of your fellow subjects accept that their use of vehicles, carriages, conveyances etc, must be regulated and have acquiesced.”

Acquiescing

Regulation of our lives is all about our giving up our rights and acquiescing. Note in the quote above that the police adviser referred to “subjects”, not sovereigns. The authorities want us to see ourselves as subject to them.

The letter also uses the words “accept” and “acquiesced”, showing that it is up to the individual to agree. Many government regulations are not lawfully enforceable, but are just statutes that must be accepted by each person in order to hold sway.

Statutes do not have authority but the sovereign individual does! When a sovereign individual chooses to give authority to something, such as a statute, an official or a court, then those created entities can exert some influence over him, but only to the degree that he admits.

A statute is a rule or regulation “given the force of law” by those who choose to accept it as such, but, therefore, not having any innate lawful right to impose itself upon those who do not give it such force of law.

Come Under My Power

The courts and those who serve the State, those who serve statutory reality, often wish to trick sovereign individuals into yielding, acquiescing and giving the force of law to their statutory realities. When an individual man or woman yields to the demands made upon them they are stepping onto the “sticky paper” of the official or court process.

Governments and courts like to entangle us in a web of contracts and controls. Have you ever noticed how you are always asked to sign forms, make applications, fill out registration documents, sign here and sign there. You are asked to give your full name and expected to answer all questions. And so it goes. Each of these processes is part of getting you to stand on their sticky paper. Once you have stepped onto it you are stuck and entangled in their control mechanisms.

In the Bible the idea of “sticky paper” is presented in an extreme case as a Spider’s Web to snare the unwary. When evil prevails and justice and truth have been removed things get pretty ugly.

“None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eats of their eggs dies, and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper.” Isaiah 59:4,5

Invitations

Believe it or not many of the things you see as official orders which you cannot ignore are just invitations, needing you to acquiesce or give in so some authority can take power over you. For example, a summons is an invitation. Instructions from an official, court orders and government regulations are an “invitation” to a sovereign individual to yield their rights and give the force of law to the statutory context.

A notice is an offer. A notice of summons is an offer of an invitation. However, individuals are carefully trained to readily give the “force of law” to the entire statutory realm and all government appointees. Thus those individuals fall immediately under the power of the statutory realm, by their unthinking acquiescence.

Now you are welcome to accept an invitation. But you are also welcome to decline. You don’t have to go to every party you get invited to. When a bully invites you to a fight you don’t have to turn up.

Give Honour

The best way to decline an invitation or offer is to do so without dishonour. Dishonour involves rejecting the one making the offer. When you reject an invitation or offer the person making it could feel offended, as if you are rejecting them.

So the best way to decline an offer is to give it “conditional acceptance”. That is where we accept the other party’s offer or claim, conditional upon them providing some additional qualification. That might be, for example, proving their right to that claim.

A variation of this conditional acceptance is to seek further information and clarification, which is your right to do. In such a case you are not rejecting the offer but requiring sufficient further information to be sure the offer is valid and beneficial to you.

Protect Your Assets

You have a right to protect what is yours. And one of the most valuable things you have to protect, for yourself and your family, is your freedom. You have the right to protect your freedom.

If people want to bring you under their power and authority it is reasonable to stop and question if they have the right to do so. To what degree do you need to cooperate? What power do they really have if you decline their invitations or demands? Do they have the right to make the demands they want to make?

I expect that investigating these things will be a long and interesting process. You may not have enough interest to bother. But please be cautioned. If you do not determine to protect your freedom you can be sure that it will be taken from you and compromised in some way. You may already have lost most of the freedoms God gave you.

Do you know how to get them back?

Politics in the Bible

Expanding a point made in a recent post about God’s Supremacy [The Supreme God] I want to celebrate with you the place of God in politics, by showing you politics in the Bible.

God as the Ultimate Political Figure

Reading through Isaiah recently I was struck by the familiar words of Isaiah 66:1.

“Thus says the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build to me? And where is the place of my rest?”

I was reminded of Isaiah’s vision, described in Isaiah 6:1.

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.”

There is no more powerful political symbol than the throne. While some modern monarchs are reduced to a mere formal role in their society, the throne still bears the age-old significance of ultimate authority.

Of Thrones

The fact that God is seated on a throne immediately speaks of his political authority. Thrones are the places from which the rulers speak. It is their place of power over all in their dominion.

Yet thrones do not always prevail. That is to say that one kingdom will be overthrown by another and the old throne of authority will be displaced. This has been the process of history. Kingdoms come and go and kings reign for a season before being replaced by an alternative kingdom.

God’s Enduring Throne

The Bible tells us that God is on a throne. That throne is special in several ways. It is ‘supreme’ in several ways.

Firstly God’s throne is in heaven. His is not an earthly throne that draws its scope from earthly territory. God’s throne is in heaven, so its scope spreads from there. Earthly geography is just a small portion of the realm over which His throne presides.

Secondly, God’s throne is an eternal throne. It is not vulnerable nor will it ever be replaced by some competitor, or superior force from another land.

“Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of your kingdom is a right sceptre.” Psalm 45:6

Historical Evidence

God’s primacy as the supreme political force in human history should be evident in human history. If it cannot be seen in practice then its reality becomes irrelevant.

Do we see God interfering with human political process? Do we see God exercising His personal political authority over the political affairs of men?

The short answer is ‘Yes’. So let me summarise some of the historical evidences.

Confrontation of Rulers

We see that God’s people were able to confront kings and act completely independently of the prevailing political landscape. God’s people were able to defy kings and rulers, without resorting to violence and without recourse from those they confronted.

Consider the examples of Moses challenging Egypt’s Pharaoh and of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego defying Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar.

Pre-emptive Prophetic Announcement

To prove God’s hand in the political affairs of men we have several examples of God pre-emptively announcing what would happen politically in the future.

God told Abraham about the defeat of Egypt half a millennium before it happened. Daniel prophesied of Alexander the Great and his achievements before they occurred.

God gave Nebuchadnezzar a summary of world kingdoms and their relative significance spanning many centuries into the future.

The prophets warned Israel and Judah of their captivities long before the various invasions and conquests took place.

Present Day Evidences

Current evidence of God being still on the throne and supreme over the events of human politics includes the existence of the nation of Israel. Prophecies of this restoration, against all the odds of human history, were made in Bible times, dating back almost 2,000 years.

The existence of the political entity of Israel is clear evidence that God’s place over the affairs of nations persists to this day.

Another evidence is the persistent ability of righteousness to prevail. If God was not involved in the political affairs of present-day human experience then the opportunity for evil to prevail would be enormous. Yet we see that righteousness still prevails. Evil processes, regimes and purposes, while able to emerge for a season, are brought down and replaced by that which is more reasonable and blessed.

Good Men of Good Intent Still Prevail

Despite the enormous economic and political influence of those who wish to exploit, control and abuse others, men and women of good intent continue to prevail. People with nothing on their side but principle, faith and character have been able to topple regimes, change laws, liberate people and change culture.

This is evidence of God’s sovereignty. God promises His people that if they will do such inane acts (in apparent practical terms) as repent and pray, they will have power and influence over the affairs of life. These otherwise insignificant men and women can achieve much, and they still do today.

God is Still on the Throne

God is the Lord of all the earth. His throne is in heaven and His eyes are on the earth. Any one individual who will be God’s agent in any situation or culture can prevail against all the forces known to man.

No political power, economic contract or military infrastructure can overthrow God, nor can it frustrate the man or woman who is acting in God’s supreme authority in the affairs of mankind on the earth.

The Supreme God

The God identified in the Bible as Almighty God stands as the supreme being of all existence. To illustrate the profound significance of his being allow me to show His supremacy in the core areas of human existence.

Human Existence

Human existence and human life experience are governed by a range of structures, systems and realities. For the purpose of this article let me identify a set of those core areas of human existence.

Individuality is a core issue in human experience. We are all individuals, unique from every other person and creature.

Family is also a core issue, since we are all brought into the world as a result of the actions of others. Those parents and the family from which they come are a reality we cannot ignore.

Society is also a basic issue of human existence. We all live in some form of society with at least some form of social inter-action with others. The society may be a village or a city, and it may be a small group of associates we meet face to face or a global set of friends linked by a virtual social network.

Religion is yet another core issue of human existence. Even those who ignore religion must recognise that much of society and human history is deeply influenced by religious thought and process.

Politics is also included in this list, as societies manage their processes through leaders, elected officials or others who take charge over them, for better or for worse.

Law is another basic issue, whether in the form of human conscience or highly developed legal processes. Law stands apart from politics because political entities are not exempt from, nor lords over, legal processes.

Commerce should also be included in a list of structures and systems which impact our human existence.

Education and Communication are also components of our life experience, whether they are in definable systems or not, so let’s throw them into the mix for good measure.

God’s Supremacy

Let me now review this list of systems and processes and point out where God stands in relation to each of them. You will see that God is ‘supreme’ in every sphere.

Individuality: Our personal individuality cannot stand independent of God. God is supreme over our personal independence and individual uniqueness. God, as our creator, is the master of our whole existence, being the very author of our individuality and existence. So God rules supreme over every individual, no matter how defiant he or she may be in asserting a right to unique existence. They are the pot which the potter has made (Jeremiah 18:1-11) and their individuality has no existence outside of God, who rules supreme.

Family: We are each the product of a ‘father’ and ‘mother’, no matter how casual the relationship may have been which caused us to be conceived. We also come under the influence of those who are not our biological parents but who function in the capacity of father and mother in our lives, by nurture, mentoring or the like. Yet God is the supreme parent. He is our Father in heaven, as Jesus revealed (Matthew 6:9). He is our ultimate ancestor, as the lineage of Christ reveals in Luke 3:38. Christ’s family line is traced back to Adam, as is true for all of us, and we are told that Adam is the “son of God”. So, in terms of ‘family’ God is supreme. He is the most wonderful father ever imaginable, but He is also our ultimate ancestor. We are all His children by virtue of our natural birth as descendents of Adam.

Society: God is the ultimate source of social reality. While it is people who collectively create social entities it is God who has the most profound power over social interaction. When two or more people (society) gather in His name He joins their group (Matthew 18:20). But God is able to do more than just participate. It is He who is able to change the social experience for that group of people or their relationship with other groups of people. Ephesians 2:14 speaks of the ministry of Jesus Christ as the one who makes disparate groups compatible and who removes the social barriers which separate them. God is supreme over social experience.

Religion: God is clearly supreme in this dimension because He is the God above all gods (Exodus 15:11). Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). All the religion of earth pales into insignificance against the heavenly temple and religious practice which is described for us in Hebrews 9:11 and 12,24. God is supreme over all religious reality, because He operates out of the heavenly temple with spiritual processes which have eternal impact, not temporary significance.

Politics: Here again God is the clearly supreme being. Christ is described as the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16). And the kingdoms of this world are taken under the supremacy of God (Revelation 11:15). Politics is clearly an area where God rules supreme – even though most politicians probably react to that notion. They may not mind whatever claims God makes theoretically, but many would not like God to exercise His lordship over them in practice.

Law: Once again this is not an area where there is any doubt. God is supreme over all legal process, because He is the judge of us all. The flood of Noah’s day and the destruction of the great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are historical testimony of God’s legal supremacy. His Great White Throne judgement (Revelation 20:11,12) will call everyone to legal account, including all the kings, high court judges, magistrates and potentates who have exercised any level of legal authority over another.

Commerce: Commercial practice is regulated by God and overturned by Him. God demands just weights and balances, so commerce is honest and equitable. God limits the capacities for the charging of interest on borrowed monies. And God calls people to find provision in Him, completely independently of commercial process – “come buy without money” Isaiah 55:1. God is also supreme over those processes by which people seek to make commercial gain. God controls the crops, the completion of the building project and whether the money goes through holes in your bag. Commerce is not independent of God, but subject to God’s blessing or frustration. God is supreme over commerce.

Education & Communication: The revelation of God, through the Bible, is the most supreme education and communication in all of human history. No announcement or instruction has ever matched God’s Word in personal, social and national impact, throughout the entirety of human history. All of the news channels, universities, schools of philosophy and so on are lame when compared with the power of God’s word in the mouth of a child or God’s communications in the heart of a frail old man. God is supreme over all these processes and he will hold us accountable for every word which we speak, so teachers, media and entertainers are subject to God’s supremacy in their roles.

God is Supreme

This summary document should alert you to the truth that God is supreme. All those who beat their chests and seek to impress you with their pre-eminence should be recognised as humble and insignificant when compared to God’s presence in your life and circumstances.

I call you out of the tyranny and beguilement of those who wish you to come under their influence. I call you back to the simplicity and power of working with the one who is supreme and not getting entangled with those who wish to displace Him in your world.

The Bible as a Political Text

The world has many celebrated political texts which illuminate various political perspectives. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a political treatise in story form. His “1984” is similarly charged with political messages. Hitler had his Mein Kampf. Marx relied on Darwin’s Origin of Species. Mao had his Little Red Book. Political texts come from the Greeks and Romans, along with many writings from before and since.

The Political Bible

But have you ever considered the Bible as a Political Text? I had never given the matter any thought until recently. I had unconsciously ascribed the Bible to the “Religion” Category. Many people who oppose the Bible are keen to promote it as nothing more than a book of religious sentiment. Sadly, unthinking Christians (and I include myself in this category) have allowed unbelievers to tell us how we can use the book God gave us.

Consider the Evidence

The Bible is the book from which a whole nation was governed for thousands of years. Did you get that word ‘governed’? The Bible supervised the Jewish nation through the stages of personal sovereignty, communal governance, prophetic leadership, judges, kings, priests and messianic ministry.

The Bible prescribes personal responsibility, communal accountability, leadership jurisdiction, limitations of power, prescribed punishments for crimes, payments of levies, interplay of priest and civic leaders, court procedures and so on.

And not only are these things discussed in practice and theory, they are demonstrated in the accounts of people’s lives.

Living in a Political World

Daniel and his three friends lived under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar and successfully confronted that king’s authority, relying on the principles given in the Bible.

Moses confronted the political power of Pharaoh, doing most of his business with that world ruler in Pharaoh’s own court.

Abraham dealt directly with the Abimelech (Canaanite leader) of his day, and so too did Isaac.

Jesus Christ was tried and crucified in the Roman courts and the Apostle Paul made many appearances before Roman appointed rulers.

The people of the Bible interacted with political powers and relied on the teachings of the Bible to empower them and to determine how they stood before those kings.

Some Amazing Political Statements

Consider this quick pick of hot political statements straight from the pages of the Bible.

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” Jesus Christ, Mark 12:17

“Jesus answered, You could have no power at all against me, except it were given you from above: therefore he that delivered me to you has the greater sin.” Jesus Christ, John 19:11

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1Peter 2:17

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
Have Another Look

I trust that these few examples are enough to fire up your interest in the Bible as a Political Text. You just might be amazed at the political wisdom and the personal authority you can operate by, once you see what the Bible is really saying.