This week Greg explored the difference faith can make in our attempts to “take captive every thought” in order to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Ultimately the point is to know the truth and let that truth transform your reality.
Our brains are something like computers…our brains react much faster to our thoughts and experiences than we are conscious of. This is evident in our basic communication. As you read the words on this page, you don’t have to stop and remember how each of these words is spelled and what each of these words means, this is all represented very efficiently in your mind already. These combinations of letters simply “trigger” what you already “know.” Our behavior and emotions are reactions to the way our brains are decoding reality around us. This is why the movie “The Matrix” is such a good analogy. It shows how it is possible for us to be fundamentally deceived about what is really true. Our brains can be lied to and our behavior will follow what we believe, even if we believe it wrongly (Matt. 9:29 “according to your faith let it be done to you” in other words, your “faith” what you believe substantially shapes the reality you are responding to in your behavior).
The challenge is in convincing your brain that it has been deceived and “reprogramming” it according to what is good and true (Phil. 4:8). But the Matrix is inconspicuous. It is closer to us than the nose on our face, as Greg put it. With our brains operating at lightning speeds and subconsciously, it takes serious reflection and a lot of help to reprogram our minds. But it is our responsibility to do this. We can become detectives of our own brains and seek out the lies that motivate our ungodly behavior. For Greg this meant identifying the lies and false pictures of who he was before he could overcome his urge to resolve frustration by swearing. He confronted the false faith he had, the faith he placed in a picture of himself that was less than God wanted for Greg. He needed to see a new picture of who God wants Greg to be and begin believing in that reality. As long as he believed he would fail, get frustrated and swear, it was almost inevitable that this would be true. But now that he knows the truth, that his is not a failure, he sometimes can fix things, and swearing doesn’t help, he sees a new picture of what the godly Greg Boyd would do in those situations and can begin to enter into that reality as future frustrations emerge.
Greg’s claim is that what we believe (our “faith”) is the central activity of the brain. It truly guides our behavior. Faith is not only for spiritual convictions, everyone expresses faith each time they act in a decisive manner. What we believe about our world, our faith about the future, can either set us free from the Matrix or it can keep us in bondage. Many examples of this were given: what your faith is about a gay couple you encounter will largely determine how you respond to them, what you believe about how God loves you will largely determine how you love others, and so forth. Frequently we define our faith as “for this” and “against that”. But if God is for us, who can be against us? If God died for all, how can we lack the faith to love all as well? We will never behave in accordance with this love until we truly change the way we think about others in our minds. If you are not intentional about the faith you hold about others, you need to know that there is someone who is. The enemy does indeed strategize for our defeat. The Matrix is the result. We must collapse all the faith we have that is inconsistent with love and install faith that believes all things and hopes all things. The reality that you, in faith, preview in your head is the future that you move toward.
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