Sunday February 5, 2017 | Greg Boyd
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Faith is a reality-like vision (hupostasis) of what you hope for or anticipate (elpizo?) that creates the feeling that it is so (elegchos) even though it isn’t yet.
This initial sermon in our Overwhelmed series was a foundational message about the root of everything that holds us back. God has designed us to have power over our brain and our thought life and it is our responsibility to be disciples of our brain. We must fight against the cultural lies of our world by daily renewing our mind by focusing on who God says we are. Here is a link for the video that we played before the teaching.
Today we began our Overwhelmed series with this foundational message that will undergird all the messages in this series. Greg began by noting the five major categories that consistently showed up in a church survey about what holds us back from growing in God. These areas were addiction, unforgiveness, depression, shame and fear/control/anxiety. The focus of this message was to look more closely at the root of everything that holds us back from God.
God has designed us all to have power over our brain. We are more than our brains, and our Spirits are designed by God to govern our thinking. The Bible clearly assumes that we have control over our thought life and commands us to think about certain things that align with our true identity in Christ (Phil. 4:8). The problem is that we live in a cultures that enslaves us to a garbage-filled brain given to us by the culture.
Whatever source (culture or God) we give authority to tell us who we are, we are having faith in. This is consistent with the Darby translation of Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” True faith involves making your hope and expectation a concrete reality in your mind that leads to conviction and confidence. Faith is a life principle and we all live by faith; it is just a matter of where we are choosing to spend our mental energy.
One of the greatest indicators of discipleship is where we find our ultimate source of truth and hope. Can we really believe that there is a source of truth and identity more competent than our own brain? Will we put God’s voice ahead of our own voice? Romans 12:2 notes that our job is to fight against the patterns of this world by continually making new in our mind what God says is actually true about our identity. God proclaims that we are forgiven and freed, holy and blameless, filled with God’s Spirit, more than a conqueror and set free from the law of sin and death. This needs to be the narrative that we live by in our life and the way we remind our brain what is actually true about us.