Forgetfulness, Dreams, Insomnia
Spiritual Life # 75
Forgetfulness, Dreams, Insomnia
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I’d like to be talking about our subject of the mind because it is, oh, just something to be thankful to God for, that with that dear brother Bitterman, coming into Jesus’ presence this weekend, that Mark and Sharon are going out, and thousands more of us. So that really, the martyrs — the blood of the martyrs — is really the seed of the church. And it will be loved ones, if we get ourselves into a practical expression of Jesus to the world.
And that’s what we’re talking about in these particular Sunday evenings. And I’ll tell you what the danger is. The danger is that the great religious movement that undoubtedly is taking place in the United States will not get outside the United States. That’s the danger. And any of us, who have any knowledge of church history, or any experience of real revivals, know that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. And the proof as to whether this is a real movement of God’s Spirit among us that has taken place since the Jesus movement 10 years ago, will be the outflow or the lack of outflow to the world aboard.
And I would just point out to you that it isn’t terribly impressive at the moment. It isn’t. And I think it has partly to do with this subject that we’re discussing tonight. There seems a great danger that many of us who believe in Jesus and love him, and who even have been filled with his Holy Spirit, that we may settle down in Zion to enjoy his presence, and that we may get caught up completely with the whole inner experience of God’s Spirit. Really! And that that Spirit will never reach certain loved ones in countries abroad, because many of us children of God are imprisoning his Spirit within us.
And one of the ways we’re doing it, honestly I believe is, due to the subject of tonight’s study. Many of us have said, “Ah, there was the tree of life and there was the tree of knowledge. That was the choice. And we should have chosen life, but we chose knowledge. Now, knowledge is wrong, wrong, wrong! And anything to do with knowledge is wrong. And all you need is the life of the Holy Spirit.”
And then you remember what we do, we take other verses in scripture such as that one in Romans 8:7 which runs, “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God. It is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be.” And we say, “There you see, anything to do with knowledge, anything to do with using your mind, it’s of Satan; it’s hostile to God. Even Paul said, ‘I determined to know nothing about men’s wisdom or the words of men’s wisdom.’” And there are great numbers of us today in Christendom who are imprisoning the Spirit of Christ within our own Spirits so that he cannot get out at all because we have cut off the one method that he has of getting himself abroad! And that is our precious minds!
And loved ones, really the only way Mark and Sharon will ever get to Holland is by actually using the old mind to get down to settling, “Well love, is this what we should be doing with our lives? And if it is, are we going to go now or are we going to wait?” And loved ones, too many of us don’t do that. We say, “Well, let’s wait. Let’s wait upon the Lord. And when the Lord moves us we will go.” And 30 years later we’re still sitting here waiting for the Lord to move us, because we’re terribly afraid of using our minds.
And loved ones, the only way to get abroad is to use your mind. They have to buy tickets! They have to get onto a plane. However unspiritual it may seem, however unholy it may seem, they have to get onto a plane! And they have to go across there to Holland. And they have to live in conditions that may not at all be heavenly, or may not be very spiritual, or may not be very exciting. But, that is what is involved in Jesus getting abroad inside of you. And really, the stable was not very spiritual, was not very holy, was not very like a cathedral. It was a very dirty smelly place. But Jesus came down into that place and as a result you and I are able to live forever.
But loved ones, it only comes about when you begin to use the old mind, really. And I think enough of you have been involved in the Jesus movement as I was, to know that one of the dreadful things that we came up against in the Jesus movement was the whole benefit that we got first of all, from the gifts, and then the whole misinterpretation that we indulged in, in the gifts. And you remember, many of us would experience the glory, and the praise — and it’s a blessing to me in my private prayers to experience the glory of tongues where the Holy Spirit takes a hold of your spirit and lifts you up into the presence of Jesus and you allow your spirit to pour out before him. And it is edifying, it builds you up.
But many of us took that experience and said, “That’s the norm. It’s really not God’s will that anybody should know what we’re praising God for. It’s not God’s will that anybody should be able to join in with us. It’s just God’s will that we should experience this continued ecstasy and express it in unknown language to God.”
Well you remember what Paul says about that if you look at it in 1 Corinthians 14:9. “So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one known what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. Therefore, he who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may give thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all; nevertheless in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
Now loved ones, I think the tragedy is not just in regards to tongues, because maybe more of us need to speak in tongues and have the freedom of speaking in tongues. But the tragedy is that we have carried that same pattern of behavior into all the other gifts of the Spirit. So we have heard about the gift of wisdom, and we have heard about the gift of prophesy. And too many of us have determined, “That’s the only way to go. That’s the only way to minister. Don’t use your mind to prepare teachings, or presentations, or sermons. Just stand up there and just, ‘It’ll come and if it doesn’t come well, you shouldn’t be there any way.’”
And too many of us therefore are not there any way. We’re sitting in our seats, sitting on our bottoms doing nothing for Jesus because we’re refusing to pass onto our minds what God gave us an experience of, in our spirits. And so there are great numbers of us who are taking the gifts of the
Spirit and are using them as an excuse to put our souls to sleep, to put our minds to sleep, and our emotions, and our wills.
And so what happens next is our spirits fall asleep also. And loved ones, I would just point out to you what I mentioned to you last Sunday that the only way that God’s dear Spirit can get through from your spirit to the rest of the world is through that dear soul of yours. That’s the only way. And if you say to me, “Oh now brother, aren’t there times when we sing in tongues and then of course, the mind is not used and yet the Holy Spirit brings a oneness among us?” Yes! But tell me this; was that the normal pattern for evangelism in the New Testament church? And I’m for tongues, and I’m for the gifts, but was that the normal pattern for Evangelism? It wasn’t.
God gave those gifts at certain times when those gifts were necessary. He still gives those gifts at certain times when they’re necessary. But loved ones, that is no excuse for us sinking back into passivity of soul. And that’s what many of us have done. Many of us have allowed our minds to go absolutely to sleep and to become passive. And then we wonder why we’re not being used by God.
Now loved ones, there is no way in which you will be used by God unless you obey the first commandment, “Thou shalt love thy Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And unless that mind is a precious thing that God has given to you, and unless you use it — it is the captain in a sense of our soul — it is your mind determines – loved ones, I can’t open that book unless I use my mind. I can’t. I can’t tell you what the word ‘cosmos’ means unless I use my mind. I can’t tell you how to abide in Christ unless I use my mind to expound his dear word so that you can understand it. Moreover, unless I use my mind I cannot really communicate with you what is your need in Jesus. You have to use your mind to minister God to others. And you have to use your mind to get going for Jesus in the world.
And I submit to you that many of you are not abroad at this moment, many of you are sitting exactly where you were five years ago because you’re waiting for something that will never come. You’re waiting for God to sweep you, by his Spirit, off your feet and to overrule your free will and mind and to move you abroad. He won’t.
He is committed to you possessing your souls. That’s really it! That’s really it! You remember, it’s that verse, “Posses your soul in patience.” God is waiting for you to come into possession of your soul.
What we said last day was the mind of the flesh, the mind that is controlled by the body, the mind that manipulates the world to get security, that is against God. But God wants you to possess that mind, and to possess that soul, and to bring it unto the control of your spirit so that it expresses your spirit. And only that way are we going to be used by Jesus.
And so I would just encourage those of you who are really concerned about the world to begin to see that you have to work out in deductive detail in your own life what love Jesus has put in your spirit for himself and for others. If you don’t do that you’re going to be like poor Jud in Oklahoma [The musical named Oklahoma]. You are! And “poor Jude is dead,” you remember, “A candle lights his head.” And then, you remember, how it goes, he loved everybody. He loved the little birds. He loved every little creature. He loved all his neighbors. But he never let on. He never showed it to anybody. Oh, he loved them all, but he never let any of them know. And you’re going to be like that, unless the mind comes into action.
What I wanted to share tonight was some of the symptoms of a mind that is passive. Some of the symptoms of a mind that is not being activated or used and therefore has gone passive and is in fact beginning to be — as we shared last Sunday — obsessed by evil spirits. And because the facts are so vivid, and because so many of us will immediately rise in our seats and say, “Yeah, that’s it. I want to read them in detail.”
Dreams. You remember, Joseph had dreams. And so dreams are used by God to communicate to us things that we could not otherwise receive from him. So there are dreams that are sent by God. There are dreams that are sent by eating too much turkey, or too much pudding. There are just dreams that are prompted by your physiological or anatomical structure and by its activity. Any other dream comes from the evil one: dreams that fill our minds with hideous and grotesque things that we ourselves never think of normally. And that’s the clue you see. If you ever want to know, “Oh well is this coming from myself or is this coming from Satan?” Ask yourself, “Do I normally think of these things? Do I normally think these grotesque thoughts? Do I normally have these dreadful pictures in my mind?” And loved ones, when you experience that kind of thing in dreams at night, that is the work of evil spirits.
And it’s not actually the work of evil spirits that is made possible by an overactive mind; it’s the work of evil spirits that occur because of an inactive mind, because of a mind that is not being used as God wants it to be. And so, whenever you have dreams that are not from God and that you can’t track down to an eight o’clock feast — when you have dreams that can’t be tracked to either of those things, see that the dreams are from evil spirits and resist them in Jesus’ name. And when you go to bed the next night, kneel down. Kneel down at your bedside and learn and memorize Philippians 4. You remember, “Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on those things.” And think on those things before you go to sleep.
But, realize that you’re not meant to waken up in the morning worn out because of the dreadful dreams. You know the effect it has. It makes you think you’ve dreamt the whole night! That’s it! The dream probably only takes a second or half a second, but you get the feeling that you’ve been dreaming the whole night. And so you waken up just worn out. You’ve worked harder at night than you did during the day. And that isn’t God’s will for us. Our minds are meant to continue at night — apart from God’s own intervention –they’re meant to continue at night in as peaceful a way as they continue during the day. So, when dreams occur, it’s because you are allowing somebody else to use your mind. That’s the most sensible conclusion isn’t it? If your mind is producing things you don’t want to think of yourself, well it must be somebody else that is using your mind.
Insomnia: You put your head on the pillow, but you mind as well be standing up straight, because the mind doesn’t stop. It just rolls right on. ‘Old man river,’ just on! Nothing will stop it. It just carries right on as if it’s continuing with the detective story that you just saw on the television, or continue with the book you were just reading, or most of all, connecting with the problem, continuing with the problem that you were dealing with during the day at work. And then you know what happens? It’s as if the mind has its own momentum because you think, “Now, what could I do? What could I do? What do I want to do in that situation? What could I do? What should I do tomorrow? Yeah, I could do that. No, I can’t do that. Alright, but let me think, oh yes I could do that.” And the mind just goes on.
And if you’ve had my experience of it, there comes a moment when you know fine well that enough is enough. And you know that. And the conscience tells you that. But you think, “Oh, I’ll just think
another half minute.” And about an hour later you realize that you aren’t asleep. And for some of us it can be three o’clock in the morning and we still realize we’re not asleep. Now loved ones, that’s the evil one, you see. That’s the evil one getting his way, maybe by deception, but very often not even deception. He has such control of our thought processes that he just keeps them on turning as if it wasn’t night time at all. That isn’t God’s will.
And of course, you waken up with a heavy head, with a real sense of despondency, and a real sense of depression, and with no sense of that refreshing that obviously all the dear little birds feel in the morning when they waken up bright, and breezy, and ready to go. But you waken up as if you’ve just completed a night’s work. Now, it isn’t God’s will. It isn’t God’s will for us not to sleep. Night time is for sleeping. And it’s God’s will for us to sleep at night.
Now, I think some of us come up against an issue that I think Joel mentioned to me last Sunday. And he was saying, “You know, I’ve experienced sometimes what you’ve said about the mind going on, and on, and on. And I’ll tell you when I’ve experienced it. When I’ve been talking with someone and I didn’t express things as I really should have and then I go home and I think it over. And I think, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have said it that way. He’s misunderstood me. I should have put it this way.’” And he said, “My mind keeps on going and going and I think, ‘How could I have done it differently?’” And then he said to me, “You know what I discovered? I discovered that I wasn’t able to stop my mind churning unless I continued to stand in the center of the death with Jesus on the cross — unless I stood on Calvary ground.”
And what was the Calvary ground? Oh, Jesus looked down from the cross and he saw them jeering at him. And he saw them in another corner criticizing him. And he saw the Roman soldiers regarding him as a political criminal. And he saw even his disciples not understanding him. And he was at peace. He was willing to be misunderstood by everybody. And he died to the right to be understood by anybody. And what Joel said was, “Until I died to my right to be understood, until I was willing to accept my place on Calvary ground with Jesus, and was willing to accept I ‘was’ misunderstood and I’m going to be misunderstood a thousand more times through my life. But I’m willing to be misunderstood.” Only then was he able to bend his mind after what God wanted.
Now loved ones, it’s the same with the insomnia. It is. Because we keep thinking over the events that we’re going to face tomorrow. And God says to us, “Have no anxiety about anything, but by prayer and supplication let your request be mad e known to God.” And we will not, because we want tomorrow to go the way we want it to go. And that’s why we find it impossible to turn our minds off. In other words loved ones, the only way you’ll be able to control your thoughts and bring every thought into captivity of Christ Jesus, and to get to sleep is if you say, “Lord Jesus, I was crucified with you. I’ve died. I have no future. It’s not my future tomorrow. It’s yours. Lord, whatever you want to do with it, that’s good for me. And if it means pain for me I accept whatever you have for me. If it means success, I accept it. If it means defeat, I accept it. Lord, it’s in your hands. I take my place with you on the cross and I die to any future that I might have.”
Loved ones, only then, only when you’re ready to let tomorrow go with Jesus, will you find yourself able to turn off the ‘spigot’ of those thoughts, those pouring torrential thoughts. So it’s worth maybe remembering that. It isn’t simply, you see, a case of the power of positive thinking, or ‘control your mind’. It certainly is exercising your mind after Godliness, but only on the basis of Calvary. Only on the basis of your death with Jesus and your readiness for whatever he wants will you be able to do it.
Some of the other things loved ones, that I’m sure you’ve had: The old business of forgetfulness. Forgetting different things that you should bring with you! Forgetting things in the middle of a sentence! Forgetting things that you’ve been told! Forgetting things that you’ve read in a book and you want desperately to remember! Loved ones, your mind is the most complex computer that the universe will ever see. And your mind was made to remember. And Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring all things back to your remembrance. And when the Holy Spirit rules in your life, and you love him, and you obey him, your mind can remember — actually even non-Christian scientists say it — can remember everything that ever took place in your life.
And when forgetfulness comes in, it is because there is some other power using your mind and forcing it into an activity. Especially, those of us who have normally good memories! There are many of us with good memories, and yet we come to a certain situation, and it’s important to remember the thing, and suddenly it goes out of our mind. Now, that isn’t normal. You can see that. It isn’t a normal pattern that follows from everything that has gone before in your life. And it’s a clear indication that Satan is using the passivity you have allowed your mind to sink into.
Reject it! Just refuse it! Refuse it. Often it takes some acceptance of our death with Christ because many of us use our forgetfulness as an excuse. We use it as an excuse to be let off the hook on some things. Or we use it as an excuse to explain us not acting or not doing something. And so it is vital that we take our place with Jesus on the cross and say, “Lord, whatever you want me to do I’ll do. Whenever you want me to do it, I’ll do it. I don’t want any excuses, Lord. I don’t want any excuse for not doing what you want.” And so, many of us maybe, have to ask the Holy Spirit to show us certain ground that we have to take with Jesus there.
But loved ones, forgetfulness and bad memory is not what God has planned for you. And actually, your memory can operate efficiently however old we are. Because some of us, as we get older, think, “Oh yeah. Well that’s alright when you’re young.” Now, you only have to look at those dear geniuses that were used by God in old age, to see that the memory does not need to fail. “As your years are so will your strength be,” is God’s promise. And no, there’s no reason for it to fail.
I think I told you of the hold that Satan certainly had on me. “Well, you think real deep, and good, and big thoughts, and so you can’t be expected to remember that your shoe isn’t tied. I mean, you’re involved in too many big things to remember little things like that.” And some of us like to think, “Oh well, I’m kind of an intuitive, ‘poetic type’, so okay, alright for my wife. I mean, she’s a barbarian scientist! She ought to be able to remember. But me? No, no, I ought to be just able to swing in and out, and sometimes remember and sometimes I forget, but so do all geniuses.” And that was it. The forgetful professor!
And Satan likes to persuade us – or, I think David Johnson and I have talked about it — likes to persuade us who are artists or poetic in some way that, “Oh yes, we’re justified in forgetting.” Loved ones, it’s a lie of Satan. The memory is good, and the mind is able to remember if we will simply exercise it. And it is important to exercise it. You remember Nee talks somewhere of ‘Holy Spirit memory’, where the Holy Spirit is well able to enable you to remember a revelation that God has given you in exactly the way it was given.
And how many of us have had trouble there? God has said something to us as we’ve gone down a street, or he’s given something to us in Bible study, and we’ve thought, “Oh, I need to remember that.” And then we get halfway through the day and we can’t remember it and then a little voice says, “Oh well, maybe you weren’t meant to remember it. I mean, God just gave you that for the
And of course it’s a lie of Satan. God gave you it so you would be able to remember it and would be able to give it to somebody else at the right time. And the Holy Spirit is able to give you the memory of it exactly as you received it. And I really do think brothers and sisters, that many of us are sinking into passivity willingly and knowingly in areas like that. And we simply attribute it all to some strange way we think the Spirit has of working. Really, that’s it!
And I think maybe there’s pride in it. You remember, Malvolio is one of the Shakespeare characters that says, “I’m not as other men are. I’m not as other men are.” And I wonder how many of us think, “Oh yeah, we’re filled with the Spirit so we’re not as other men are. And the other poor souls have to work for what they’ve got, but not us. We just moon around, and the Holy Spirit gives it to us. Deep things, deeper than anybody else could have.” And I wonder how much we’re losing just through, really what is just simple pride. Loved ones, only if we’re using our mind with all of our being, and with all of our strength will God give us in our spirits what he wants us to have.
Lack of concentration: I think that many of us fight it because we did not concentrate at school. And we’re hyperkinetic, and never, never, never settle down to even read one book from cover-to-cover. So undoubtedly Satan has a festival time in many of our lives who have never learned to concentrate.
But loved ones, unfortunately there are those of us here who do know how to concentrate, but we find that at certain times in a Bible study group, or at certain times when we’re studying a certain book, or a certain piece of scripture, or we’re listening to a sermon, or we’re in a service, we find suddenly concentration just goes. And you can almost guess who is doing that. There is only one person that will benefit from you not getting something that God is giving you through another book or through another person. There is only one person that will benefit if a service has a spirit of dissipation in it, because the minds are going in all directions. And of course, it is the evil one. And so when you face an inability to concentrate, realize that it’s absolutely opposite to Jesus’ command through his servants, “Bring every thought into captivity of Christ Jesus.”
Loved ones, your mind is given you to concentrate. Your mind can concentrate. But many of us you see, even those of us who try to counsel other people — have you ever noticed this — you’re trying to help somebody and your mind is not able to follow on with what they’re saying? And they’re saying something, and your mind is a way off ‘wool gathering’. And then you say to yourself, “Oh well, thank goodness that God is keeping me from listening to all that garbage, because he’s going to give me something straight from heaven for this person.” And then it comes to the moment and we just pass off something that again, Satan just pops into our mind, and so we give it to them.
But we’re unable to concentrate and to follow a person through in their conversation. And of course, they know it themselves, because you know when a person loves you, you can sense they’re right with you. You feel that. You feel, “Oh they’re right with – yeah, he sees what I understand – yeah, oh yeah.” So you’re encouraged yourself to be more open with the person. But many of us are unable to concentrate even when we’re doing the one thing we think we were meant to do, explain Jesus to others, we’re unable to concentrate, to listen to their conversation and their explanation.
Now loved ones, that is not God’s will. God’s will is that your mind should be absolutely sharp, and absolutely disciplined, and should be able to follow every thought and bring every thought back. But huge numbers of us are becoming useless to God, because our minds are not used at all. Really, there are great numbers of Christians in the world who are absolutely no use to God, because they can’t rub two thoughts together for two seconds consecutively. They have no ability to hold thoughts in their mind, or to arrange thoughts, or to examine thoughts, or to analyze thoughts. That’s why heresies come. You know that.
[Whitehead [Alfred North Whitehead, 1861–1947, a British mathematician, logician and philosopher](cid:160)who worked with Einstein, talked about dead wood in education. He talked about dead wood as ideas that are accepted into the mind without being examined or compared with other ideas that are already in the mind. I’m sure you must be amazed at the blank contradictions in things like the trial you remember? Yeah, we think the jury should be changed because they observed Shue attacking the poor lady and cutting her, and that might prejudice them. And the mind just boggles at that kind of logic. I mean, you think, “I’m in Disneyland.” But you can’t think, “I’m in a civilized country.”
And your mind must often have been bewildered by the contradictions that we seem able to endure in our minds today. But that’s how heresies come about in Christianity, you see, because, loved ones are not able to store in their minds the truth of scripture. And therefore another thought pops in and they accept it without examining it, or without comparing it with the thoughts that are already in their minds. And so many of us are useless to God.
We find it so, of course, when we started in the businesses you can guess. We had a strong belief that if you made pea soup with so many peas — this is heresy I’m sure — so many peas and — I believe water, that would be safe — so many peas and so much water today, we didn’t have to bother remembering how many peas we used or how much water, “Tomorrow is a new day! The day of salvation! The Holy Spirit will tell us!” Really! Really, it sounds wild. But at the beginning of our operation about 10 years ago in Fish [Fish Enterprises with restaurants, manufacturing, retail and wholesale outlets, was a company formed by people in Campus Church], we were continually plagued by that attitude in all of us, “Well, we don’t need to use our minds. Running a Christian business – you see, the difference between running a Christian business and running a non-Christian business is that poor old non-Christians have to work like crazy. They have to use their minds and think. And we Christians, we don’t. We just –we’re going for a sauce pan and I say, ‘Holy Spirit show me where the sauce pan is.’”
Except that the Holy Spirit didn’t show us where the sauce pan was! And we had to start learning to put the sauce pan or the kettle back in the place we got it so that the other poor soul from the other restaurant would be able to find it. And loved ones, honestly I think that many of us are useless to God because we will not use our minds in our jobs and our businesses.
I don’t know how many of you are involved in that in your business or your job. But I think a great many of us are believing Satan’s lie, “I’m a secretary. That has nothing to do with Christianity or with being a missionary.” “I’m an architect. That has nothing to do…” “I’m an accountant. That has nothing to do…” “I’m a carpenter. That has nothing to do with it. So, boy I’ll just do this job as quickly as I can, and get really to the ‘important stuff’ at night when I attend the Bible studies.” Well, loved ones, all the time –we’re of course making a pitiful witness for Jesus to our fellow workers — but all the time we’re getting our mind more and more passive in our work. And our work itself is not bringing God’s world into submission to his will. It is in fact,
increasing the anarchy and chaos.
And that’s what we found happened. And eventually we saw that this would be bankruptcy if we did not begin to use our minds in our businesses. And so our Christian businesses work very much on the same lines as ordinary businesses. We have lists of instructions for waiters and waitresses. We have lists of instructions and directions for the chefs. We have all kinds of directions for the manufacturing people who produce the plaques. We have everything organized. We know what our receivables are. We know what our receipts are for each day. We know what our assets are. We know what we can use our assets against in bank loans. You use your mind. Otherwise, if you don’t, you will be the world’s victims and you will be, most of all, the victim and the ploy of Satan. And so when you begin to use your mind, do see that it’s the only way that God will ever be able to get himself over to other people.
Well loved ones, there are all kinds of things. It begins to assume dreadful states when your mind begins to vacillate, “Today I’m doing this. Tomorrow I’m doing that.” The mind can no longer stay in one place because you see, passivity increases in intensity. It starts off with forgetfulness, with lack of concentration, it starts off with dreams, it starts off with pictures that flash upon your mind, but as you continue to indulge in that the mind gets out of hand completely. So that at times you are not able to pull it together at all. And the mind will vacillate wildly. It will be way out in this view at one time and way out in that view at another. So that more and more you will sway from one extreme to the other.
In your conversation: You will have no peace in your conversation. Many people don’t want to gossip. They really don’t want to gossip. Many children of God don’t want to gossip. But their mind is so out of control that it is really just like a record that just runs, and runs, and runs. And they can’t stop it. They hardly know it’s going. They’re just babbling, babbling. Babbling just for the sake of babbling! And they’re just involved in idle chatter that is not up building at all. And of course, if Satan has any hand in it, eventually it gets on to the old critical stuff about somebody else. And eventually it becomes poisonous. But often, gossip starts simply as talkativeness that comes from a mind that is passive.
And then of course as that intensifies it begins to get into the kind of land that borders on insanity. At least what the world calls insanity, because insanity really is just a mind that has got out from under the control of the person’s will completely and is being controlled by Satan. And so many loved ones get to the point where their own mind breaks away like that. And so they come to the point where they just won’t listen to anybody. They get obstinate. And they go so much by these impressions, or these thoughts, or these feelings that come quickly into their being, and they have nothing to guard against with a mind that examines them, that eventually they become the dupes of these flashing thoughts.
And so they become obstinate against anybody who would dissuade them from it. And so many people who have passive minds, you’ll find are very obstinate people. That’s why heresy usually results from a mind that has not been used as God intends it, because the person becomes obstinate against any opinions that anybody else expresses. And they simply will not listen to them. Then of course, the mind eventually gets to the place where everything is just too much. It’s just too much. “I just — life is just too much.”
That’s what happens. And some of us have a feel for it, you remember, at times when anxiety or worry paralyzes you. But you see, when it gets to its extreme it brings you into depression where
the mind finds it just too great a burden to make even one turn. And so a person gets to the point where they just put the bed clothes over their heads, and they just don’t want to get up. They just don’t want to get up. And the incredible thing is, they think it’s because of the impossible things that they have to face in their life. And yet each one of us who have ever been in even a mild form of that situation know that actually when we got ourselves together and got out and dealt with the thing, the things weren’t so difficult any way. And in fact, when we got to that point we realized they weren’t so difficult.
But many of us think, “Yes, that’s what has me in depression.” Or, “That poor soul that is now having treatment in the psyche ward, it is because life is just too much for them.” You see, it isn’t. It isn’t. It’s because their dear mind has got to such a point of passivity and inactivity that they are not able to use it to tackle the things that they could well tackle. And they are not able to apply the strength and life that God is still feeding them in their spirits to the actual situation that they’re facing at work. But it’s not the impossibility of the task or the problem. It’s not. It’s that the mind has ground to a halt.
Now loved ones, that’s always the case with ourselves. It is really. And worry is not a mystery. And anxiety is not a mystery because we’ve all been involved in it. But the fact is that it’s just one step on the way to total inability and immobility. And the only way to start reclaiming your mind is to start tonight.
And it is magnificent that however bad the shape may be of your body, if you determine that you’re going to run even 200 yards tomorrow, even if you determine you’re going to walk 400 yards tomorrow, if you will just do that your body will in an amazing way begin to spring back. And you know that. All of us who have gotten into bad shape physically have been amazed at how resilient the body is and how it responds to what? To the normal use that it was meant to have!
That’s an illustration of the mind. All you have to do is not to worry, not to be anxious, not to wring your hands tonight and say, “Evil spirits have my mind!” Not to do that but simply to begin tonight to think. That’s it. That’s it. It’s glorious. Just to begin tonight to think. That’s why you have the dear guy you remember – I should know his name, but who ran the big seminars — Gothard, Bill Gothard would say, “Learn scripture.” Well scripture is good to learn, but actually if you’d exercise your mind in any way you’d begin to see it coming back under your control. And actually, all you have to do tonight is to begin to use your mind.
A lot of us here in the body study Greek. And it’s not because we all love Greek. And it’s not because we’re all going to be missionaries in Greece. And it’s not because we all have a deep love of Socrates and Plato. But learning a language forces you to memorize. And it forces you to memorize. “Luo, luei, lueis.” And that’s – well, I should ask Hugh what it is, but it’s the conjugation of the verb “Luo”, “to lose.” And it forces you to memorize and to exercise your mind. And when you do that your mind begins to come back into some of the resilient strength that it has inherently from God. And so many of us learn Greek and learn other languages because it forces us to memorize.
And loved ones, if that were the only reason to encourage you to go to Christian Corps training school I’d encourage you to go to classes. Begin! Begin to commit yourself to some intellectual training of your own mind. And you’ll begin to find that you’ll take it back under your own control. And that is the meaning of God’s word, “Possess your soul in patience.” Jesus says, “I’ve sent my Spirit into your spirit. That’s your Garden of Eden. Now, outside the Garden of Eden is a large
park called ‘Your Soul’, and it contains your mind, and emotions, and your will. Now, I want you to possess that soul of yours. I want you to redeem it completely, and allow the order that is in your spirit to pervade your soul, and in that way I will redeem you completely.” And that is the whole purpose of our life here.
So loved ones, really stand on Calvary ground, “Lord, I am not my own. I am bought with a price. All that I used to be was destroyed with you. I’m a new creation. Now Lord Jesus, in the strength of that I intend to think, and love, and live, and act the way you yourself did.” And it’s amazing! Old Luther was right, “One little word will fell him.” That’s it! One little word will fell Satan. That’s it. All you have to do is say, “I belong to my Lord. And my mind belongs to my will. And I can do what I want it to do.” And the Bible says, “Resist Satan and he will flee from you.”
So loved ones, I’d encourage you to do it. And if you’re – we’re going to go after the benediction to the lounge upstairs for kind of a fellowship time. Boy, I would encourage you, even in fellowship times to use them. Oh, don’t get into that lazy, easy going idle chatter, but determine, “I’m going to get to know somebody. And I’m going to talk to them about something that is sensible, or something that means something. But I am going to have a conversation.” And actually, those of us who are shy especially, it will help us. Instead of going up there and thinking, “What do they think of me? What do they think of me? Oh, I’m sure as they look at me, I know what they’re thinking.”
Instead of that — remember what the old models do as they walk down the Christian Dior platform, and how on earth do they balance on those high heeled shoes, and wear those costumes without realizing, “Everybody is looking at me?” Do you know how they do it? They set their eyes on one person at a certain part of the room. And they just watch him, and they concentrate. And they don’t think of all the other people who are watching them at all. They just concentrate on that one person.
And that’s the key to a lot of our fellowship. If you have a purpose in talking to someone you won’t have time to remember yourself and to get worried and self-conscious about yourself. So loved ones, let’s even in a thing like a fellowship tonight after service, let’s even there begin come into that redemption that God has for us.
Let us pray. Dear Father, we do want to be used by you. We thank you for Mark and Sharon. We thank you Lord, for the dear brother Bitterman who was killed. Lord, we thank you for every servant of yours that has got your love into their feet and into their hands. And Lord, we know it is only through our minds that we are able to do that. So Lord, we would – we would take our minds under the control of our wills as you intended them to be and we will begin to think and to exercise our minds after godliness, so that you may begin to transmit yourself again to others in this world.
Lord Jesus, we do not want to imprison you within us, and we do not want to sit forever waiting for your spirit to move us. Lord, we want to be moving ourselves. As you said, “When you move to the left hand or to the right you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’” And Lord, we intend to be in motion so that you can guide us. We give ourselves to you for this evening. Trust you to use our minds to stimulate each other in our love for you.
Now the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us now and ever more. Amen.