This is the fourth step in breaking the Rich/Poor barrier and one of the most important of the seven steps. It has to do with mind control… your control over your mind. You will learn what enhances, strengthens and renews your mind. As this books title and subtitle indicate, there is a spiritual dimension to renewing the mind.
There are a lot of factors relative to the health of our mind. But ours is the only civilization in history whose minds are daily and continuously bombarded by electromagnetic waves from TV, cell phones, microwaves, and radio. Our civilization is also the only one in history that has used such a wide array of man-made chemicals, everything from household cleaners to pesticides to food preservatives. And for the first time in history these pollutants have entered the bodies of nearly every human being and animal on planet earth. There is ample evidence that those substances exert a deleterious effect on the brains ability to function optimally.
However, I believe there is something much more dangerous to our minds then chemical or electrical pollution. I'm talking about all the advertising and media related messages we get bombarded with, day in and day out, over an entire lifetime. This too, has never happened to the human race... until now. And I believe the continuous bombardardment of our minds by advertisers is particularly destructive, because it distorts our reality and effects our ability to think clearly. As much as our strongly individualistic society likes to believe we can tune out those ads and not be influenced by them, the truth is, we are affected. After all, if they didn’t work no one would be paying millions of dollars for a single 30-second Super Bowl ad!
Here is a case in point, revealing just how advertising feeds a group-think mentality that distorts reality. In early 2004 I started looking closely at every TV advertisement where there was both a man and a woman. I suspected that such ads were skewed in favor of the women so over a two week period I kept records of every ad with a man and a woman, to see if I was right. It was worse than I imagined. One hundred percent (100%) of the male/female ads I viewed during that two-week period made the man to be an idiot, a nerd, unaware, incapable, a coward, a loser, a wimp, stupid, and weak.
Not once have I ever had to give my pickle jar to a woman to open for me… but that's what one of the ads proclaimed to young impressionable boys and girls! God built men to be physically stronger and all the stats bear this out. There is a simple reason why the majority of physical labor jobs are done by men. The DNA of men is genetically programmed to produce more muscle mass and therefore more blood, about a quart more then women on average. More blood means more oxygen storing capacity and that translates into more energy for fight or flight, for war, or for physical strength and endurance. Yes, there are exceptional women who work out daily and when paired with a man who doesn’t they can lift more, run faster, or even open jars for their weaker mate. But, there are no weight lifting championships that pit men against women, and neither are there combined male-female Olympic track contests. This is because the best men are faster and stronger than the best women. That is not a put down, just a fact related to how God created us physically.
If you were to watch commercials with an eye to seeing how they reflect our societies values you would discover, as I have discovered, that there is an open assault on men, in particular white males. Advertisements, TV sitcoms, animated “family” shows, and movies are all telling us that the male species just don’t measure up to the superior abilities of the female species. In truth, there are superior qualities and superior genetic traits in both men and women.
This is reverse stereotyping and it is just as objectionable as the old stereotypes of men being superior to women. Actually, I have to say that today’s stereotyping is worse, because it is far more pervasive and degrading. Old commercials may have put men in a better light, but they never degraded women to the degree that today’s ads degrade men.
Most people don’t give all this much thought and I believe most parents don’t think it affects their kids. But the truth is that it has had a pervasive and lasting effect on young boys. In a recent TV news magazine special they revealed that all across this country something is happening to young boys in our schools. They are beginning to believe those images of inferiority, images that are magnified by an endless parade of Hollywood movies, all reinforcing the same message. Boys in school are falling behind the girls in just about every subject, even the one’s they were traditionally superior in, math and sciences. When questioned openly about their poor performance the boys just didn’t care, they were whipped and they knew it. I sat there with my mouth open, hardly believing the transformation that has taken place in the minds of our youth compared to when I was in school. This is just plain brainwashing and it is wrong.
As adults most everyone does what everyone else does… they conform. They get a job, work hard for a few years to obtain some position that pays them well enough to sustain the lifestyle ceiling they believe they are capable of reaching, then they put their mind in neutral and coast. This has led to a pervasive apathy regarding the importance of keeping one’s mind as active as a student’s mind. Adults don’t seem to understand that the mind is a living, growing organ and just like muscles you use it or you lose it! Among most of the adult population brainstorming and debating over important issues is non-existent.
Although there has been a general surge towards “positive thinking” and “self esteem”, the real truth is that everyone is getting mixed messages. When the public schools got involved in the “self esteem” movement kids were told over and over again how good they were doing, even when they were not. The teachers were being taught that no kid should fail, that failure is bad for their self-esteem. But the kids are smart enough to know it’s meaningless to be told you're doing well all the time, even when you're not. The end result was just a more deeply engrained lack of self-esteem and an increased propensity for self-deception.
The general effect of todays myriad mass media outlets upon the mind of man is mass confusion. Most people are increasingly confused by a deluge of conflicting messages.
There is such a preponderance of information (and misinformation) that very few people ever take the time to wade through it and sort it out. And without a clear understanding of what is important and what is not (read: Values) an overabundance of information always leads to confusion. The majority of people don't know what to believe. Worse, many have concluded that no one can sort it all out and discover "the truth". So they wrongly conclude that all beliefs are right and acceptable for those who believe them. On the face of that statement ("all beliefs are right and acceptable for those who believe them") which seems to be our modern western culture's politically correct philosophy, it appears one is taking a position that promotes tolerance and therefore must be right. But such tolerance leads to anarchy, not increased freedom.
There are groups within any society that believe they have the right to murder anyone who gets in their way; there are groups that believe they have the right to steal from those who are rich; there are groups that believe incest and pedophilia are acceptable; there are groups that believe it's OK to lie to the public as long as they accomplish what they set out to accomplish (politicians); and there are groups who believe in the use of terroism. In most of these cases the majority of people would have no doubt as to what was right and wrong, since these are examples of people taking away other people's rights. And yet, when it comes to religions or philosophies, which have a long and sordid history of taking away people's rights, the majority of people today evade trying to discover the real truth behind the words; instead they tend to trust their pastor, rabbi, priest or some other authority figure to do the thinking and hand them their conclusions, which of course they adopt as their own. The excuse is almost always, "I don't have the time to investigate these things". But the outcome of such thinking is inevitable: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" (Edmund Burke). This is exactly what happened in Germany prior to the WWII, when the Christian church clung to the teachings of Paul the Apostle, that all rulers are put in their positions of authority by God. A few brave men of God, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, stood up against this false teaching and paid with their life, but their bravery inspired others to tell the world what was really happening in Germany.
In the scriptures it says there will come a time when people call what is good, bad, and what is bad, good. You don’t have to look far on TV or in movies to see the truth of this. Consider how often you hear or read about someone being reprimanded or fired for using “religious” words at school or in the workplace. A modern twist on this ageless intolerance is the mistaken belief that the separation of church and state means no one who works for the government should excercise their right to free speech when it comes to sharing their faith. This group-think mentality has increased intolerance towards people of faith in general and Christians especially. In offices all across this nation they are banning crosses and religious pictures in the workplace, including Christmas cards.
On University campuses around America there are new dictionaries of politically correct (PC) terms. The thinking behind those PC words is convoluted and often absurd. This is not just happening at Universities however. Publishers who produce the textbooks for all our public schools have totally re-written much of history because of the publishers desire to conform to this PC mentality. I remember reading about schoolbook publishers removing words that referred to geographical regions because this would be a form of exclusiveness, making students who lived in other geographical areas feel left out. I kid you not. And they’ve taken out references describing the Pilgrims as a religious people because it might violate the separation of church and state! I can’t think of anything as stupid as rewriting history and removing from a child’s understanding the true nature of religious persecution and why this country was founded!
What ever happened to common sense? Whatever happened to truth? I’ll tell you what happened, those who have control of our children’s textbooks and their curriculum (in public schools, not private schools) and those who have control of the mass media, TV, music and movies, are brainwashing our children. Worse, most parents are either unaware or just don’t want to be bothered. As it says in Pr 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it"… but who is training up our children? It certainly can’t be the parents if they are both working and the kids spend the majority of their day with other kids, teachers, and after school activity instructors (or worse, are being babysat by the TV)!
Anyone who watches TV or movies and still maintains some semblance of right and wrong can’t help but notice that what was once inappropriate for general viewing is now considered “normal”. If there is going to be a renewing of one’s mind, it begins by sorting out what is right and what is wrong; choosing the good and discarding the rest. When we do not understand the difference how can we make wise choices in life, choices that will help us on our journey to success? Every choice we make is like throwing a stone into a pond, resulting in ripples that affect us and those around us. If we just go along with what others are doing, we are allowing them to make our choices for us, and this too has consequences. As someone once said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. In case you haven’t noticed, evil is winning.
Perhaps, since certain types of high-profile crimes have decreased in many of our cities, you might doubt that things are worse off culturally today. Remember, I am talking about using one’s mind wisely, to make good choices that lead to a successful life and I am talking about your attitude, which lies at the heart of being able to make good choices. Having been very rebellious as a youth, I know how much our ability to succeed is effected by attitudes that are self-centered and self-destructive.
A person's attitude and their treatment of others is central to their decision making process... and ultimately their success. Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrew Christians some 2000 years ago about discernment, using one’s mind to discern what is good (and therefore worth pursuing) and what is bad or evil (and therefore a waste of one’s precious time): Heb 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Those who are mature (of full age, eating spiritual meat instead of spiritual milk) who “by reason of use have their senses exercised” (they have sought out new experiences and are not afraid of listening to the experiences and opinions of others who may be different) are thereby enabled to “discern both good and evil” (they are using their mind to determine what is of value and what should be avoided).
But instead of encouraging new experiences and the use of one's God given senses, so that each person learns discernment (the ability to determine what is right and wrong) people in religious circles are generally instructed on what to believe, what to avoid and what to embrace. Unfortunately, so much of this advice is cultural in nature and has nothing to do with good and evil. Music tastes are one example that comes to mind but in some circles there is a huge list of do's and don'ts arising out of their fear based faith. For if someone truly believes that "All things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose", they should be able to rest in that knowledge.
Our culture does not value wisdom as some other cultures do. We place more value on sports and entertainment celebrities and their frequent mindless babblings. But we don’t have to conform to those mindsets and that is the beauty of renewing one’s mind. Jesus taught that those who followed him would "Know the truth and the truth shall make you free". I believe that . And because I believed that, this book of truths came forth from my liberated mind.
I think it’s worth looking at what the Bible says about the last days, about what people would be like. You can judge for yourself whether or not the author understood human nature well enough to prophesy how it would be in our day and age. 2Ti 3:1-7 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away… Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
There is a continuous battle for one's heart and mind, between those who uphold the good and those who uphold evil through their lack of action. In order to become truly successful we must understand the difference and thereby take offensive action for that which is good. However, if we do not first acknowledge that the battle between good and evil begins in our own mind all is lost. The renewal of our mind challenges us to think, realizing our daily choices do matter. In this way we choose not just what is good, but what is best.
Like so many things in life, the imagination is both necessary and dangerous. You can feed your imagination with songs and writings that lead to a greater understanding of life and a greater capacity to love OR you can feed your imagination with a never-ending barrage of lyrics depicting rage and death and destruction. The latter inevitably leads to further self-absorption and an inability to love anyone other than your self. Worse, it often leads young people to suicide when life’s inevitable tribulations happen to them. I was horrified to see one of my nieces with a T-shirt celebrating musician Kurt Cobain’s death. She thought it was “Cool” that he committed suicide. In her eyes it wasn’t an act of cowardice, it was an act of courage. I took a long walk with her and planted some seed thoughts about another view of suicide. However, my eyes were opened to the fact that our youth are often coming to the wrong conclusions simply because they learn most of what they know about life from the entertainment industry and their peers.
Here is a bit of wisdom concerning imaginations: Ro 1:21-25 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools , And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
The very first words of the above quote, “they knew God”, are countered by the fact that they “became vain in their imaginations”. This led to un-thankfulness, foolishness and pride. They thought they knew better then God, who warned them against worshipping the visible creation, against making “graven images”. The result, we are told, was a darkening of their hearts. And a darkened heart leads one further towards what is described in the book of 2Ti 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
In everything we have a choice. The question is, are you actively discerning what is good and what is not? Are you actively choosing what you feed your mind and the minds of your children? Do you know we’re in the midst of a battle for the mind and that most people are losing that battle? Without these understandings there can be no lasting and true renewal of one's mind.
The battle for our mind is made easier for the forces of darkness, as our culture drowns in a sea of information. There are so many permutations for any given set of ideas that most people tend to give up trying rather than take the time to try and sort it all out. They just throw up their hands and accept confusion as a given. This is one reason why there are so many among us who are: “Ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth”. Another reason for most people's confusion is because truth is part of the spirit realm, and as such is spiritually discerned. As Paul told the Romans, it was the vanity of their imaginations that prevented their discovery of spiritual truth. Real truth and understanding is not just perceived by one's mind, it is also spiritually discerned.
However, spiritual discernment only comes to those with an ardent desire for truth and a willingness to work on feeding their imagination good food. Listen to this timely advice in Corinthians: 2Co 10:4-5 “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 exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”. This is the very heart of renewing one’s mind and why meditative praying is so essential to the process. Keep in mind that this passage is talking about imagination which “exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God”. If imagination is used to exhalt the knowledge of God, then it is a good thing indeed and worthy of being cultivated. Like sex or money, imagination can be used for both good or evil purposes.
Here is what I believe regarding the renewal of your mind:
There has been a lot of talk in this chapter concerning the subject of evil. In this “modern” world most educated men and women rarely if ever use the term “evil”. Consider the endless debates that erupted when President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” before it’s fall. More recently, the same media elites and educated upper class have taken President George W Bush to task for being “too polarizing” when he referred to those nations who promote terrorism as members of the “Axis of evil”. Shawn Hannity (of Fox News with it's "Hannity and Combs" segment) wrote a book, “Deliver Us From Evil” and it had the same effect among the media elite.
But an understanding of evil is vital to renewing one’s mind and central to choosing what is best in this world. This kind of discernment is absolutely essential to establishing and securing anything in this world, whether it be one's family, one's business or one's community. For how can a person know what to build up and what to protect if they do not understand what is good and worth valuing? Unfortunately, in this world of confusion where the majority of people are afraid to value anything above anything else for fear of alienating someone or some idea, there is a grave lack of discernment. And without discernment, without the renewing of the mind that leads one to understand the value of things, freedom will be the ultimate casualty.
I think we should look to the dictionary and the encyclopedia, as well as the bible, if we are going to understand fully what the word evil means. Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary gives this definition of evil when it’s used as an adjective: 1) a: not good morally: wicked b: arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct 2) a: causing harm: pernicious b: marked by misfortune: unlucky. When “evil” is used as a noun these are it’s definitions: 1) something that brings sorrow, distress, or discomfort 2) a: the fact of suffering and misfortune b: a cosmic evil force.
I think it worth noting that this last meaning of evil as “A cosmic evil force” is what is at the heart of modern man’s denial of its existence. Scientific understanding has dramatically lessened man's previous pre-occupation with superstition and with its erosion there has been a parallel erosion of man's belief in evil. If it could not be seen nor proved scientifically, it didn't exist. But by that standard neither can the existence of the spirit be proven.
Paradoxically, there are many who believe in the realm of the spirit and yet deny the existence of evil. When the horror of 9/11/2001 happened, I was told by one New Age lady, “who are you to judge them as terrorists; what you consider evil they consider good, therefore for them it is good”. I tried to find some common ground and suggested that surely she understood that Hitler was an evil man. Believe it or not, she could not agree, for her philosophy of life denied the existence of any absolutes and therefore had to deny the existence of evil.
What lies at the heart of the New Age denial of evil is it’s foundation in eastern philosophies. In Hinduism good and evil are considered part of the great illusion, called Maya, an illusion generated by the mind. In the Wikipedia entry for "Maya" we read:
Maya (Sanskrit माया māyāa[›]), in Indian religions, has multiple meanings. Maya, is the principal deity who creates, perpetuates and governs the phantasmagoria, illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. For some mystics this manifestation is real, but it is a fleeting reality; it is a mistake, although a natural one, to believe that Maya represents a fundamental reality or Truth.  Each person, each physical object, from the perspective of eternity is like a brief, disturbed drop of water from an unbounded ocean. The goal of enlightenment is to understand this — more precisely, to experience this: to see intuitively that the distinction between the self and the Universe is a false dichotomy. The distinction between consciousness and physical matter, between mind and body (refer bodymind), is the result of an unenlightened perspective.
Likewise, in Yoga, a life philosophy that arose from the relgion of Hinduism, one strives for enlightenment and evil is also considered part of this universe of dualities, disappearing when one achieves enlightenment. The highly educated and the media elite also deny the existence of evil, but for different reasons. I believe that what lies at the heart of their denial is their estrangement from, and therefore denial of, their own spirit self.
So, by the Dictionary’s definition, evil is both a cosmic force and it is people who are morally corrupt. Have you ever met any morally corrupt people? What about people who have “bad character or conduct”? According to the dictionary, those people are “evil”. It seems that today we are redefining the word. Unless someone is a Jeffrey Dahlmer, we wouldn’t dare label people or their deeds as evil (and even then many don’t!).
Believe it or not, even such a heinous evil deed as cannibalism is no longer labeled as evil by some. Just the other day I heard a news story about a homosexual man from Germany, who solicited for men to come to his home, to be killed by him and then eaten. Believe it or not, there were over 100 interested individuals and one who followed through. This German fellow was on trial for murder and it was being argued that what he did was not wrong because the other man was a consenting adult and agreed in writing!
I think it’s time to look at what Jesus said concerning evil. In Matthew 5:11 we read: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil * * against you falsely, for my sake *. And in verse 37: But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” This tells us that if others falsely accuse us, that is evil; and if our conversation is deceptive, that too is evil.
Furthermore, Jesus tells us that the thoughts and attitudes we cultivate in our heart, which are of course nourished by what we daily chose to focus upon, determines what we manifest in our life and the lives of those we love. Mt 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Jesus then goes on to tell us some of the types of evil thoughts and actions: Mt 15:19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man:”. In Mark this list is expanded upon: Mr 7:21-23 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
The Apostle John records that Jesus understood the heart of man, that those who do not desire the light of understanding which Christ brought into the world avoid it because it reproves their evil deeds. John 3:19-20 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither * * cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” This is what is at the heart of the media elites denial of evil. They don’t want any standard of conduct applied to them outside the one they’ve defined for themselves as a group.
According to Jesus hypocrisy is also evil for it is so deceptive it even fools the hypocrite into believing their feigned love is real. He called this hypocrisy the “leaven of the Pharisees”. In John, chapter 8 Jesus carries on a long conversation with the Pharisees. In verse 36 Jesus tells them the only way they can truly be free is if they allow him to help them become free… but they will not. In verse 39 they start to give account of their religious pedigree. What Jesus tells them is shocking to us in this day of political correctness: John 8:39-45 “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do * the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus * * said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot * hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.”
The shocking part is where he tells these religious hypocrites who “pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith” that “you are of your father the devil”. Is this the meek and mild Jesus of Sunday school fame? No, but this is the authentic Jesus, who told the truth regardless of what others might think. It was that truth which ultimately cost him his life.
It is worth noting that renewal brings with it a desire to extend that renewal to others. The story Jesus told about the wineskins is not just about putting the fermenting power of the "New Wine" into "New Wineskins", it is about the power of renewal within the corporate body of the church. However, the profound truth is that it is applicable to any group of people, whether it be a business or your family.
Here is what Jesus said about the "New Wine": Mr 2:22 “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.” Wine bottles in ancient times were made out of goatskins and with age became inflexible, unable to contain the fermenting power of the new wine. The wine bottles are representative of the church, which has lost it's flexibility. It has become rigid with age, the structure of it taking precedence over the movement of the spirit among it's people. Likewise, we who catch the vision of a new idea for a new business must build into it's structure the capacity to remain flexible to even newer ideas. If it does not, the business dies and new one's replace it.
For those of us who want to change the world, this is a vitally important lesson. We are to be flexible in our attitudes towards others; we must allow for newer ideas to replace the old; we must be willing to change and to help transform others by the joy and love shed abroad in our own hearts. When any group of people fails to build a structure that allows and encourages its members to express new ideas, fails to provide a way for the visionaries among them to build alternatives, they have determined that the status quo is more important than growth and change. In the case of the church it quenches the spirit of God. In the case of a business, it sends those with new ideas, so necessary for sustaining the companies lead in the marketplace, to the competition. And in either case, the result of obstructing those who bring renewal is conformity... conformity to religious traditions in the case of the church or conformity to the traditions of the marketplace in the case of business. And as history reveals, it is only those who actively work towards transformation and renewal that history remembers.
I have good reason for going into all this detail about evil. Discernment is at the heart of renewing one’s mind. How else can we make the right choices that lead to success and make the world a better place to live? Here is what the bible has to say about renewing your mind: Ro 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Can you see from this passage the connection between conforming and transforming? They are diametrically opposed. To transform the mind, you must choose to NOT conform to this world.
Personally, I believe the transforming process begins with the renewal that follows that first obedient act of non-conformity, choosing to be born-again spiritually. I know that from that moment my mind was renewed in ways that are not possible normally. For instance, my entire outlook on life, my thoughts on casual sex and my political views in particular, changed overnight. But regardless of one’s decision on that issue, the purpose of renewing one’s mind is to prove what is and isn’t God’s will for your life.
Of course, there’s more to renewal than just the renewal of your mind. The newest scientific data indicates that there are memories at the cellular level (see “The Heart’s Code” by Paul Pearsall) and that every thought resonates throughout eternity, affecting every sentient being by virtue of its electromagnetic nature (see “The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature”, by Rupert Sheldrake). When I talk of renewing the mind, I’m talking about renewing of the entire mind/body/spirit of each person, which in turn helps others to want to be renewed, and the more people there are renewing their mind, the greater the effect for good. This moves into family renewal, business renewal and community renewal... even renewal of global systems.
The purpose of our renewal is two-fold. First, we want renewal because we want to grow. But we also should want renewal to help energize and focus us as we seek to discover our God given purpose in life. This means that the necessity of making a living takes on an immensely expanded meaning, that our need to succeed financially in our businesses and/or our jobs is liberated from a lust for power and from greed. In it’s place we see the blessings that arise from all our business dealings. This is true and total success.
For me, this choice to renew my mind began even before I made a commitment to follow the example of Jesus Christ and live by his teachings. I was living alone in an abandoned farmhouse, with no electricity, no running water and walls full of black mold. But it was a rent-free home, and with my airtight wood heater it was warm. I lived entirely on what I grew, which I had stored in my basement. I was able to also grow salad greens in the bay window I built into one of the empty window frames within the single room I lived in. I grew alfalfa, radish and sunflower sprouts as well as wheat grass that I juiced and added to my freshly squeezed apples. I harvested those apples from abandoned local orchards and stored them in the dirt floor root cellar, along with the root vegetables I grew in my garden. I probably would have hunted, as I did when I was a boy, but at the time I was a vegetarian and owned almost nothing.
For 10 months I lived there, from April 1973 to February 1974. I studied the bible for hours each day, trying to understand everything purely by rational reasoning, comparing it to other religious books. This was the beginning of my renewal. It finally dawned on me that what Jesus said was true: Lu 18:17 “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein *.” These words Jesus also spoke, Joh 3:3-5 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot * see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can * he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born ? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot * enter into the kingdom of God.” When I understood these truths, I gave up my attempt to try and reason why and how; I simply trusted as a child who sees the light of truth and invites it into their heart, embracing it as their own.
That was the beginning of my renewal. Most Christians stop there, believing that the renewal is complete once you ask Christ into your heart. But all I had to do was look around me, to see this was not so. Being born-again takes place in a moment of time but the process of spiritual renewal continues throughout one's lifetime. I have observed that even though there is an obvious change in people who invite Christ into their heart most continue to wrestle with fears and emotional scars long after that first humbling time, when they went forward at the altar to repent of the wrongs they did to others. And so it was that I continued to search for further understanding and renewal.
Fast-forward about nine years to 1983. I was suddenly homeless, living out of my car. Occasional odd jobs gave me enough money for gas and a little food. I had a lot of time on my hands and when I wasn’t looking for work I used my time to study the bible and pray. The understanding God gave me when I read II Corinthians chapter 3 was not the usual understanding I had heard preached, but I knew it was true. And it revolutionized my life. I've already covered this in the Preface, in Prosperity Principle #1, "Spending Glory to Glory Transformational Time with God". But it is so important, so vital to understanding this Prosperity Principle, "Transform Your Life by Renewing Your Mind and Hiding the Kingdom Leaven Within", that I'm going to go over it again.
I highly recommend reading the entire 3rd Chapter of II Corinthians for your self. There is a lot in that Chapter. For now, suffice it to say that reading this chapter followed on the heels of my reading about Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemane and asking the three disciples he brought to pray for him as he entered the garden. Of course, they fell asleep, but Jesus’ comment, “Could you not pray with me but one hour”, turned into an epithany for me. I suddenly realized that one hour was a minimum! The most amazing discovery that followed my decision to pray meditatively for at least on hour was the peace and joy that inevitably came upon me after about three quarters of an hour.
This peace and joy never fails. Sometimes it takes longer, because of my own inner turmoil, but it always comes if I patiently wait long enough. It was when I was immersed in that peace and joy that I began to see clearly what I was to do and how to go about doing it. This is how I got my vision and have been empowered to persevere. By this daily meditative time spent with God I discovered a doorway to the spirit realm that opened to me riches of knowledge and wisdom, a doorway that opened into God's glory. This doorway to God's glory is open to anyone who will take the time to "Be still and know God".
With amazement I read in II Corinthians, Chapter 3 about the very experience I was having during my meditations. In that experience I discovered not only peace and joy, but also the very real light of God, God’s glory. Here is what the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians: 2Co 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This was exactly it! Through meditation I was taking off all social masks, even as I let go of all the stress and personal turmoil (with an “open face”). Yes, it was like looking into a mirror, but instead of seeing my own image I saw the glory of the Lord. And yes, I was being changed into that same glory image, glory to glory, by the very presence of God’s spirit.
But the real beauty of this glory renewal experience is that it's a way to daily set yourself free! 2Co 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Or as John says in his gospel: Joh 8:36 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” AMEN AND AMEN!!
Many who are reading this might say, “I live in the real world and who in the real world can spend all that time meditating”? “Besides”, you might add, “who cares about something as vague as the ‘glory of God’ when I’m so busy just trying to survive? I just want to learn how to make more money and become successful”.
My response is this: the world I’m describing is as real as this one and it is the source of life, the source of power for this physical world. I know, because I’ve been to heaven and I’ve seen and felt and been transformed by what waits for all of us on the other side. If I can help you just to realize the importance of coming before God daily to listen and be infused with that peace and joy of God’s presence, then I will have done more for you and your future business success than all the standard business courses you could ever take!
Just try meditating as I’ve described and you’ll find out for yourself. And if you have a problem with “listening to God”, then begin by meditating on the prosperity secrets I reveal in this book. Which brings me to the second part of Prosperity Principle #8.
In order for all these secrets to become part of your life, I mean REALLY a part of your life, they must be hidden deep in your subconscious where they will work invisibly to energize and guide you. Here is how Jesus puts it: Mt 13:33 “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” As anyone who has made bread understands, the purpose of the leaven is to raise the dough and make it lighter, so that when the bread is baked it has softness. The leaven, much like the Holy Spirit, works to expand beyond the boundaries of that which contains it. The leaven also consumes certain elements of the bread mix, especially the sugars, absorbing and transforming them into the carbon dioxide gas that causes the bread to rise.
Within us the leaven of the Holy Spirit consumes arrogant pride and self-centeredness and those manipulative feelings we use to control others, replacing all of them with joy and peace and love. In essence, when we begin to understand the truth about the world to come the sweet attractions of this world are transformed by the leaven of the Spirit, working to expand into every area of our life and then into the lives of those around us.
Contrary to popular belief, the Kingdom of Heaven (also called the Kingdom of God) is not totally separate from us. In Luke we read: Lu 17:21 “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Obviously, there is a spirit world outside of this physical realm we live in, and in this respect that heavenly kingdom is outside too. But what Jesus tells the world is this, that there is a place inside of us where we are connected to that spirit realm.
Jesus explains even more in John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” In reading this I learned about the importance of obedience, not just blind obedience, not just obedience because I am afraid of the consequences, but obedience because I have felt God’s love and mercy, therefore I long to do what is right, that I might experience even more of that glorious fellowship. Following The Golden Rule requires only that we obey our conscience, which is the inner voice of our spirit speaking to our physical being. When in our day to day dealings we treat others in the way we would want to be treated, whether we are dealing with family members or with business associates or customers, there is no doubt we will be blessed. As we sow, so shall we reap.
The promise that both Jesus and God the Father will abide in you is a simple yet profound life-changing statement. By loving God with "all my heart, all my soul and all my mind" (Matthew 22:37), I am able to destroy the separation I caused by my ignorance of the spiritual realm, and God is then able to abide within me in a special way. Proper analogies fail me here. But of this I am certain, that the light of God's Spirit "lights everyone who comes into this world" (John 1:9). And as Jesus proclaimed, "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).
Unfortunately, Christianity teaches that those who are not Christians do not have the light of God within. By experience and by reason, this is absurd. Believing as Christians do, that the fleshly body is given life and sustained by God's spirit, and knowing that God is light and Spirit, the only logical conclusion is to believe as John stated, that God "lights everyone who comes into this world".
Like an onion the gross layers of religious misunderstandings cover over the heart of man and we who are awakened must reach out to bring this truth, that we who abide in Christ become one with God and with Christ. We do not become God in this oneness, because we do not lose our identity as created Spiritual beings (I know this with absolute certainly, as a result of my heavenly sojourn). There is no merging of our tiny self with God's SELF. Rather, we become like God, as created beings who were created in the image of God, one in purpose, one in our creative desire to do God's will, one in our ability to hear the WORD, God's Living Word spoken into our heart and mind. This is a marvelous process, a "glory to glory transformational process", which is experienced by those who learn to quiet their mind, and listen, and abide.
Remember, we were created in the image of God, with the same sovereign will, and therefore God would never force us to do anything we do not willingly embrace. This point is reinforced in John 14:16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” The “Comforter”, also known as the Holy Spirit, is given to those who believe, to abide within. This is the leaven that the woman hid in the 3 measures of meal. As Jesus said: “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Mt 22:37). This is the symbolic “three measures of meal” in which we place the spiritual leaven of the “Comforter”: the HEART, the MIND, and the SOUL (where mind and heart commune with the Spirit).
As mentioned earlier when I alluded to “The Heart’s Code”, there is recent scientific evidence for the heart having it’s own ability to think, remember, regulate immunity and, like an information server, to store information about the rest of the body and mind, passing on that information as needed. This understanding has come to light as researchers began examining the experiences of organ transplant patients, especially heart transplant patients. In one very dramatic case a little girl received the heart of an older girl who had been murdered and from the time she woke up she began to remember what the other girl had seen. Eventually her experience could not be denied and a forensic artist was brought in. The description of the person, along with the details of the place and the murder, which could only have been known by the murdered girl, led to the capture of that other girl’s murderer.
I’ve often wondered why Jesus didn’t ask us to love God with all our mind, body and spirit. One day it dawned on me, that the spirit is in constant communion with God and therefore is always “in love” with God. The mind and heart, however, are those parts of our body where our will resides. And the battle ground between the body and the spirit is the soul. This, I believe, is why Jesus asks us to love God with “all your heart, all your soul and all your mind”, for it is what God has given us dominion over, through our will.
Again, you might ask, “What does all this have to do with business and making money”? Everything. I’ll give you two final quotes from John and then offer some final words on this hidden, “Prosperity Principle”. John 15:4-6 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot * bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing *. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
The way I see it, if we fail to return the light of God’s love, which constantly flows forth from God’s “throne”, ever nurturing everything visible and invisible, what can we expect other than our branch to wither. And as everyone who has ever grown fruit knows, that withered branch becomes fruitless and must be pruned off so that more energy can be sent into those branches that are bearing fruit. It always amazes me that by pruning to less, you get more! Less leaves, less branches, equals more fruit.
Being “fruitful” is many things. It is “be fruitful and multiply” as in bearing many children (and contrary to popular cultural opinion, more is better because it increases our joy and sows into the world our wisdom… assuming we did indeed train up our children and didn’t leave this vital task to others!). It is bearing the inner fruit of peace and joy that we are then able to share with the rest of the world. And it is also multiplying this world’s resources so that we can supply more than enough to support our families and our community.
What is it that we should be pruning away? How about all the unfruitful activities that rob us of the time we would prefer to spend with our families?There are endless entertainments and activities for you and your children, mostly planned by others, and unless one is able to see the big picture on a regular basis, one is soon lost in this cycle of what I call the “tyranny of the inconsequential”. Now I know I’m going to hear from parents who will insist that their child’s activities are vital for their growth and for the parent’s sanity, but that is precisely my point. Too much of a good thing can sometimes lead to what is not good!
Once we understand and accept this, we can begin to PLAN, not just plan (as in planning around the activities others decide for us) but PLAN around the bigger picture of our goals for economic success and our goals for quality family time (as opposed to constantly shuttling our kids and their friends to and from activities and having almost no family time). Initially it will be enough to just integrate the information contained in this book, setting up the mental framework that eventually allows us to break that Rich/Poor barrier! Of course, doing this DEMANDS the kind of self-discipline that most of us try to avoid. That is why this fourth step for breaking the Rich/Poor barrier is so important, because it is about transforming our mind through spiritual renewal and self-discipline. The two go hand in hand.
And please, do not say, “There is no way I can make any more time”! I just saw a 20/20 TV special with John Stossel in which he listed 10 myths. One such myth, that nearly everyone believed, was that today we have less time then back in less hectic times, like the 50's and 60's. However, a long-term study that relied on record keeping of all daily activities, revealed that we have one additional hour of free time today, compared to 1965 when these time records were started. More importantly, the study revealed that people had LOTS of free time; they just chose to fritter it away on less important activities like watching TV or going to sports events. If you want to make more time for God, for your family, for starting a business, you can find the time... guaranteed! Careful planning and self-discipline will make it so.
One of the exciting projects I’m working on is my “Time Liberator”™ webpage. For those who become members of our 3CCC online community, you’ll be the first to get access to our “Time Liberator”™ webpage once it’s completed. Basically, you’ll have an “Intelligent Calendar” that is tied into a questionnaire you'll fill out. When you use the Internet to link to your calendar (a web based calendar means you can link to it from anywhere, your home, the office, the library, or a friends house) and “pencil” in an activity, the program behind the calendar will look at your data, at all the answers you provided as to how much time you wanted to liberate for quality family time, types of activities you and your family like to do together, etc., and if your new activity cuts into your goal for family time, the program will suggest alternative activities. This “Intelligent Calendar” will hold your feet to the fire, so to speak. It will help you apply self-discipline to your day to day schedule, and it will be another tool in your battle to liberate the time you need to renew your mind.
Through these parables of Jesus Christ we are given a great gift, to understand that even the poorest person in the world can transform their inner life, and eventually their outer economic life.
With the renewing of your mind you will find renewed purpose and a vision for your future. But don’t try to put a time schedule on God. It may take a month or it may take a year or more. It all depends on the work that God must do in your life. The important thing is to begin. Along the way opportunities will present themselves. You may even choose to take advantage of the opportunities we provide you, by signing up for our 3CCC Affiliate Program or by starting a local 3CCC Fellowship Group. . If you spend time alone with God you will know what path is for you, as the certainty of it will become crystal clear.
So, what do you do once you’ve discovered a rare and potentially lucrative opportunity (business, spiritual or both)? Do you immediately go out and shout it from the rooftops? You’ll find the answer to this question in our next chapter.