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Mind Over Matter

Over the last few decades, the Name It and Claim It movement has gained traction, permeating into mainstream Christianity.  This theological position combines the bible with metaphysics, using faith as a force to speak the truth within an individual’s mind into existence.  Unfortunately, this view fails to address obstacles such as generational sins and sins of the father, Exodus 20:4-5, ungodly beliefs like John 8:31-38, soul spirit hurts in Matthew 11:25-30 and demonic influences, Ephesians 6:12.  In addition, some of these churches now encourage members not to seek a doctor when sick, claiming if they had genuine faith, they would be healed.

I tend to lean toward what I call a Read it and Believe it view of Christianity.  In other words, as you read and study the Bible, you begin to learn God’s precious promises.  As you examine how the Israelites and first century church leaders claimed these promises, you can apply these same principles into your own prayer life.  During trying moments, you might want to use prayers of King David or Jesus himself as an outline for prayer.  Faith in this context is in the word of God, not your own mind.  Belief is exercised through the power of the Holy Spirit as described in 2 Peter 1:3-4.  According to this passage, God has given us everything we need for life in the form of the Holy Spirit.  In my mind, this is a more realistic and accurate view of a biblical life.

During my tenure as a high school Bible teacher, I slowly began to see how weak individual minds were.  Not in an intellectual sense, but in their belief, confidence and power of God to change their current situation.  Many of my students had given up hope that their circumstances could ever improve.  Divorce, heartbreak and trials poisoned their minds with doubt, leading many to dwell on matters beyond their control.  This mindset can develop into a defeatism mentality, creating Christians who never successfully take their minds captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  This is likely why the name it and claim movement has become attractive to so many Christians today.

To my knowledge, there are only 2 clear examples of mind over matter in scripture.  The first is used by the apostle Paul in the context of an athlete training for the Corinthian Games, similar to the modern day Olympics.  Runners must force their minds to overcome the pain they are experiencing so that one can push their body beyond a normal limit, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.  Practice and training prepares a runner for the various competitions in life.  Meanwhile, the disciple Peter is referring to having a certain mindset, one like Jesus in 1 Peter 4:1.  This use of the mind relates to the thought process which helps you endure your current state, enabling you to reach the goal or end result you desire and seek to obtain.  This mindset is accessible when Christ is Lord over all areas of your life.  Therefore, as 2012 draws to a close, my prayer for 2013 is that people begin to scratch the surface of the love and power of God, Ephesians 3:14-21.

by Jay Mankus

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