John 10:10 (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
If you ever lived in Northern Canada, or even visited the frozen north lands in the wintertime, you will likely have noticed the cars and trucks that race over the frozen lakes. In fact, many northern communities are only accessible via car in the wintertime, when vehicles can cross on ice roads. This practice is perfectly safe in the middle of the winter, unless, of course, you are caught up in a winter storm, or perhaps there is an unexpected thaw!
There are many however, who see this practice as a sport--even, as a thrill. And their favorite season for this activity is the early spring, when lakes and rivers are already starting to thaw. The thinner the ice, the more thrilling the ride. Or so it seems, as you watch them racing over ice that is already cracking up, not only under the weight of their vehicles, but also because temperatures are above the freezing mark! In fact, the more likely the lake is to swallow them up, the more fun they seem to have!
Sadly, many have met their doom while engaged in this kind of sport, for many never reach the other side ... The problem is, once we begin such adrenaline-filled ventures, we just can't seem to make ourselves stop! Our unconscious minds take over, filling us with a deep longing for more and more dangerous excitement.
The subconscious mind has a huge influence on our actions! The evil one knows about this, too, and he uses it to his advantage. Only instead of filling our minds with a deep longing for more and more excitement, he delights in using real, hurtful events and factual feelings associated with these events to lead innocent victims into a life of misery.
He constantly reminds us of these, distorting them with his own interpretations. "You are worthless! Even your own parents couldn't love you! It's because you are just a worm. Remember..." or "You can't do anything right! Even your wife hates you and your boss barely tolerates you. Remember..."
If we listen to him, which, for some reason, most of us have the tendency to do, we will accept his suggestions as truth and they, in turn, will become part of our belief system. "I am worthless!" "I am a no-gooder." "No one can love me!" "I need to stay away from people..." And so events from the past will control us for the rest of our lives.
Strongholds are not created by facts. They are created by what we believe happened to us, and these images created in our subconscious minds convince us that they are true, even though they actually may not be.
These untruths become our reality, and we develop coping mechanisms accordingly. These coping mechanisms can include such things as relational walls and fake intimacy, with the only purpose to minimize the pain we feel. In turn, they reinforce the strongholds--to the delight of the evil one! And so we live with a belief system that usually doesn't fit with reality.
The bad news is, we can consciously decide to believe something different, but unless our subconscious belief system agrees, we will not permanently change. The subconscious doesn't just change because of a conscious choice we make. The past truly controls our present.
Why? Because every input--every word, sound, image, or feeling--must first enter our subconscious' minds. Watch a subliminal commercial, for example. An attractive lady is drinking a cool, desirable and refreshing drink on a hot summer day. Before we even have the time to consciously think about it, an opinion is shaped. We become thirsty. We want some of the advertised drink.
Remember the daredevil drivers? Their minds have become conditioned to think that they "need": the thrill of living dangerously, and so they continue in their dangerous endeavors. They even condition themselves to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them, and nothing can convince them differently.
But there is a solution. As hopeless as it seems, it is up to us whether these strongholds become constructive or destructive. If we choose to meditate upon God's Word and spend quality time with our Forever Friend, these belief systems in our subconscious minds can be reversed. The key is to allow God access to our subconscious minds over and over again. Only then can the false beliefs we have stored there become revealed for the lies they truly are. Only then will we experience utter freedom.
Dear Lord, we ask that You will take control of our subconscious so that we would do the things You would have us to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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