Janet Smith – 10-9-2017 ©gardenministries.org
The greatest hindrance to prophecy is unbelief and the root cause of unbelief is an unrenewed mind.
Ephesians 4:17-24 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
We do not contain God. God contains us. God’s divine intelligence is founded in His Life and completely trumps our own finite human brain’s abilities to transform. How do we transition from leaning on our own understanding and the “wisdom” of the world and its religious spirit to completely leaning on God’s divine wisdom and understanding? The answer is always the same: by following the way Jesus leaned on His Father—in everyday obedience. The Way to the Father of Truth and Giver of Life is in Christ and Him alone. We are called to restfully abide in the mind of Jesus, the Tree of Life, Who’s fruit produces everlasting Life within us. His Life is our Source of divine intelligence (John 14:6). How do we abide in His mind? In principle, we abide in Him by enduring in our faith in His Word, staying anchored in the hope of His Faithfulness, and pouring ourselves out in love for His Truth. As we practice these principles, we are undergoing the process of mind renewal.
The dark powers that occupy middle heaven (Ephesians 2:2) are resisting and opposing the supernatural of God from being made manifest in the earth. Though these powers have been overcome by our first-fruits Head, Jesus Christ, they are still in the process of being overcome by us, the body of Jesus Christ. We, who are being matured and transformed into Christ’s fullness, are in a war to displace and replace the forces of darkness that currently occupy middle heaven. The main battleground in the war for middle heaven is fought within the human mind. At the name of Jesus every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10)! If Jesus is not yet Lord in my mind, He is not yet Lord in that area of my sphere of influence. My sphere of influence is where I directly affect and empower middle heaven for God’s sake or for the Devil. I am either empowering my sphere of influence with Faith and Truth or with Doubt and Lies. Without undergoing Christ’s mind renewal process unto Christ’s fullness, my restless, uncrucified mind will constantly attack or defend me and forever subject me to anxious, fearful, man-made solutions to my problems.
As priestly temples unto the living God, we are to daily offer ourselves to Jesus by setting ourselves apart unto Him and inviting Him to come and commune. We perform our daily first-love priestly ministry to God by giving Him first-place love and by showing up! Jesus calls to us every day: Come to Me!
Can we stop and drop all activities and fix our full, non-stop attention upon God for at least ½ hour every day? What if the next time we felt the desire to engage in some form of mindless entertainment or emotional escape, we took at least ½ hour to wait on God instead? And even if He remains silent as we wait, can we rest and just BE with Him without words or can we just praise and thank Him, “for He is good?” By giving Him this daily, disciplined first-love attention, we are picking a fight with our cultural influences and are opposing the spirit of our fallen mind that is under the world’s influence. Don’t be surprised with the mental kickback you get for taking this on! Our mental chatterbox may kick into hyper drive! Peaceful worshipful music during our ½ hour of focused prayer can help calm the back-chatter.
Day after day, even though we may feel completely distracted for the entire ½ hour and feel discouraged because we think nothing is happening, don’t judge it and don’t quit! Keep at it. Something BIG is happening whether we feel it or not! Faithfulness is forged over time. 2 Corinthians 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Verse 14 says that this veil is over our hardened mind. The Greek word for the Ephesians 4:17 “futility” [of the mind] literally means: vanity, emptiness, unreality, purposelessness, ineffectiveness, instability, frailty; false religion. This is how the veil hardens our minds.
But as we keep turning and yielding to the Lord, we can quote this very scripture back to Him and tell Him that His word promises to lift the veil from our mind. The attraction to the world will begin to fade and the desire and hunger for Jesus and His kingdom will increase. By turning to Jesus in this way, we are engaging in a process of laying aside the old man nature (Eph. 4:22), having our mind renewed (Eph. 4:23) and putting on the new man (Eph. 4:24). The hardest part of discipline is the enduring consistency it requires. Hebrews 6:12: We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
We may or may not see instant change, but if we keep waiting on God in focused worship, we will see the fruit of His Life born within us and ripen over time. His Life is our Source for divine intelligence. As we commune with the Holy Spirit and receive impartations of His Life, our mind is renewing and is blooming and casting forth His beautiful image. We are smelling more and more like His fragrant glory!
Galatians 5:16-36: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
The eternal fruits of the Holy Spirit reward us by forever replacing the world’s systems of perceived success that are activated by the deeds of our carnal nature. This mind renewal process will humble every last one of us so that we do not self-evaluate through our exalted mind and compare and judge ourselves with others based on temporal values. The intellectual prowess of fallen humanity is, by its very self-centered carnal nature, a dominating and competitive force that seeks to exalt itself and dominate by idolizing and conforming to something or someone who is valued and perceived as greater but is not the living God. To dominate and subjugate has been Satan’s modus operandi (his “MO”) from the beginning.
The power born from the mental attitude of: “I know better” was first sewn into humanity by the serpent in the garden when he seductively undermined God’s commands with his 1-2-3 punch we call the Cycle of Unbelief:
1.) Doubt God. “Has God said?”
2.) Find your own answer and rely on your own resources. “I know a better wisdom…”
3.) Disobey God’s commands. “Do this and you will know better too.”
Transformation is directly linked to the renewal of the mind. A renewed mind finds rest from anxiety and depression caused by these Cycles of Unbelief and self-reliance. Rest comes when we abide in the perfect, Life-giving will of God. If we turn to Him, and daily offer ourselves as living sacrifices, we can trust Him to extract the fear of growing older, not having enough, and the tyranny of time.
When we seek to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, we are asking God to help us stop turning toward our own ways of thinking and our own sources of comfort. We are asking Him to help us give Him our time in more spiritually productive ways. If God gets what He wants in us, we too will have all that we want!
Yielding our will and turning to God as living sacrifices is a form of humbling ourselves before Him. Humility is the environment in which the Spirit of Prophecy and true unity flourishes. And true unity attracts the Glory! (2 Chronicles 5:11-14)
The following Romans 12 steps will build us up in the Ephesians 4:13 unity of the faith, attain mature stature, and receive Christ’s fullness:
1. Living sacrifice: give our priestly spiritual service of worship by waiting on God every day whether we feel like it or not.
2. Mind renewal: let the Holy Spirit start and continue His work of drawing us out of worldly stimulations and compunctions.
3. Increased faith to prophesy: displace the attraction to proving ourselves to people by replacing it with a desire to be found pleasing to God through faith.
4. Humility: recognize where our aggravated ego is driving us into isolation and self-soothing rituals.
5. Authentic love: let love be without hypocrisy. Speak truth. Say what we mean. Mean what we say, or be quiet.
6. Practice hospitality: get outside of ourselves and contribute to each other’s needs.
Romans 12:1-12: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Proverbs 3: Wisdom Bestows Well-Being 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first-fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.