Marcus Arrelious wrote that “the whole world is change and life itself is what you deem it.” In other words, what we are today is the result of our thoughts from yesterday and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow. Although life is the creation of our mind – the genuine quality of this life has it fulfillment only within the mind of Christ. Events in the world only affect us through our interpretation of them. So, if we can control our interpretations we can control “our” world. I don’t mean to oversimplify or speak in impossibilities. The truth is that when we see and interpret through the mind and spirit of Christ, life itself takes on a different hue, color, purpose, and understanding. Interpreting the mind of Christ is at the core of this message as I believe an extra measure of anointing is being poured forth in the gift of “Interpretation.” This anointing will define what is good and bad and, just as important, define what is truly evil or simply the thinking processes of our mind (soul) through past experiences and how we have chosen to process those past events. As a prophetic generation, we will require this deep discernment if we are to garner respect and integrity from its recipients. The prophetic body has cried wolf so often that few are truly listening or searching for the genuine nuggets buried deep in the quagmire of fleshly offerings.
Let’s say for example, that a moment comes when a person consumed by years of resentment, pain, and anger realizes that her father didn’t directly hurt her when he abandoned the family; in other words, all he did was move out of the house. His action is certainly morally wrong but the pain came from her reactions and how she continued to respond to the event. If she can change those reactions and responses, she can leave behind decades of pain and perhaps even get to know her father. The Spirit is actively leading us in this hour to examine our reactions and to rightly interpret the mind of Christ in our relationships. We cannot move forward into our destiny without a repair of these self-created and sustained breaches. We rationalize the fault of the “other person.” However, the cross is in plain view and just before us on our path and life‘s journey. We can choose to walk past it or pick it up. It starts right now for you and me. Broken and sustained relational breaches must be healed before we can continue to operate in untainted prophecy.
I would like to introduce you to Anicius Boethius, born to one of the most distinguished Roman families in 480 AD (4 years after Rome fell to the Goths). Boethius received the best education available in his day and successfully pursued careers in philosophy and public service. He wrote or translated dozens of works on math, science, logic, and theology. He would finally rise to become consul of Rome (The highest elected office) in 510 AD. He was wealthy; he married well, and his sons went on to become consuls themselves. But in 523 at the peak of his power and fortune, Boethius was accused of treason against the Ostrogoth King Theodoric for remaining loyal to Rome and its senate (attempting to reconcile Rome and Constantinople). Condemned by the cowardly senate he had tried to defend, Boethius was stripped of his wealth and honor and thrown into prison on a remote island and executed in 524.
To take or endure something “philosophically” means to accept a great misfortune without complaint, weeping, or even suffering. We use the term “philosophically” in part because of the calmness, self control, and courage that many ancient philosophers such as Socrates, Seneca, and Boethius showed while awaiting their executions. But in the “Consolations of Philosophy” that Boethius wrote while in prison, he confessed that at first he was anything but philosophical. He wept and wrote poems about weeping. He cursed injustice, old age, and the “Goddess of Fortune” who had blessed him and then abandoned him. Then one night while Boethius is wallowing in his self proclaimed wretchedness, the majestic aberration of “Lady Philosophy” visits him and proceeds to chide him for his un-philosophical behavior. Lady Philosophy then guides Boethius through re-interpretations or a type that foreshadows the healing and anointing that is being extended today to those who have hearts and ears to hear.
Lady Philosophy begins by asking Boethius to think about his relationship with the Goddess of Fortune. Lady Philosophy reminds Boethius that fortune is fickle, coming and going as she pleases. Boethius took fortune as his mistress, fully aware of her ways and she stayed or was “in bed” with him for a long time. What right has he now to demand that she be chained to his side? Lady Philosophy presents Goddess of Fortunes defense:
“Why should I alone be deprived of my rights? The heavens are permitted to grant bright days and then blot them out with dark nights. The year may decorate the face of the earth with flowers and fruits, then make it barren again with clouds and frost. The seas are allowed to invite the sailor with fair weather and then terrify him with storms. Shall I then permit man’s insatiable cupidity to tie me down to a sameness that is alien to my habits?”
Lady Philosophy states change as normal and as the right of “fortune.” Boethius was “fortunate” and now he is not, which is no cause for anger. Rather, he should be grateful that he enjoyed fortune for so long and he should be calm now that she has left him. Reading between the lines, we can deduce that according to Lady Philosophy, no man can ever be truly secure until he has been forsaken by fortune. She also points out that his wife, sons, and father are each dearer to him than his own life and all four are still live. She helps him see that adverse fortune is more beneficial than good fortune. The later only makes men greedy for more, but adversity makes them strong. She also draws Boethius’s imagination far up into the heavens so that he can look down on the earth and see it as a tiny speck on which even tinier specs of people play out their oftentimes comical, insignificant, and self-serving ambitions. She gets him to admit that riches and fame are more apt to bring anxiety and avarice, not peace and happiness. True peace can only be obtained through Christ who is the Spirit of prophecy and we can rest that God in his justice and love will make all things right at the end — for every man according to his deeds.
After being shown these new perspectives and having his old assumptions challenged, Boethius is finally prepared to absorb the greatest lesson of all: Nothing is miserable or impossible unless you think it so. And on the other hand, nothing brings happiness and lasting joy unless you are content with it. When Boethius takes this understanding to heart, it frees himself from his mental prison. He regains his composure, writes a book that has comforted people for centuries, and faces his death with dignity. The power of this message resides in the fact that Boethius is being spoken about this day and hour because of his change and outlook on what is bad, unjust, and even expressions of evil.
We can obtain freedom for our spirit and soul through insight. Sometimes, the greatest sight that we require, is not natural 20/20 sight, but the sight that can honestly look deep within ourselves. The problem is that once we achieve such dramatic insights into our own lives and resolve to change our way or our outlook, we probably found that three months later, we were right back where we started. Epiphanies or spiritual understandings can be life altering, but most fade within days or weeks. Our consciousness (brain) can’t just decide to change and then order our soul to go along with the program. Lasting change can only come by retraining the soul deep within through discipline and this is hard to do regardless of what somebody may say whether spiritually or through human psychology. We usually “change” our perspective on life and relationships, not due to the initial insight at “first glance,” but to address our soul-man over the course of weeks, months, and even years.
The soul-man, left redeemed or apart from the Spirit of God, will naturally gravitate toward negativity and pessimism. The most important words to your soul is “like’ and “dislike” and “approach” and “withdrawal.” Even the simplest of God’s creatures must make decisions at every moment of every day. Left or right, go or stop, eat or don’t eat. Creatures with brains complex enough to have emotions make these decisions effortlessly and automatically by having a built in “gravitational pull” which defines or makes these choices in our heads at all times. Our choices are subtle, but we have a “like – dislike” system continually running in our soul-man that defines us more than many may know and is effectual and growing through every experience. Life is truly what we make it. However, the deeming of it happens deep within the soul. Many in religious camps have this adverse and weird hatred of the soul, which they interpret to be the antithesis of spirit. I agree that the soul needs to be submitted to the spirit. But my argument is that the spirit cannot be improved upon by man. Man’s choices, which reside in the soul, are to be led by the Spirit in accordance with our spirit-man which possesses a body and soul that is in alignment or in agreement with the Holy Spirit. This is abundant life in which pure and untainted prophecy has its origins and springs forth in changing the environment around us. With this said, the greatest hindrance to this alignment is our natural-man bias toward “negativity” or what is “bad.”
Clinical Psychologists often refer to two types of people seeking therapy: “Those who need “tightening” and those who need “loosening.” But for every patient seeking help in becoming more tight, organized, self-controlled, and more responsible about the future, there is a far greater percentage hoping to loosen up, lighten up, and worry less about the stupid things they may have said at work, or the rejection they are sure will follow tomorrow’s appointment. For most people, the soul sees many things in our short life as bad and not enough as good. After all, it kind of makes sense if it were you who was designing the mind of a fish. Would you design it to respond as strongly to opportunities as to threats? No way! The cost of missing a sign that signals food is low. Odds are that there are other fish in the sea and one misstep or mistake won’t lead to starvation. The cost of missing the sign of a nearby predator however, can be catastrophic. It would be game over and the end of the line for that species. This is how all complex brains are wired. With this said, we must remember that we reside and have our being in a fallen world. The transforming of our minds (souls) is not a one shot deal. Salvation offers us the ability to grow and mature our minds as a disciplined choice by the Spirit which supersedes the residue and imprints of the fallen or corrupt mind.
Our mind or soul left unredeemed (a fallen or corrupted state) and left at the mercy of the natural-man will simply respond to the environment much like a thermometer. The spirit-led man is reflective of a thermostat which dictates or sets the environment.
One of natural man’s primary out-workings of his or her soul is that bad is stronger than good. Responses to threats and what is unpleasant are faster, stronger, and harder to inhibit than responses to opportunities and pleasures. This negative bias shows up all over everyday life for both the believer and non-believer alike. Reputable studies have shown that in marital interactions it takes five good or constructive actions to make for the damage done by one critical or destructive act. In financial transactions and gambles, the pleasure of gaining a certain amount of money is smaller than the pain of losing the same amount. In evaluating a person’s character, people estimate that it would take 25 acts of life saving heroism to make up for one act of murder to “satisfy” their soul. When preparing a meal, food is easily contaminated by a single antenna of a cockroach, but the same meal is difficult to purify or eat thereafter although just a very small portion was “bad.” The catch is that the human mind or soul reacts to bad things more quickly, strongly, and persistently than to equivalent good things.
It seems that we just can’t will ourselves to see everything as good because our minds are naturally wired to find and react to threats, violations, disasters, and set-backs. Benjamin Franklin stated: “We are not so sensible of the greatest health as of the least sickness.” Although the soul of the natural man can process some positive information, the brain in its naturally soulish state has no “green” or “go” alert system to notify you instantly of a delicious meal or a likely partner to marry. Such thoughts or appraisals take longer in thought processes. Once again, bad is stronger and faster within the mind or soul than what is good. The soul of a man will react for a snake if it is simply seen on the path. Although you can tell yourself that you’re not afraid of snakes, if your soul through past education or experience fears them and rears up, you’ll still be thrown like a bull rider (your spiritual intentions) from the bull (your natural soul).
One final point about our natural patterns of consciousness is that external stimuli reach up into the frontal cortex of our brains to change our thinking. It actually shifts the entire brain over to a withdrawal orientation rather than a pursuing or positive orientation. There is a two way street between emotions and conscious thoughts. Thoughts can cause emotions — as when we reflect on a foolish thing we may have said. But emotions can also cause thoughts primarily by raising mental filters that bias certain information processing. A flash of fear makes you extra vigilant for additional threats. You look at the world through a filter that interprets ambiguous or benign events as possible dangers. A flash of anger toward someone raises a filter through which you see everything the offending person says or does as a further insult or transgression.
Likewise, feelings of sadness blind you to all pleasures and opportunities within the abundant life. As one famous depressive put it, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world.” Coming full circle, Shakespeare quotes Marcus Arrelious in Hamlet: “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” While this may be true to a point, he should have also added that the emotions he chooses to possess are making his thinking make everything bad.
This message is not to discount evil and its obvious reality and impact on humanity. However, this message is to address many prophetic mindsets that are birthed from immature and unhealed souls. I stated earlier that we have cried wolf so many times that we have lost the respect and attention of many. This is true. My hope is that we look deep inside our souls with discipline and that we embrace the order of the Spirit. Christ is the Spirit of prophecy and thus, prophecy should reflect the mind of Christ. It is not our burden to carry the injustices of man nor to judge mankind. God, in his rich love, mercy, and justice will make all things right at the end. Our job is simple: To love God and mankind with all of our heart and “mind” … and to treat others as we desire to be treated. As for prophesy, lets try to bless mankind, the church, the possibilities, and the opportunity that awaits all who accept the power of the cross — the abundant life.