In the first two parts of this series we learned that most of the pain we experience in life is due to our own minds and the perceptions we experience through them. Then we learned that as new creations in Christ, we are no longer slaves to what our carnal minds want to think and that through the divine assistance given to us, we can "take every thought captive." We unpacked how to do that and deduced that being set free from the negative ramblings of our minds requires us to declare that we are not our mind. In this article, we're going to further explore where this pain comes from and dive a bit deeper into the concept of judgment mentioned briefly in part 1.
1. Pain is a Perception of the Mind.
2. You Are Not Your Mind.
Now that we understand that pain is, in fact, an option and that we are separate from the carnal mind, having the power to put on the mind of Christ and take those carnal thoughts captive that cause us pain, we can move on to point 3:
3. Judgment Creates Pain.
Out of all the points in this series, I believe this might be the most powerful. Once you fully understand where the pain comes, you can develop a plan to reduce or stop it all together.
There are three components to the timeline of our lives: the past, the present, and the future. Virtually all pain originates from the mind's perception and judgment of those three parts, especially the past and the future. When we look back at events in our past through the lens of critical judgment, we end up with bitterness, anger, resentment, shame, depression, etc. And when we pre-judge the future and allow our minds to forecast things that haven't happened yet, that can lead to worry, anxiety, and stress. So in reality, most of our pain is actually self-induced by us allowing our minds to judge both the past and the present from a non-biblical perspective. If we would truly understand that the past no longer exists and the future has not happened yet, we can live in the NOW, in the power of the present, and allow the peace of God to surpass all our understanding.
Did you hear what I just said? Philippians 4:6-7 says, "6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Understanding is our mind. We are commanded in Proverbs 3:5 to "lean not on [our] own understanding..." In other words, we are not to allow our minds to lead us or forecast or judge unrighteously. Like Paul said to the Philippians, when we cast our cares and submit our mind's perceptions and the situations we're dealing with to the Father through prayer, His peace SURPASSES our mind's understanding of the situation and that peace "guards" our hearts and minds from a hostile takeover of that carnal flesh. Not judging the situation brings that peace and allows Him to have full control over our lives. When we allow our minds to surpass His peace, we are, in fact, stating that someone or something else has control over our lives and we submit to the pain the enemy is trying to inflict on us.
Think about this for a second. As humans, we're prone to judging everything that happens to us as either good or bad. But how is it possible for us believers to make those kinds of judgments when Scripture says in Romans 8:28 that "...all things work together for good to those who love God [and are] called according to His purpose"? How can we complain and determine that anything is bad if, as a child of the Most High, every "bad" thing is guaranteed to result in good? To determine any event as bad is to judge the Word of God as untrue because we are judging only from our limited understanding of the bigger picture we're connected to.
For example, was it a "bad" thing for Joseph to be falsely accused and sent to prison when his time in prison is what catapulted him into the most powerful position in all of Egypt, a position that would save Israel and guarantee their future? Was it a bad thing for Paul to be sent to prison when most of the New Testament resulted from the letters he penned there? When we look at the life of Christ and see all the terrible things that were done to Him that led to His final crucifixion, would we say that it was bad or good, knowing that His suffering produced life and salvation for every nation?
In every one of those examples, there is no denying that there was pain experienced in the individuals' present tense. And there's no doubt that the minds of those individuals could - and most likely did - interpret those painful present moments as "bad" or even "evil." But if you could talk to Joseph, Paul, or Yeshua today and ask them if going to prison, being falsely accused, or even being killed was bad or good, there can be no doubt that all three would say that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. The salvation of the early Israelite people, the salvation of the world through Christ, and most of the New Testament was created out of some of the worst scenarios one can imagine. So it's true that what the mind perceives as "good" and "bad" is just that--a perception. The reality is written in the heavens and is promised by His Word. Reality is above us and only those that operate and exercise faith can bring Romans 8:28 into the NOW.
So all of this really comes down to one simple question: Do we believe in His Word or not? Do we have the mind of the flesh that says, "This is good and this is bad,"? Or do we have the mind of Christ that refuses to judge any situation as good or bad and just settles on the truth that "It just is"? This allows the Creator to judge the situation by His heavenly standard and Word.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of this point and how life-changing it will be once you absorb it into your heart and mind and exercise it in your life. Ever since the fall, the mind is bent toward judging the past and the future through its negative fallen lens. It refuses to live in the NOW moments and loves to create pain for the regenerated spirit man that is fighting to be more like Christ. Once we understand that the problem is not with other people, but with how we react to and judge those circumstances, we can step outside those thoughts, take them captive with the mind of Christ, and begin to display the very character and image that every believer desires to emulate.
In the next article, I will introduce another principle and then provide for you three powerful examples of how all of them are lived out in real time.