Foundations Class #2
Levels of Change
Starts with two stories...
1. True Story. He had driven out to help his aunt who had a flat tire. He used a metric lug wrench on an American car, it wouldn't work so he forced it, stripping out all the lugs. He used the wrong tools to try to fix the problem and trying harder made it worse.
2. Potty Training Parable. You have an infant and shortly after you realize that the child needs his/her diaper changed. So you change it and it gets dirty again, and you change it, and it gets dirty again... Constant change but nothing changes. Then you get a higher order of change. Potty training. Once the child is potty trained you no longer have to change the messes anymore. A higher order of change has over-ridden the former things.
It is this type of change we are referring to with "Levels" of change. Not levels as in: When I pass 1st grade I will be in 2nd grade. It's not linear change, progressive change, rather it is higher order. Each order builds on itself and affects the order below. Ultimately if you achieve the highest level of change the other levels will fall in line with that.
The first level of change is: Environment, and Experience through Environment.
The fallacy is that if we could just change the things outside of us, everything in our lives would work. Where ever you go, there you are.
"If we believe that changing our environment will have anything to do with setting us free we are already in bondage to that belief." Paul sat in a prison cell in absolute freedom. Circumstance cannot dictate your freedom or lack thereof. Freedom is becoming who you were created to be, regardless of the circumstance you are in.
Back in AA we used to call this the Geographical Cure.
Characterized by: "If Only..."
The second level of change is Behavior (including Thoughts-Feelings)
This level says: "I wish I wouldn't..." What we discover is that what we do is connected to what we think or what we feel.
This is connected to the level of your experience/environment. "Bob how are you doing? I'm doing fine. How do you feel? I feel great. What else is going on? I think everything is fine." OR "I'm doing lousy, I feel awful, I think I'm going to faint..." This is the outward expression of the inward experience of being you. You are describing what it's like to be you.
This creates a problem when dealing with change. If you've ever done something stupid what happens. You think "that was stupid". Then you feel stupid. Then you will continue to perpetuate this pattern. Do, Think, Feel become a self feeding cycle. The more I think stupid I feel stupid, the more I feel stupid the more I do stupid, the more I think stupid...
This is also the level of our "Flesh". A significant portion of counselors point to this level. Cognitive therapy often deals at this level. Think your way to feeling better. Rational Emotive therapy. When you think rational thoughts you will have rational emotions. Using your mind to control your behavior or shape your emotions is like arm wrestling yourself. You will win, and loose that arm wrestle. Or taking your hands and putting them under your feet and trying to lift yourself up off the floor.
Churches are guilty of this too. "All we can do is arm wrestle ourselves and some days we win and some days we loose and the blood covers the bad days. That's just the way it is..."
The way you act affects your environment. Our environment is subject to our behavior, but our behavior is reinforced by our environment/experience. Is everyone driving too slow or are you driving to fast?
The Third Level of Change is Capability (This is the hinge point)
When you try to loose weight the first ten is easier than the next two. As you press into the change resistance gets harder. If you do this on your own power the thermostat kicks in and puts pressure on us to conform to the things we've believed all our lives. It gets harder and harder to change the things that have never changed...
Defined as those things that can or cannot do based on how we do, think, feel.
Often heard in: "I can't... because..." Internal Limitations.
The Fourth Level of Change is Belief
Thoughts reside in the mind. You can put language to it. It's conscious. And it's relatively easy to change. "This is true. This is not true."
Beliefs reside in the heart. There are often no words attached to it, and it's not something you are always aware of. Often you are not aware of it, until you suddenly become aware of it. It's more sensation than thought. The experiences you've had have convinced you of it.
"I'm ugly... no body loves me..." Etc...
It's like that internal record that keeps playing, affecting those things you do, think, and feel.
Proverbs 23:7 (King James Version)The flows of life come from the heart, not the mind. It's not just in our heart, it's over our heart. It's like a contact lens over your heart through which you perceive your experiences.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
Proverbs 23:7Amplified Bible (AMP)
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost].
Proverbs 4:23 (King James Version)
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
When you tell someone: "You have believed a lie." they get mad and say "That's no lie, that's the way it is!"
He hands a lady who has been dealing with a cycle of depression for 11 years a list of scriptures. She is frustrated that her experience and the what the Word of God says have been counter each other.
Faith comes by HEARING the word of God, from God. He does NOT tell her to read and speak them... he asks her to ask God to speak them to her... As she finished reading the list silently she read the last one out loud and said: "These are true for ME TOO! Why didn't anyone tell me that?!" He asked her to repeat this exercise and come back in two weeks. She missed her appointment because she was cleaning her garage, for the first time in eleven years. What changed for her was not her "thoughts" but the source of her truth. Hearing God speak, changed her internal truth.
What we believe about God affects how we respond to God and His Word.
What we believe about ourselves
What is a "Bennie Baby" worth? If you ask the manufacturer it's worth $0.25 in materials. If you ask the retailer it was worth $5.95. If you asked eBay it was worth $150.00. If you ask a little girl Bob knows, her dad paid $1,000 just to get the one she wanted.
How do you determine the value of a thing? Ask the right person.
If you ask a biologist what you are worth, maybe $1.39 in material, water and carbon. If you ask the world, you it depends on your looks, abilities, money, etc... If you ask God... You are worth the price that was paid for you, you are worth the blood of Jesus!
These four levels you can work to change. The last level you CANNOT change on your own.
The Final Level of Change: Identity
Identity is the blue print in the heart of God when he created you! Not what you have cooked up, or thought, or experience has told you about you.
When you see who you really are, the person God created you to be... when you see yourself the way HE created you, you see the way HE sees you... it will impact your beliefs which will heighten your capabilities, which will change the way you act, think, and feel, which will change the circumstances around you.
Levels of Change
Now, the Impact
The blue print in God's mind is the only thing that can change your identity. Because it is in His mind, it must change from HIM not from us. The first four levels of Change we can have SOME impact on. However the last level of change is one which we have no impact over. The things that is blocking us from changing at that level is: SIN.
Genesis 3, the fall of man. Sin separated us from God's identity in us.
Now, often we make the mistake of defining SIN at the level of Behavior. "SIN is something we do that we shouldn't do, think that we shouldn't think, feel that we shouldn't feel." This is a trap because it causes people to think "Sin is X, I'll just do Y instead..." this is wrong and doesn't really solve the issue.
1. We simply try to please God by changing our behavior.
2. We tend to receive God's whole solution for only part of the problem.
Coming to God about past Behavior is like taking Tylenol for a headache when the cause of the headache is cancer. Forgiveness of sin deals with the fruit of the problem, not the cause. Behavior is not the problem it's the fruit of it. Tylenol WILL help deal with the symptom but you need a stronger medicine to deal with the cause.
It's as though I would say to God "I stole a car. God please forgive me for what I did." That's fine, the cross is there to wipe your past away, but there is another level at which He gives you power over that so that you don't do it again.
Incorrect/Incomplete Definition of Sin: Bad Behavior
The problem is that we so often define the problem as Behavior, when in fact Behavior is the fruit of the real problem.
Correct/More Complete Definition of Sin: Sin is the absence of God in the Human soul.
Where there is not LIFE (God is Life) there is Death. Death reigns in the Human soul where God does not. The source of your life of is cut off. Death isn't about ceasing animation. Death is the absence of the force of LIFE. Just as: Darkness is the absence of Light.
Soul: Mind (thoughts), Will (behavior), Emotions (feelings).
The Trap of thinking Sin=Behavior: the feeling of death hurts. We search for things external to make us feel alive. Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, Religion, Ministry, TV, Movies, Hobbies, Relationships, Etc.
The fruit outwardly is a result of death inwardly.
Jesus didn't die on the cross because the list of your behaviors = death legally.
Jesus died on the cross because you have death, he had life. He had to make that exchange.
Many people approach Jesus as savior to save us from past behavior.
Jesus didn't die for what you've done, He died for who you ARE.
You don't come to Jesus to deal with the list of things you've done, but you bring Him YOU, and he exchanges your dead self and replaces it with His new self. When we bring him behavior all He can ask us to do is try harder. When we bring Him our dead self he can make the Great Exchange. In Jesus the wall of SIN separating us is removed. Therefore if we are in Jesus our Identity is IN HIM and that identity connects us to the rest we need to affect.
Salvation is not about behaving correctly. It's BEING a new person on the inside. Being a Christian is not about new sets of behaviors. Salvation is not about trying harder and asking for forgiveness. It's replacing my old nature with your new nature. Jesus takes our death and gives us HIS Life.
Take a moment and ask God: "God, salvation is replacing my old nature with your new nature. Have I done that?"
The words don't matter as much as the intent of them. If you haven't; pray something like this: "Jesus, I'm dead inside. I ask you to exchange my dead nature for your free-life nature. Make me new inside."
You don't get free from what you do until you get free from who you are.The old you is crucified on the cross and the new you is raised from the dead.
Whether you did that 10 years ago or 10 seconds ago, Christian Leaders often makes the mistake of going right back to behavior. Right after taking someone through this they take the person to a room and give them a list of new behaviors, and it doesn't stick. It's like going back to arm wrestling yourself.
This doesn't work. They assume that you can behave differently just because you have Jesus in you. This is not true. This is legalism. The old patterns of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, experiences, and environment is still there, limited by beliefs and capabilities.
As your beliefs change your capabilities will change, impacting how you think, act, and feel, which will change the relationships around you which creates a new environment.
Does this mean reading your bible, going to church, doing other "religious" activities is not important? No. But these things are not meant to address your need at the level of behavior. They are not so that you will "Act Better". These things are meant to renew your heart to who you are IN HIM. As you renew your heart you will belief better, which gives you higher orders of capability, which affect your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which impact the world around you for the better. Your environment (Job, Marriage, Relationships, Habits, Etc) will be affected positively for the better as a result of renewing your heart to who you are In Him. It will not require you to work or do better, nor will it require effort. It will be the natural by product of believing your new identity, and discovering what that identity is.
What do I mean by this? Let's say you find out that you are a new creation In Christ, and you have not been given a spirit of Fear but of Power, Love, and a Sound Mind.
Let's say insanity or lower versions of it, run in your family and you've spent generations worth of time as a family in and out of therapists offices. You've had an Identity of "Clinically Depressed" for so many years, maybe since childhood, that you see yourself this way. You don't Believe that you could be different, so your Limited (inCapable) of change, therefore you Think, Feel, and Act depressed, which create experiences and therefore the Environment around you confirms that you are this way.
Now you realize that YOU are not Identified with depression, but rather Identified as In Christ, a new creature full of Power, Love, and a Sound Mind. This identity allows you to Believe that you are free, freedom is not something you work for, it already belongs to you. You simply need to enforce your right. As you believe you see yourself Capable of change, Capable of living with Joy and Fullness. Because of this new found capability you Think, Feel, and Act differently. This creates new Experiences in your relationships with people and places and therefore the Environment around you begins to confirm this change has taken place.
EnemiesThere are enemies to your new life that try to crush you and keep your from seeing this New Life. Here are three enemies that will work against you, as you are aware of the Schemes of Satan you can work around these and overcome.
The battleground for your life is the place of the old you (Beliefs based on your past experiences) and the new you (Beliefs based upon that which was done in you through Christ). You don't get free from who you are until the old you is crucified on the cross.
This battleground is moving our beliefs in experience to God's new reality.
- Demonic Oppression
- Demonic activity in 21st Century USA looks different than it does in third world nations. This is because the enemy opposes you at the level you are most vulnerable. In the USA we define reality in terms of Intellect and Materialism. This is not to say we are smart and rich, it is to say that we are defining our reality by that which we can see, taste, touch, and feel, and that which we can reason. That which we can comprehend Scientifically or Philosophically.
- Therefore demonic activity in the USA often is seen as thoughts that are contrary to who you are In Him. "You are just so stupid..." or "I am just so stupid..." You think these are your thoughts, they are not. "You are going to fail..." or "You are the worst believer..."
- How can the devil attack at thoughts? You ever wake up in the morning and your favorite band is in your head? No, the band can't fit in your head. But their music is, and their music has created pathways and mental processes so that you can still hear the music even though it's not playing anymore. This is also true for stupid commercial jingles you don't want to remember. Bob says for example: "I do not have hard core rap in my head at random times. That is because I've never made a place for it or put it in me. However when some random old rock song comes on the radio I can still sing the words many years after. This is because I made place in my heart at one time for those things." Therefore if the devil attacks you at a level you have already made a place he can get in. You are most vulnerable to the songs you know very well. You must renew yourself to who you are In Him and remove the place in your heart for those old things. If he can just start the song you will finish it. "You are so dumb..." and you'll take off from there. It's like a broken record that plays so long you don't hear it conciously anymore.
- Demonic Oppression only gains strength as we give them more and more place.They gain strength the more that we agree with them. In the same way, as we disagree with them they loose strength.
- World System
- The world's system war against us.
- Family. God's primary design for Family is that it is a way to transmit blessings for thousands of generations. In this fallen system family defects often influence us. "If my Dad abandoned me it's hard to believe God will always be with me." Past family traits and experiences will work against the new us.
- Circumstances of your life will create past experiences which will impact belief.
- The Church
- Religion and traditions of men.
- Often someone stands up with a microphone and bible and addresses the crowd and we automatically attribute to them authority that may or may not actually be of God.
- Whole churches or whole groups of churches can become toxic as these fallacies grow from generation to generation.
- Because the church is a human run organization it is prone to error and as we digest that error we are soured at some level for certain things.
- Also because it's human run, the church can be just as toxic and damaging to a human heart as any other organization.
- We must make our relationship between ourselves and God, through His Word, and take anything taught by men to God for correction or revelation.
- The Flesh
- The Flesh is the part of you that you travel around in.
- Homework, Read: Romans 6-9
- Three Chracters war within you:
- Old Nature (Sin Nature, Old Man, Dead Nature)
- Flesh (Body, Container, physical needs, desires, nervous system, etc)
- Nervous System feeds you back information about your experience. Satan is trying to program your experiences so that your nervous system will tell you things about truth or what to believe. It CAN lie to you.
- New Nature (Spirit, Born Again Spirit)
- In Salvation the old man is crucified and buried. The nervous system has been programed by the old nature for years. Just because the old man is dead and buried doesn't mean the program stopped running. It's as though you given away your computer to someone else but don't wipe the hard drive, there is still all your old data stored in there, and viruses and still there that you didn't clean out, etc.
- New Nature is born inside the Flesh. The New Spirit is meant to re-program from the inside out working through you.
A Parable: The Kingdom of God is like: Phantom Limb Syndrome
- Phantom Limb Syndrome is where a limb, a leg for example, is removed, but the brain still sends signals as though it's there. The missing foot can itch, burn, hurt, etc.
When doctors treat the symptom of the nervous system (ei: giving Tylenol when the missing foot hurts) they can actually strengthen the nervous systems embedded reactions telling the brain the leg is still in tact. It was successful temporarily, but it maintained the lie over time. This was because as the treatment made it better for a moment and then it got worse again, and more medicine made it better, but then it got worse again, and it could strengthen the programing of the brain.
Phantom Limb Syndrome SolutionInstead some doctors who know this will instead prescribe a series of treatments that engage the new nerve endings. Touch the NEW nerve endings with hot things, cold things, prickly things, soft things, as many new sensations as possible to stimulate the NEW nerve endings, telling the nervous system through new experiences that something has indeed change, allowing the brain to be re-routed for this new information. Get the FOCUS of the brain to what is NEW THERE.
In order to allow the new nature you were born with to reprogram our nervous system we must begin to stimulate the new nerve endings, which allows the nervous system to reprogram those new experiences into our beliefs.
Many people who get saved are told to go to church, read your bible, pray, etc... Newsflash... you don't HAVE to do any of those things. They have nothing to do with your going to heaven or being saved.
However the Bible is a book full of Words written BY GOD FOR YOU and it's full of information about what has been done in you already. Instead of wrestling with a dead man who isn't there anymore we can begin to stimulate our nervous system to what is NEW in us. Going to church and being with other believers, hearing the Word Taught, but also talking WITH other believers allows us to renew our nervous system to that which is NEW there. Bible Reading, Pastors Messages, Prayer, Church Gathering, Etc are all ways to stimulate what is new about you, that which has ALREADY happened.
The more of these you do, with the mindset that you are not doing them "to become", but rather, "to discover" what you "have become", the faster we can re-program our nervous system to understand what is new about us and what has died.
*This writting was an adaptation on the message from Bob Hamp and my notes from taking a class in person with another teacher and listening to Bob's Teaching online. Links are included to get there above, but here as well. I hope it helped you. My notes don't give it justice, listen for yourself!
Go to Levels of Change! http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom-kairos/media1..
How about you? You see anything to add to this? Want to share what examples you have seen or experience in yourself or others? Comment below.
I call you empowered 2 prosper with good success!
N2 Good SuccessDarrell G. Wolfe