by Jon Reeverts
Have you ever had one of those dreams that seemed so real that when you awoke your heart was racing, your blood pressure was elevated, you may have broken into a sweat and your respiration was,… well you know, screaming.
That dream may have set the tone for your day, especially if it involved images of those close to you acting in uncharacteristic ways. You may have set your mind against them or even turned cold before ever greeting them.
I was talking to our dear friend Tony the other day about memories. In the conversation, I had to admit to the fact that I have very few vivid memories before the age of nine. VIVID: You know - the ones where the smell is still in your nose, textures still seem familiar to the touch, colors are sharp and the sounds of where you were or who surrounded you resonate in your ears.
"I suppose that's to be expected because of all the chemo you have been through."
I have often felt like Michael Jennings from the movie Paycheck. It's like someone has gone through my mind and cleared the cache.
She then asked, “Why don’t you ask someone who was there to recreate them for you?”
“No way!” I replied. “I’d rather be living in the moment, than dwelling in the quality of my past, especially one that is not mine but of someone else’s construction.”
That’s true of dreams and memories. That space is hard to defend. And, Satan, the father of lies, would love to supply the false narrative, the emotion and the reaction. There ARE times I try to dig deep into the recesses of my mind to search out those memories - but, like a movie with alternative endings, my mind seems to construct uncomfortable, wild, even painful scripts that I can discern are not true. They want to lead me to false conclusions and plant false, destructive beliefs in my soul. "Did that really happen? Or what really happened there?"
I only have to picture the garden and his interaction with Eve and Adam, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat of ANY tree in the garden?’”
Satan poses the question, instigates the thought with a misstatement, and then provides the path for the fallout.
That blank space is fertile ground. In it the seeds of doubt and distrust are sown.
For example, if any of you remember studying short stories in your English classes, you may remember a piece called “Young Goodman Brown”. It’s a simple tale of a young husband who makes a journey through the depths of the night and forest accompanied by the deceiver. He leaves his young wife, Faith, to walk the path his father and grandfather had previously taken. What he thinks he experiences, which he cannot quantify or qualify, causes him to question his wife’s integrity, his marriage, his family, his community and his “faith” for the rest of his life, and he dies a bitter, old man.
In our ministry, we spend a lot of time talking about setting our minds (Colossians 3:2) and taking thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). It’s one thing to do to begin your day protected by having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). But it’s also essential to live in the Grace and power of Jesus now, and now and now. With each breath-our spirit, soul and body is resting in His goodness and authority and waging war against the powers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12).
It may not sound like it - but that’s prayer - that’s worship - that’s submitting yourself as a living sacrifice, wholly pleasing to God (Romans 12:1-2). In that frame and context - what do you think the overflow of that existence is? How would that mindset influence your daily conversations, relationships (private, personal, family or business)? On a physical level what do you think that would do for your heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, gut, or even nervous system? In fact, what would it do to your dreams and sleep?
Standing on ground that God has always owned, that our Savior has overcome and which we refuse to surrender, is the best place to dwell.
As Jesus put it, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
His truth gives a full, clear picture of dwelling or abiding in Christ. This is protected ground - it is God’s temple and as the 23rd Psalm states, “His rod and his staff comfort me,” Our Savior is armed to defend and protect us.
Not even the empty recess of our minds or pasts are available to the adversary when the King rules there.