This writ is biased. I am basing my assumptions on actual experiences in my life leading up to conversion, and, post-conversion efforts. You will see that my perceptions are shaped by my entire life being led into conversion through environmental factors i.e. media, society, family.
As a boy I was forced to attend church services with my family. We attended a Catholic church on base and, for many years, I suffered through the tedius homily and the quiet atmosphere. This exposure to the Christian belief system shaped my future outreach.
By the time I was fifteen I was done with the Catholic church, it was just too boring and lifeless for my tastes. Their practices and traditions were also undesirable to me. But, a foundation had been laid. When I got out on my own I searched for other avenues of faith. I sought out various denominations settling on the Holy Rollers because of the liveliness of the gatherings. I was always interested in Buddhism but never took the plunge. I did read up on it occasionally but never found it intriguing enough to pursue. Therefore, I can only base this writ on my experiences as a Christian.
In my early twenties I decided to “get God” and went to a church to be “saved.” It was in this experience that I found my mind opened to the possibilities of a spirit world sharing our space here on earth. The people at the church gathered those of us who “committed” together and we were all encouraged to invite the Holy Spirit to rest upon us and we spoke in “tongues.” We each spoke in our own spiritual “language” as a sign of our faith.
Again, my mind was open to the possibilities. I “invited” the opportunity to be blessed by the spirit world. This is a key factor in belief and results. Now, for there to be a desired result from such an experience there has to be something in the spirit world to experience. There has to be some sort of commodity to purchase with my belief. You can’t just believe and have nothing to aim for. There must be a target. In this case we were assisted by other Christians, mature Christians in the act of drawing out the commodity of speaking in tongues.
As I studied the Holy Bible and learned of the whole affair, I came to know that there were many spiritual commodities available to the believers. These were called “Spiritual Gifts.”
So what is my point so far? My point is that Belief + An Open Mind = Invites Results. You don’t have to know what you are doing to receive the desired results, but it helps to have someone there who has walked the path before you.
In the coming months my whole world had changed. My perception of things had a new tint to it. No longer were rainy days dreary and cold, but instead, they were refreshing and cleansing. No longer were people annoyances and attackers. They were instead mixed souls exploring the earth, some determined some confused. I lived this way without trying. Meaning that I did not wake up each morning and determine that everything was going to go my way. I simply woke up with a happy disposition, as if I were walking on clouds.
I believe this was the result, again, of Belief with an open mind. I didn’t have the knowledge to force anything to change, I simply went about my days being happy. Why was I happy? I don’t know, to be honest. I can’t remember. I can assume that it was because I was “saved” – that something happened to me that day when I accepted Jesus into my heart and also spoke in tongues. There was a door that was opened to me and I walked through it to the other side.
So my perception of things changed. I had a happy disposition. Couple that with the belief that my sins were forgiven and that the Most Almighty being ever has accepted me into His kingdom, well, that would be enough for anybody to rejoice —— if they believed that death had been beaten. If they believed that eternity was to be spent in the presence of one so great. If they believed that Jesus sacrificed Himself, sacrificed His very life, for our sake, and if they believed that any of this was at all a possibility. If they believed all this, their life would be transformed and they too would be happy beyond understanding.
But, let’s take a look at the dark side. Let’s fast forward to another experience. A place where negativity was prevalent.
I went into a “haunted house”. I went into it on purpose. With determination. With an open mind, but with a foundation of belief that empowered me. What I was told is that the family who lived there previously, well, they had left in quite a hurry. So much so that they left the dishes on the table, the beds in the bedroom. They even left pictures on the nightstands. And they didn’t want to go back for any of the stuff.
I went with four other people. Three from the same family and one a friend of the family. I was the odd man out. I cannot speak for the others, but the intention was to go and learn something. To make contact with the spirit world. And we did. Sort of. What happened was that the lady and her son were attacked by a demon. My belief in Christ changed the course of our lives that night. I did not attempt to force anything to happen. I merely was there as an observer. But, I was forced into action when the lady screamed that the demon had strangled her by grabbing her necklace. Long story short I burst into action unwillingly. It was more like a reflex, I just burst onto the scene with the gift of speaking in tongues and it shooed the demon away.
What is significant about this whole thing is that fact that I no longer acted consciously, but instead, I acted on impulse. This was not a planned outcome. But what part did belief play in this? Belief was instrumental in that I had a foundation of belief in the spiritual world. I believed that we were entering into a house that was inhabited by “evil” spirits. I believed that we were safe. That we had nothing to fear because “Jesus was with me.” And I believed that Jesus was greater than the demon(s) we would encounter. BUT, I did not believe that I would be instrumental in eradicating this house of demons. I had no idea that things would turn out the way they did. Therefore, someone else was in charge of the whole shebang and that person was “on our side.”
For me to say that I would also have to believe that there is both “good” and “evil.” This in itself is a construct of western thought. Good and Evil permeates our society. In everything from politics to marketing, good and evil are key players in shaping out thought processes. In the movies there was always the “good guy” who wore white and a “bad guy” who wore black. Again, this shapes our perception of things. And so, going into that house I had pre-existing ideas about good and evil and those perceptions would further shape my thoughts as I went through the house looking at all of the “evidence” that presented itself.
Was I just being led around by my nose like a dog or did I actually have freedom of thought? I would have to say that I was being led by something. How else could I explain the sudden outburst of speaking in tongues and the subsequent departure of the demon? I didn’t — I couldn’t do this on my own, so I must have been led, controlled, by someone else. Which brings me to another facet of belief – involuntary actions.
Sphere of Influence – You can work in the sphere of influence for the common good without even trying to force the situation. Opportunity arises and if a foundation has been laid then the actions can be carried out to fruition without having the determination of mind to do it. Kinda like autopilot. You see, therefore you are. You spend your life within a certain framework and you go on to master certain skills and thought processes. When an opportunity arises you simply act on impulse and cause the ball to go in motion.
If you are on the “good” side, there are favorable results, based on our societal desire for “good” to win. But you can just as easily be on the “dark” side and have “favorable” results even though those results mean something bad is going to happen to someone. This is because both good and bad are legitimate poles on opposite ends of the same spectrum. We merely have attached the labels good and bad on them to differentiate them for our understanding. An “evil” person would find it enjoyable to see someone get hurt. While a “good” person would tend to the wounds. Both are legitimate perceptions and both carry with them “desired” results.
I only bring this up because I want to show that good and evil are human constructs to identify behavioral patterns. Both can be considered valid and both can be exercised in good faith for a desired outcome.
Let’s talk about “fear.” Fear changes behaviors and it changes a person’s belief strategy. Fear causes illogical perceptions and binds the powers of possibilities so that no progress can be made.
Belief shaped by fear is the beginning of damnation. Fear will cause you to believe lies. To expect the worst. It will damn you into submission and choke off the very life you have left to live.
Fear has been used by con-men and corporations for thousands of years. It is the most powerful device to steal someone’s freedom (and money.) Politicians use it. Parents use it. Even Preachers use it. It is the one constant in all of life. It moves us to fight or it bolts us to flight. Without it we are dead.
For any good to come of fear, we have to change our beliefs and we must lay a solid foundation in order to make fear our “friend.” The only way to lay a solid foundation is to first seek out a device that will give us the tools to build the favorable foundation and it has to be a device that gets good results, that is, the device must make fear be nothing more than a tool. Fear must be manhandled. It must be brought into submission. It must be powerless until we ask it to perform. Nothing has power until we act.
Belief and perception are the rulers of our life here on earth. We must take an active role in ensuring our beliefs serve us and do not hinder our progress. We can choose to belief anything – good or bad – and we will reap what we sow. If we choose “good” beliefs, we will sow blessings. If we choose “bad” beliefs we will cause damnations. We have the power. We have the ability. We have the right to be free from fear. We need only to decide, to choose our fate.