THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
We begin our discussion of the renewal process by looking at work of the Holy Spirit in the subconscious mind, that part of the mind which is below the level of consciousness. We can do very little about the unconscious part of our minds, the subconscious. If we commit a sin and are conscious of it, we can ask God to forgive us; but for that which occurs below the level of consciousness, for all those sins that have been committed against us that we are not conscious of, only the Spirit of God can deal with them. Also, for those hurts that we have within our being that we are not conscious of, even though the effects of them may affect our emotional well-being, there is not much we can do about them. But God is faithful; God has given us a complete perfect salvation that takes care of every part of our total being.
CHRIST IN YOU
In the new birth, as we repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, Christ is formed in us. The Holy Spirit imparts the life of Christ to us. So the first thing that happens in our Christian experience is that Christ is formed in us. Jesus Christ becomes incarnate within us. The Holy Spirit superimposes the nature of Jesus Christ, the divine nature, upon our nature, the human nature, and now our desires, our wishes, our instincts begin to be "Christ-ianized," because they are no longer only the expression of the nature of man, but they are permeated by the nature of God and begin to find expression through the personality, the person, of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why we sometimes see cataclysmic conversions. Sinners living completely apart from God receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and their lives are completely transformed. They may have been alcoholics or drug addicts. They may have been bound by all manner of sin; however, when they receive the Lord Jesus Christ, when Christ comes in, every desire, every impulse seemingly is sanctified and their lives are completely transformed. The desires that previously dominated their lives no longer have influence or control over them. On the other hand, there are those who are converted but seem to have more of a struggle to overcome certain desires or certain temptations. However, the important thing is that Jesus Christ is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. This is the mystery of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul said that this mystery was hidden from the foundation of the world until God revealed it unto him:
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in You, the hope of glory (Col. 1:26-27).
The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in you, the hope of glory. This was the mystery. This was the revelation that God gave to the Apostle: the transforming power of Christian experience is derived from the impartation of Jesus Christ to the believer. The nature of Jesus Christ, even Christ Himself, is in us.
Jesus prayed to the Father for Him to effect this experience:
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: ...that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one (John 17:21-23).
And again, Jesus promised that when He sent them another comforter, they would know that He was abiding in them:
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you (John 14:20).
Probably the most powerful statement in the scriptures concerning this impartation of Christ is that of Paul himself, when he relates his experience in Christ to the Galatians:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
THE GALATIAN EXPERIENCE
It was to these same Galatians that Paul presented the dilemma of so many Christians' experience:
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you (Gal. 4:19).
Why was Paul suffering the travail of birth again for these Galatian Christians? What had happened to them? After they were converted and received the Lord Jesus Christ, certain Judaizing teachers visited the church and preached to them that unless they were circumcised and kept the law of Moses, they could not be saved. Therefore, Paul exhorts them:
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth...having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
....Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal. 3:1-3,5:1).
This is one of the most graphic illustrations of the need for the renewing of the mind. These Galatians had received Christ and had been set free by the Spirit of God; however, the false teachers had taught them that they must be circumcised and keep the law. As a result of their believing these teachers, they had lost the joy and freedom that they had received in Christ. Therefore, Paul was agonizing in prayer that Christ would be formed in them again.
The experience of the Galatians emphasizes the need to bring our minds into harmony with the Word of God. Many Christians receive Christ--His joy, His peace, His love--in their hearts, and then certain teachers begin to change their ego ideal (their concept of what a Christian is) by giving them a false impression of Christ. The Galatians had received a Christ of love, joy, and peace, and then, the false teachers said that was not the real Christ; the real Jesus is a circumcised, law-keeping Christ. The Galatians started conforming their lives to a "law-keeping Christ," and the Christ of love and joy died in their hearts. They were thrown into mental conflict. This illustrates one of the basic problems in Christian living: the Christ of the Christians' experience is not in harmony with the Christ preached by their church; therefore, they are thrown into mental conflict--confused, guilty, and condemned.
God said that He would make a new covenant with His children:
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people (Heb. 8:10).
The Ten Commandments were written on tables of stone; but the new commandment of love, given to the Christian, is written in the mind and on the tables of the heart. This new commandment is imprinted upon our minds and engraved upon our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit as He imparts the life of Christ to us.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Not only is Jesus Christ now in us, but we begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit as a result of His presence. This fruit is the nature or character of Jesus Christ reproduced in us, and love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, faith--the character traits of Christ--begin to find expression through our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of the new birth. The fruit of the Spirit arise from the ID, the unconscious part of us. We do not put them on. They are produced by the Spirit. They rise up from within, seeking expression through us to the world. Joy bubbles up. Love is shed abroad in our hearts. Peace flows like a river. These are the fruit of the Spirit, expressions of the personality or the character of the Lord Jesus Christ; and, I believe that the fruit of the Spirit will find expression through us to the world unless somebody has messed with our minds. Just as the false teachers messed with the minds of the Galatians, people may give us wrong instruction concerning the expression of Christ through our lives. We will express the love of God and other fruit of the Spirit unless somebody has messed with our thinking.
When I received the Lord Jesus Christ, I loved everybody. People that I had thought were homely, were beautiful. People that I had not particularly liked, I loved. I hugged everybody in the church. It was a great night. Then the people of the church started telling me that I could not love everybody. They told me that there were certain Christians I could not love because of their life-styles or their doctrinal teachings. I found that I was not allowed to love anybody except those who attended our church and believed our doctrine. Soon, I could barely tolerate some of them.
The new Christian overflows with the fruit of the Spirit; then, the church starts informing him that he cannot love everyone, he cannot have joy, he cannot have peace. He cannot express the wonders of the Lord except in a certain way. That is what happened to me, and, ever since my conversion, I have been trying to "get my head on straight" so I could love all of God's children. I still struggle to get my thoughts straight, allowing the love of God to flow through my life. Thus, the fruit of the Spirit will be expressed to the world through us unless somebody has given us wrong teaching.
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
Not only does the Spirit produce His fruit in our innermost beings, but He also manifests His gifts in our spirits. The gifts are resident in the subconscious. The gifts come up from within. Therefore, the gifts of the Spirit will manifest themselves through us, if we yield ourselves to Him. In other words, if you become ill, the Spirit may give me a gift of healing for you, if I will allow Him the freedom. But if I believe that the day of miracles is over and God does not heal, or if I am afraid, or if I do not feel I should pray for the sick--then there is little that the Spirit of God can do about manifesting His gift of healing through me.
How many times do we feel that we should pray for someone, but a doubt or a fear comes in, and we refuse to do it? How many times do we feel we should witness to an individual, but a doubt or a fear arises, and we refuse to do it? The Spirit of God desires to manifest the gifts of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, the life of Jesus Christ to the world. Therefore, our responsibility is to allow the Spirit of God to renew our minds so that He may have freedom of expression. Jesus said,
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [innermost being] shall flow rivers of living water. But thus spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive (John 7:38-39).
If the rivers (fruit and gifts) are not flowing (finding a free expression), there is a dam (a mental block) somewhere. A doubt, a fear, a tradition, a teaching, a doctrine--something is stopping the flow. We need to understand what is stopping the flow of the living waters through us, so the fruit and gifts can find expression and bring blessing to people. Everyone of us has a tremendous potential to bless individuals if we can allow the Spirit free expression through our lives. God has given us the fruit of the Spirit to renew our personalities with the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He has provided the gifts of the Spirit to enable us to do the works that Jesus did and the greater works as He promised.
I WILL PRAY WITH THE SPIRIT
One of the most important works of the Spirit in the subconscious mind is how He ministers to us concerning those things that we are not conscious of--all of the sins that have been committed against us, all of the things that have happened to us since birth which are affecting our lives today. We do not know exactly what is going on in our innermost beings. One of the values of praying in the Spirit is to help us in dealing with these subconscious conflicts.
As Paul said,
We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself make intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26).
I do not know what to pray for, and even when I know what to pray for, I do not know how to pray for it. I may feel that there is something inside of me that is bothering me, but I do not know what it is. I do not know how to pray about it, so what am I going to do? Is God going to leave me with my fears, with my doubts, with my conflicts, with my anxieties? No, God has provided a way of helping me. For even though I do not know how to pray as I ought, the Spirit of God helps my weaknesses and makes intercession for me with groanings which cannot be uttered. God, who knows what is the mind of the Spirit, answers the prayer of the Spirit, because the Spirit always makes intercession according to the will of God. Whenever I have had fears and doubts, I have prayed them through in the Spirit to God, and I have found a release in prayer. By faith, I have claimed the promise that God has taken care of the situation.
Most of us have been hurt. Most of us have been sinned against, resulting in our having anger, fear, resentment, hostility, or doubt bottled up inside of us. The Holy Spirit wants to cleanse us from these feelings. In fact, a special ministry of healing has come into existence in the last few years that addresses inner healing, or healing of the memories. This healing of the memories is one of the ways the Spirit of God edifies us when we pray in the Spirit. When we have doubts or fears or we have problems that we do not fully understand, the Holy Spirit is able to take those to God in prayer, and the God Who knows all things is able to cleanse us, deliver us, and transform our lives. We do not have to have scars. We do not have to bear the hurts. We do not have to suffer the anxieties. We do not have to be tormented by the fears. We do not have to have feelings of guilt grinding us down. We can find a joy and a peace and a freedom and a victory in the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Christian psychiatrist, a Christian counselor, or a good Christian friend can help us to verbalize those things in the Spirit and enable us to receive forgiveness and healing--not for things that we have done, but for the things that others have done to us. We will be able to forgive them and find a cleansing and a healing. This is part of what we mean when we talk about the Holy Spirit edifying the believer when he prays with the Spirit and prays with the understanding, or when he psalms with the Spirit and psalms with the understanding.
I WILL SING WITH THE SPIRIT
In times of stress and conflict, many of us find great comfort and consolation in reading the psalms of David and of others. As I discussed earlier in the section concerning singing in the Spirit, I believe the Spirit gives us a new psalm of praise when we sing in the Spirit. He also may give us hymns or spiritual songs so that we may express our praise to Him. There is comfort and edification in singing as the Spirit gives the words, or the words and melody, of a song as the joy of the Lord bubbles up within our beings. This helps us to understand more fully the meaning of "he that speaks (prays or sings) in tongues edifies himself"
(I Cor. 14:4).
THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN THE CONSCIOUS MIND
For the areas of the mind that are below the level of consciousness, God must take the initiative and cleanse and heal us by His Holy Spirit. God must deliver us. God must heal the hurts, and God must help us to extend forgiveness to those who have sinned against us or abused us. The Spirit of God must express the nature of Christ and manifest the gifts and enablings of Christ through us.
However, for those areas of the mind that are above the level of consciousness, we must assume more responsibility by taking the initiative and actively cooperating with the Spirit to effect the renewal process. The renewal of that part of my mind which is above the level of consciousness--the SUPEREGO--is my responsibility, and how I relate to the world through the EGO is a result of my decisions.
In discussing the work of the Holy Spirit in the renewing of the Superego, we must analyze two vital areas of our personalities, the Conscience and the Ego ideal. We have acquired our concepts of right and wrong and our moral values from parents, teachers, peers, or other significant persons in our lives. We have probably never taken the time to formulate a precise, logical, definitive value system of our own. Rather, our values are a hodge-podge of concepts pieced together. Many times we accept as true what society has legislated as being true without questioning the validity of the supposition. However, as Christians, we must bring this patch-work of ideas into harmony with the truth as it is revealed in Christ Jesus.
For many of us, our self-concept, our self-image, has been defined for us by our parents, who handed us a script which we are expected to act out on the stage of the world. We are not sure who we are. We feel as though we are chameleon-like individuals trying to adapt to whatever social situations we find ourselves in. We do not know who we are or who we want to be. Even the churches hold forth so many pictures of Christ that we find it difficult to know who the "Christ of the New Testament" is so we may follow Him.
Sometimes I wonder where all of my ideas about God came from. I have had to change my mind many times as the Spirit would reveal Jesus in a new glory (II Cor. 3:18). Often, I have made the statement that probably no two churches preach the same Jesus. Each church seems to see Him differently, and each stresses a different aspect of His person and work. I am not saying this is bad, but I believe this is why it is so important for us to allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and bring about a transformation of our lives in harmony with the Word of God. Each of us, as a child of God, should desire to serve the Father "In Spirit and In Truth."
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