Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mind-Spirit Connection

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 8 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture in the comment section following the post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle.)

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. -Ephesians 1: 17-19

What is normal? I now think of the expression that "Normal is just a setting on a washing machine." Most of the time I feel like my life is anything but normal because of the ways autism has changed it. Although I treasure my son and praise God for the good He brings out of this alternate situation, I do relish any experience we get to have as a family that resembles what is considered "normal". As we grow and heal, we learn to live in a "new normal" (which is often subject to change), pressing on towards what God has in store for us as mothers and our children with autism.

In this chapter, Joyce emphasizes that as believers, our mind and our spirit are to work together. This allows us to hear from God, be convicted in certain areas of our life that need changing, have His divine guidance and share God's message while we help build faith in others. In order for this to happen, we have to have a normal mind. If our mind is too busy, negative, worried, distracted or overwhelmed, the Holy Spirit can't get through to give us the revelation that we need from God. She describes a normal mind as one that is serene and calm, yet alert and focused.

We keep our mind in its best normal condition by renewing it in the presence of God, and by studying His word. The next step is to speak it out loud and meditate in our thoughts what the word of God says we should be thinking on, as Nicole pointed out from Chapter 7. We can then take this a step further in our prayer life. This is a very concrete and visible way that we can see the mind and spirit at work together.

What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. -1 Corinthians 14:15

Joyce shares about how this works in her own prayer life. By praying in the spirit, or praying in an unknown tongue, we are able to pray from our spirit directly to the Holy Spirit. She will often begin her prayer time by praying in the spirit, and then something will come to mind in her own tongue (English). If she doesn't feel the stirring of the spirit within her, she will begin by praying about what is in her mind, and continue until the Holy Spirit draws her attention to a specific area. It is important to have both the mind and spirit involved for balance. We know that we are praying as God wants us to in the spirit, but lack understanding of what God wants us to know if the spirit can't enlighten our mind.

I would like to share a portion of my own testimony in this area. In the early days of autism, as I was first dealing with a diagnosis, I leaned on my own understanding. I frantically researched and sought out intervention after intervention, thinking that the more I tried in the shortest time, the better my son's outcome would be. In addition to the pain of the loss, I was overwhelmed and frantic to find the answers that would recover my son. Reflecting this on what Joyce teaches us in this chapter, this was not a normal mind that could easily hear from God. However, in my great pain I reached out to God and He heard me. He graciously blessed me and gave me opportunities that I couldn't have gotten on my own. He set me on a path to help my son, heal my heart and help others, even when I didn't always have the right kind of peace in my mind.

I believe that Spectrum Spirit is not only to help other mothers but is a special gift of God to me personally, to help me grow in Him, love and serve Him better. Another important turning point was two years ago, when I brought my son to a spirit-filled prayer meeting to receive prayer. As I continued to attend this prayer group, I received my own experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. I definitely relate to the way that Joyce explains this part of her prayer life. I am still young in this area and growing, but do feel as though I can talk to and hear from God with more certainty. This helps me to be more at peace and better allow God to lead me. After the spirit of God comes into you after becoming a believer, we can experience a release of the gifts and become full of the Holy Spirit. This can happen through personal prayer/meditation and also through the laying on of hands. The important thing is to have the Holy Spirit, in whatever way God wishes to give, and a peaceful, normal mind so that we can "open the eyes of our heart" and hear God's voice.

Dear Lord, Thank you for hearing us when we pray to you. Help us with your grace to trust in you fully, and set our minds at ease. Lift the burdens and cares of our daily responsibilities and free us from all worry about the future. Renew our minds and let our focus be on you. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and healing love. Open the eyes of our heart and lead us to true understanding, which can only be found in you. Show us the way in which to go and give us your joy to be our strength. We give you all glory, honor and praise for what you are doing in our lives and ask all of this in Jesus' most precious and holy name. Amen.

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