Note to Self: The church's role & Liberation
Updated: Jun 1, 2019
What is the purpose of a church? What roles do churches play in the life of believers?
I have learned a thing or two about how long - medium term inhibitions can restrict the mind of an animal. When I was growing up in Ibadan (Isebo area), someone got me a bird in a cage. At first I had it for a couple of weeks but for some reason I had to let it go, when I opened the cage the bird remained in for a while and when I finally kicked it out of the cage, it kept going back each night. The story illustrates how limitations can alter reality in an animal’s mind. Simply, the animal had come to recognize a cage as home and even when it was set free, the bird now believed a lie (that a cage was its home) when in fact an upgraded reality now existed.
A tale goes about a flea trainer who puts a couple of fleas in a jar, at first, the fleas jump straight out but when he places a lid over them, the fleas at first attempt to fly out but when they hit the limitation so many times, they give up and adopt the limits of their environment. When he took off the lid, the fleas still only flew beneath the level of the lid. Great story but not necessarily factual, what happens to fleas or flies when you put them in a restricted space is they come to a point of rest, most of them settle on the sides of the container and when the lid is lifted, you have to shake them off the container where they have come to rest.
Here’s another narration of the animal mind: If you take 20 sheep through a narrow path such that they have no alternate route, and place an obstacle (say a log of wood) in their path, the first few animals rightly jump over the obstacle, take away the log after 5 sheep have jumped and a truly curious thing happens, the rest of the sheep still jump at the point where the obstacle existed. A physical limitation has become a mental limitation and even when the physical obstacle was removed, the obstacle in the mind remained.
Many of our human minds still retain these animal-like inhibitions, where real physical or social inhibitions become mental inhibitions which are then retained even after the real inhibitions have disappeared. The disappearance of inhibitions is, of course, what happens when Christ comes into our lives.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord
Christ has set every born again child of God free but many Christians have retained those mental chains that held us bound before Christ intervened, like my caged bird, the church’s role is not just to deliver sermons on deliverance, but to be that push that a caged mind needs to be truly extra-ordinary.
Finally, here are 2 powerful habits that strengthens our mental muscles (there are of course many more habits that can be unearthed via the study of God’s word).
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he
As cliche as it may seem, thinking positively really does alter the human brain. A 2005 study (http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/amp/60/5/410/) by Seligman et al demonstrate how asking participants suffering psychological illnesses including depression to write down 3 things that went well each day as well as explaining those things. This exercise increased individual happiness and decreased depression.
Actually, I encourage readers of this blog to practice this too - write down 3 things you are grateful about each they and reflect on them. Be 100% positive every time, do not let negative results in the past discourage you from taking future challenges. The bible encourages us to stand up every time we fall. Know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Know that the earth is the Lord’s and its fullness. Know that because you have accepted the gift of Christ, you have been granted the power to become an heir - All that is God’s is yours.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again
Often when Luke 6:38 is quoted, it is linked to giving our money - Christ does not limit the application of this principle. Whatever, in life, we give, simply comes back to us and this is the principle of sowing and reaping. So if you want some happiness in your life, ask yourself: how many people have I made happy today? You want a job? then be a volunteer. Make it a habit to sow a seed of whatever tree you want. Give a part of you and make someone else grateful you exist. In living lives of kindness and giving ourselves to those in more need than we are, we become true representations of Christ. In whatever harvest you need, sow the corresponding seed.
I look forward to learning other habits that you know sets the mind free. Drop a comment below