with Jeremy Westcott –
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor 4:3-4).
…for their minds have been blinded by the god of this age, leaving them in unbelief. Their blindness keeps them from seeing the dayspring light of the wonderful news of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the divine image of God (2 Cor 4:4 TPT).
The ‘god of this age’ refers to the religious systems, governing structures and self-help solutions of this world. A religious veil has blinded many to God who is love, light, spirit and fire. The true image of God has been veiled, with the result that some people, perhaps ourselves included, have not been able to see the reality of who He truly is. Does our ‘God’ look exactly like Jesus? Does our ‘God’ look exactly like love?
The DIY tree path
This veil began to be drawn over the truth when Adam and Eve chose to follow the wrong path, the path of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, what I have called the DIY tree path. In losing sight of God they also lost sight of themselves and the true image of their sonship. They became slaves to their own do-it-yourself efforts to restore what they already had: love, acceptance, approval, affirmation, significance and purpose in relationship.
Mankind has been doing the same ever since.
We have tried many solutions, including power, position, money, materialism, religion and other relationships. All that DIY has done is cause us more pain, leading to more unsuccessful self-medication. All our religious systems are DIY attempts to please or appease God, hoping to get back what was lost. Sadly, if we do not know the relational truth about God and ourselves, we are actually helping to keep the veils in place:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt 5:14).
We are supposed to be the light that enables people to see God but that light will be dimmed or distorted if we are hidden behind a mask or a veil of religious deception ourselves.
Our own minds are inevitably veiled by the things we already believe. Our mindsets, world-views and strongholds can all be veils or filters over our minds that obstruct and filter how we process reality. These constructs within our minds and consciousness frame our world, what we believe and how we interact. We see the world – and God – through the lens of our own understanding. It is a distorted view, a false reality, but while it persists it is real to us.
To make matters worse, we often have confirmation bias operating. Defined as ‘the tendency to interpret new evidence as a confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories’, confirmation bias is particularly prevalent in the area of religious beliefs. Our theology and doctrines tend to cause us to interpret everything through their filters. It takes a significant experience, often almost a trauma, to shake us loose from the limitations of what we already believe.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding (Prov 3:5).
God is wooing us into a deeper level of intimacy with Him in relationship. When we encounter God we want to make sure that we are not relying on our existing understanding but only on continual living relationship (so we must beware of replacing our existing understanding with a new, equally flawed one). There is a new level of experiential relationship with God (Father, Son and Spirit) that is being unveiled to us, a new level of communication with God (the ability to hear and see what God is revealing); a new mind, the mind of Christ, continually flowing from our relationship with Him rather than just new theology or doctrines (a new DIY construct).
When we are able to behold God (Father, Son and Spirit) as He really is, then we can become conformed to the image of sonship that we see within Him.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2).
In the past, I believed I could renew my mind by memorising Bible verses and confessing them trying to believe them. I have come to understand that we are renewed from within, not from the outside, as we relate to God who is Father, Son and Spirit in us (and we are in Him).
Beyond all expectations
This is my testimony of how this came about for me. Early in 2016 I heard God say:
The mists around the closed and clouded minds must be dissipated. The hindrances and entanglements must be removed so that the limitations of minds that are stuck in what has been can become free to embrace what can be so that it can become what will be. The veils must be removed and restrictions lifted to embrace the limitless potential of My reality. The Way, Truth and Life are to be experienced not conceptualised and contained.
The limits of what is possible must be removed for My purpose to be achieved. You must begin to entertain limitless grace and mercy to be able to grasp what is true reality, beyond all expectations. New dimensions of everything can be yours if you are willing to let go of the old and embrace the challenge of the new.
A radical shift
In order to know God who is Father, Son and Spirit, and to know our identity in sonship in Him, we need our minds deconstructed from the wrong frameworks, from all our limited, restricting belief systems.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to metanoia? (Rom 2:4).
We need a metanoia, a radical shift of thinking, to enable a relationship with the Truth to reveal true reality. Most Bible versions translate the word as ‘repentance’, but metanoia has nothing to do with saying sorry or doing penance for our past: Jesus dealt with that on the cross and made us righteous once and for all.
Conversations with God
He called me to make some laws and legislative decrees on the basis of what He had told me. As I did, I expected Him to use them to free others from their worldly and religious mindsets. I had no idea that He was instead going to use my own words to iconoclastically deconstruct my conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind!
It began with Brexit, the vote about whether the UK should remain within the European Union or leave it. I was pondering how to vote when He asked me “Why do you normally vote the way you do?”
In the conversation that followed, I realised that I had made huge assumptions about which party He would want me to support, not only over this issue but more generally. I had always voted on principle, but God showed me that the principles I was voting on were my own, not His.
So I asked Him which way the Brexit vote would go. He told me, and asked me which way I was going to vote. “Leave,” I replied, “because You have told me that is the way the vote is going to go.” Another assumption! It turned out that God wanted me to vote the opposite way so that He could teach me how to respond when my choice was defeated.
This series of conversations with God (and I will write about them in more detail elsewhere) opened the door to the possibility that I had many more assumptions and presumptions about God, the Bible, theology and doctrine than I thought, and they were acting as veils and filters in my mind.
So the process of my deconstruction and renewal began in earnest.
It is impossible to see Him as He is when our minds are confused with our own distorted ideas about Him. Every time a stronghold in the mind is broken down, it makes way for a resurrection of fresh revelation. This is not an easy process; there is a lot of eating humble pie to do. And some of those strongholds are beliefs deeply cherished by ourselves and by others; one reason I initially held back was that I knew this was going to cause trouble.
Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort we experience when we realise that we hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values simultaneously. This often happens when new information manages to get through the filter of confirmation bias and threatens to disrupt the balancing act in our minds.
The encounters I had with God challenged what I believed about Him. This put a stress on my brain that felt like a restrictive band around my head. The pressure was only released when I gave in and stopped trying to hold on to my old way of thinking.
‘The Great Iconoclast’
Andre Rabe writes, “Jesus comes to make you an atheist to the god of your own making. He comes to bring an end to your way of subjecting God to your own understanding”. John Crowder says, “It is only at this place where our ideas and our faith are completely devastated that we have an opportunity to meet the God who transcends all our ideas about God.”
Jesus Himself constantly challenged the accepted thinking of His day: “You have heard it said (rabbinical tradition) but I say to you…” He turned their religion on its head; love replaced religious duty and obligation.
C.S. Lewis called God ‘the Great Iconoclast’ and wrote, “There are three images in my mind which I must continually forsake and replace by better ones: the false image of God, the false image of my neighbours, and the false image of myself.” (The Great Divorce).
Are we ready to let God renew and transform our thinking? He will not be confined to our limited, static perceptions of Him. We cannot keep an infinite God in a box made by the finite capacities of our understanding. God does not dwell in manmade temples, theological constructs or ideologies. God dwells in our spirits and in our hearts.
We need a transformation, a revolutionary change of mind. We need the veils of our understanding exploded and stripped away. We have a relationship with the Living Word, the ultimate source of revelation who searches the deep things of God and makes them known to us. We must not let our current understanding keep us in bondage to the limitations of our past experience.
Everything we receive must come through personal encounters with God. Our encounters will never contradict scripture but may not be directly found in it. They will definitely challenge the religious belief systems which reduce everything to a set of rules or doctrines.
Our old mindsets, thinking patterns and religious world views will keep us in old trusted ways of behaviour and will limit our abilities to engage in the heavenly spiritual realities that are being unveiled in our day. Are we prepared to embrace and spread the revolution? Some of the doctrines and beliefs we once deemed foundational may turn out to be just the skewed projections of our own fearful, fallen assumptions about God. He is about to explode the DIY myths we have invented; myths which actually obscure who He really is from our view.
I saw angels with light wands marking us out, and others, for laser-guided love bombs. God wants to explode those love bombs over you, penetrating your mind, your heart, your whole being with His love for you, revealing your true identity as a beloved son.
Live loved, love living and live loving.
Invite Him to release those love bombs over you. Let your heart and mind be cocooned in love. Let Jesus reveal His love for you. Let the Father reveal His love for you. Let the Spirit explode His love in you. Let the love of God touch your mind. Let Him encounter you with love that will explode and destroy any wrong image of Him. Let Him remove the veils that obscure and distort Him.
Let Him explode your limited reality.
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Image: Thank you to Johannes Plenio for the fabulous nature image used as a background for our header. Find more images from jplenio on Pixabay.