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Hypnotised Last update: July 2013

O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ the Messiah was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? (Galatians 3:1, Amplified)

Hypnosis entails the intense focus of the mind(s) of an individual or group of people on a physical or imaginary object - a process accomplished through eliciting an effectual mental response to suggestion. In other words, by getting the patient to focus their attention on say an imaginary place of peace or rest and by supporting that focus with imaginations concerning that place of rest through verbally or visually expressed thoughts of comfort or relaxation or warmth, the patient may enter a form of focussed sleep where he/she (involuntarily) responds to further suggestion and where he/she may retain certain suggestions as overriding 'decisions' in terms of personal choice. In short, a hypnotised person may be programmed to quit smoking, which may be a 'decision' that is sustained throughout the course of their life.

It's a great thing when you get to stop smoking, I suppose. But, considering that a person's will is effectively altered by another it is a practice fraught with danger. Most of us will not volunteer for it. Or will we? It may be argued that we volunteer for altered decision-making every single day of our lives by lending out our ears to politicians, news room producers, external advisors, authors, philosophers and, frankly, preachers who preach not the Word of God but their own version of wholesome spiritual food instead. We do this because we have become accustomed to the idea that there are experts for everything, and we are not to be counted among them. Though we have entered the age of information where all we need is but a click away we need pundits to dissect and discern on our behalf what is wholesome and what is not. Gone are the days of common sense. Life coaches, Personal trainers, Yoga instructors, Financial advisors, Dieticians, Diary organisers, ... you name it, we have an expert for everything. It reminds somewhat of that likeable Outback movie character, Mick Dundee, to whom it was once explained that a psychologist or "Therapist" was there to cater for one's needs to express personal frustrations, to talk over problems and help make sense of it all. His reply? 'Isn't that what mates are for?' (my version) Exactly! That is what mates should be doing.

Instead we have outsourced our thinking to a growing mass of prophets who themselves are the product of some other expert's thinking. It reminds of a conversation I once had with a lecturer during undergraduate studies: though she agreed with me that the answer that I had provided in the test was in fact correct, she had marked it incorrect on the basis that it was not according to the text book. My feelings about it? "So what?" It turns out that the lecturer - obviously an intelligent woman - had been convinced of the idea that the text book is the ultimate authority because experts simply know better.

Another example, perhaps: Early on during my school career it was evident that I had some ability in shot put - a track & field (athletics) event. My dad served as my coach and I made it to state level. That was until a high school teacher intervened on the basis that he was a trained physical education teacher and had studied shot put at university. From his physical appearance it was evident that he would have had a better feel for track events than field events. That did not detract him, of course, since he had 'taken the course' and thought it prudent to change my technique. The result? Disaster, bringing me to a decision to pursue other events instead. I never fully recovered from that man's expert advice. But, he did teach me something, at least: learn to discern. That is, learn to discern true expert from wannabe expert, positive criticism from negative criticism, ... in short, learn who to listen to. And, when unsure, find out what you need to know for yourself.

This was the problem the Galatian church had, seemingly. They had been bewitched at worst or hoodwinked (tricked) at best in believing stuff they ought not to have believed. We know the enemy will deplay strategies such as these. These men and women - sincere as they may have been - believed stuff that, in effect, had a bearing on their salvation. That is, they believed grave error in any man's books and we can learn much from it. Having been made free from the Law of Moses, they lent out their ears to the wrong experts only to find themselves judged by that same Law - a judgement that is impossible to survive.

Today, though in some cases well intended, mass media through 'Christian' television, 'Christian' music, 'Christian' radio talk shows, popular 'Christian' books, inspirational 'Christian' conferences and charismatic preachers from every 'Christian' tradition, shape our thinking. And, they shape our actions. In short, they program us for outcomes - good or bad. Some even program us to have no actions at all. Speak about being hypnotised.

When last have you done an audit of who has charge over your thoughts? Who speaks what 'truth' to your ears? When last have you said, Enough! I will hear what the Holy Spirit says to me and that is it!

Are teachers wrong? Of course not. They are God-sent to equip the saints. But that is not the question. The question is not who calls himself (or herself) a Bible teacher, but who the Spirit of God calls a Bible teacher instead. Time we stop making assumptions, like the Galatians, and hear Him on this question!

Therefore:

No disrespect to some as this may be true for others: if you cannot hear the Holy Spirit guide you as Jesus promised He would, ask God with sincerity of heart if indeed you have been born again. If the answer you get is not satisfactory - or if you get no answer at all - consider this:

- repent (make a conscious, heartfelt decision) to ask God's forgiveness for wanting to be 'the driver of the bus you are on' (for wanting to follow your own will all your life),
- ask His forgiveness for living a life contrary to His will - He will forgive you,
- in sincere dependence and trust in the fact that He was raised from the dead in goodness, ask Him to forever be 'the driver of your bus' (commit to follow His will in faith),
- confess your faith openly.

Then, ask Him to open His Word to you personally and increasingly.

Amen. May that be the case for every person who is not yet born of the Spirit of God through His abundant grace.

Extra:

I thought we could all do with a dose of 'personally caring for your neighbour' - Crocodile Dundee II - Mick the psychiatrist

 

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Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptual. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.

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