Why doesn't Jesus 'stick' with some people?
Why also do some have a hard time breaking from their past? Why do some turn to Jesus without looking back, forsaking family and friends and lifestyle, but others live in a world of limbo wavering between their sinful past and Christian present? Why do some learn so fast, while others learn but nothing ever changes?
I offer 6 points about the enlightenment process for consideration:
1) When a person is born they are a Blank Page - they just have to be 'written on' - they will be filled with knowledge about themselves and the world around them by their parents and extended family. By God's design we are born unable to even talk, nor control bodily functions - we look, listen, and feel our world around us - as all these senses and understandings write on our Blank Page.
Everything is revelation and enlightenment. Everything is new and for the first time. Every idea, every thought, every way we view parents, siblings, friends, their surroundings - it is all for the very first time.
This enlightenment can come too from God, and many children, still in that age of innocence, report the gift called 'discerning of spirits' active in their lives. Children often report seeing angels, Jesus, and even being taken to heaven or experiencing wonderful spiritual knowledge - words of wisdom and knowledge - about things in the Lord mature beyond their years.
2) All these revelations produce a Multitude of Ideas from: Parents, siblings, grandparents/extended family, media, friends, school, church. The child receives information, instruction, and input, continually.
Parents have a responsibility to put these multitude of ideas in context for the child. Everything is enlightenment and revelation, and those first impressions are to them, truth. If mom or dad says they are a bad girl or boy - that is truth. If mom and/or dad say a TV show is not a good one, that is truth.
If parents say Jesus loves them - that is truth. If a father hits the child's mother - the child thinks that is truth- that's how men treat women and how love is expressed.
All these revelations bring multitudes and multitudes of ideas to a child - and they must be sorted - ideally with help from Godly parents and family, but ultimately by the child. Many children grow up in Christian homes, but never make their parent's faith their own - they've been preached to for years - but haven't formed their own ideas yet...They have to sort through the multitude of ideas about God, themselves, and life.
3) Fixed Ideas are the result of this sorting: From the multitude of ideas a child forms fixed ideas: Self image, their place in the family, their place in the neighborhood, God, school, church, society. This is where the faith of a parent becomes the faith of the child - or not. This is where a child starts becoming their own person.
Fixed ideas frame how a child through young adulthood thinks and feels about love, relationships, education, politics, God - everything!
Fixed ideas produce emotions and feelings - Security or fear, peace or unrest, confidence or uncertainty of self - and so much more. The parents are the main influencers of the Blank Page, the Multitude of Ideas and the forming of Fixed Ideas, and studies have shown a child's personality, self-image, and view of the world is largely formed by age 5 as a result.
These Multitude and Fixed Ideas cause feelings and emotions to flow - and as a child grows they learn (in most cases) to make those emotions submit to the fixed ideas they have about themselves and their world, rather than to let their emotions control them.
In times of stress Multitudes of Ideas flood the mind, but then a person learns to control the multitude to bring them into submission to the Fixed Ideas, and from there they gain control of their thoughts/emotions.
Some do not however, and they become emotionally unhealthy, and that means unhealthy in life. They have little ability to make wise decisions about friends, work, relationships. They try to form Fixed Ideas, but their foundation of their own Blank Page time and Multitude of Ideas time were so conflicted they could never form wise 'Fixed Ideas'...so they stumble through life making one poor choice after another - even after they come to the Lord.
4) From the Fixed Ideas and feelings come Repeated Ideas, or habits. A person looks for events and statements which reinforce their fixed ideas. They repeat this process until habits are formed.
This can range from how they arrange dirty dishes in a dishwasher, to how clean their room is, to going to church on Sunday, to how seeing how dad treats mom and other women, to how they spend their money, to who they hang out with.
5) By repeating these ideas over and over, people form Perspective on their world. A person begins seeking out people with a similar perspective, and avoiding people and situations that are outside of their norm.
Perspective becomes lifestyle. Their comfort zone is well established. Their thoughts automatically follow their perspective, and their perspective is truth to them. Thoughts contrary to their perspective are rejected.
I was counseling a couple in their 30's - the whole hour was filled with his insistence she fill the dishwasher HIS way - any other way was wrong. Way back when, his Blank Slate was taught you load a dishwasher a certain way. Over the years he watched how others did it in a Multitude of Ideas, sorting them to form his own Fixed Ideas about the subject, he Repeated (the) Ideas, and formed the Perspective that his way was THE way to load a dishwasher and any other way is wrong. See how it works?
A woman came to us and admitted she was trying to get her husband to slap her. Why? In her Blank Slate childhood, every man her mother was with slapped her around. From the Multitude of Ideas she formed the Fixed Idea that love was communicated by a man hitting a woman. She had seen it as a Repeated Idea, so formed a Perspective. Though now in Christ, she still had that old process at work in her and tried to provoke her husband to 'love' her as she had seen men 'love' her mother.
6) Results in Life is the end of these things. Perhaps that means fighting over the dishwasher or understanding love through a warped perspective. Maybe it means unable to hang onto a job, perhaps it means being at the same job 50 years. Maybe it means failed relationship after failed relationship, or maybe a single marriage lasting 60 years.
People want different results in life while thinking the same old thoughts that got them where they are today. It doesn't work that way.
You have to think new thoughts to get a new life. It starts with enlightenment; revelation from the Father as we become like a child and let Him write on our hearts like we are a Blank Page, which then challenges our Multitude of Ideas and Fixed Ideas, Repeated Ideas, and Perspective, with the goal of new Results in life.
The Bible is full of people who changed their lives, and how they did it teaches us how we can walk the Father to see similar transformations in our own lives - and that is next week!