Changing a Bad Self Image
Without the benefit of memory, we would be totally lost. Our memory is depended upon to operate automatically at all times. We store data into our memory bank continuously and use this information as it is needed. Though we have been given the ability to learn many things quickly, it is through repeated actions that our memory enables us to become skilled at our endeavors. After we have mastered a skill by repeated actions, such as typing or playing a musical instrument, our stored information performs for us again and again without fail. Our memory works automatically, guiding our hands to operate our machine effectively.
Memory is one of mankind’s most valuable possessions, but in the spirit realm memory can also become the instrument that deprives us of our coveted inheritance. Another hindrance we must combat in our spiritual journey, is the conscious mind’s inability to accept new data until there is material evidence of its reality. In the higher (spiritual) realm we do not always have material evidence of the information we receive, but we must function as if we do. This process would be much less difficult if we did not have to continuously delete much of our past information.
The connections we make with our past experiences and our attitude toward them creates our self-image, because this is the data by which we form the first impressions of ourselves. This data can be or may not be factual, but whether it is fact or fantasy, if it has been accepted as reality and stored into our memory bank, it creates the impressions in our minds that govern our self-esteem.
The beginning of our awakening to self-hood, when we were collecting much of our vital data, was in our very early childhood while we were too immature to judge actions and reactions. This is why we cannot always believe what people say about their childhood incidents. Their memories of those years sometimes created negative elements, because not all information was available. Therefore, the negative self-image that was created in childhood programmed them to failure.
Sometimes ones’ self-image is the product of unfounded criticism or undeserved praise. It can just as easily be the work of an over-active or immature imagination. But for the majority of us, our self-images were formed by the impressions we received of ourselves from human interactions before we were capable of perceiving things clearly and in their true perspective.
Reprogramming and changing the original impressions of oneself is so difficult that very few people have the patience to carry it through. Reprogramming and changing the original impression of ourselves and recreating a new thought pattern are situations where self has the difficult task of judging and correcting self. Sometimes an indifferent attitude develops to hinder, because the need for an individual’s change is not as apparent to the confused person as it is to those who have the task of coping with him or her.
It is a fact that we are given the responsibility and the preeminence of programming our own individual intellect. No one else can do it for us. The good news is we do not have to be victims of our past memories; we can back up and reprogram.
To some degree, we partially reprogram as we progress through childhood into adolescence and on into adulthood. But, even in adulthood, the mind can be in such a confused state that it is not capable of transmitting a correct image and the personality begins to deteriorate.
Many people feel a need for development, but the sad news is the childhood self-image seldom undergoes a drastic change. The criticized child usually becomes the confused adult that is incapable of changing a negative self-image. The positive data that is given to correct the false image falls on deaf ears— it seems to never penetrate the memory bank. The process of change is difficult at its best, but for all who hold an inflated or negative self-image, there is hope.
Our Lord’s predominate message is dealing with mind change and offers us a solution. A correct self-image reflects our concept of Yahweh. For this reason, if for no other, we should become acquainted with our mind and how it functions, and then strive for character improvement in every avenue possible. We should take advantage of the regeneration process that is available to us by the unmerited favor of Yahweh. It takes a mind change to receive the born from above experience, because our spirit must accept data that the natural mind cannot understand nor accept. This operation is a free work of grace and is accomplished by the Holy Spirit so we can become recipients upon request.
If we do not become acquainted with our mind and how it operates, we cannot take full advantage of our God-given power to accumulate correct data. Correct information is needed to force a change when we hold a distorted self-image. If we do not change, we allow our natural mind to become our satan (adversary). It is this enemy that robs us of our inheritance.
Reprogramming is never easy, but it is possible if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth of our purpose for being. Strange as it seems, there are people that have believed on and accepted the sacrifice of Christ without accepting their status of being a new creation in Christ. They do not believe the old man passed away or that they have entered into a new relationship with the Father and the world around them.
One cannot progress into maturity until they accept their new birth identity by faith. We cannot have a new birth without becoming a member of the new creation. In Christ, we became dead to the flesh nature. In our new birth experience, we have received a new nature; therefore, we should not hold on to the image of our old nature. That nature has been crucified in Yasha, but we must destroy the old man’s image in our mind.
Remember, Paul said that we are to reckon ourselves dead to our depraved image of Adam, and put on (believe ourselves into) the new nature of Christ (Rom. 6:11).
The Bible contains a new covenant that was written to instruct the covenant people, that is, the born from above heirs of Yahweh. The born from above children are the true sons.
Christians often see themselves as new creatures in Christ as far as a mystical spirit experience is concerned, but in the so-called soulish realm, they see themselves as the identical losers they were before they had their spiritual experience. In reality, what happens is they are unable to believe they are new creatures in Christ so they gave up on the whole task of the new man. They settled for the salvation of a fantasized mystical creature by the acceptance of a fantasized mystical god, while they struggle with a real live self, which has not benefited from their spiritual experience. Yet they will loudly proclaim the conversion of their fantasized inner person to be witnessed sometimes in a far away by and by. If no change is apparent in the outward reflection, we are being deceived about our spiritual conversion on the inner man.
Be aware of ministers that condone spirit duality. They compromise and disannul the promises of Yahweh and the benefits of the new birth by their scapegoat theory saying that the soulish man remains sinful while the spirit-man thrives in righteousness.
Our Savior said, “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” which means, the condition of the spiritual man is reflected in the outward man’s attitude. And again he says, “If the eye be single the whole body is full of light.”
If our old self was truly crucified in Yasha, why are we defending him as if he has the throne-rights? Surely we should not be bound to a dead man’s traits. He has no more power over us. Neither Yasha nor his followers upheld this duality of character.
Paul said, “A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways,” James 1:8.
After our spiritual experience, we must exert a constant effort to reject bad information and force the negative data from the memory until the converting process is completed. I have met many confessed Christians that have never been converted. Though our spiritual experience endues us with power, we must exert an effort to tap into our power source and resist the enemy.
If we spend all our time hashing over bad memories, we will be unable to experience pleasurable ones to replace them. The old nature stands prepared to deny and disannul any positive vibrations, especially those that are to be accredited to the new man of the Spirit realm. The new man receives his substance from the faith realm through the River of Life, or the inspired Word flowing out of our innermost beings (John 7:38). This spiritual flow creates and strengthens the new creature until he bears the image of the Seed from which he was begotten, even the Seed of righteousness, peace, and love.
At the birthing of the new creation, the image will be that which comes from accepting the written Word of Yahweh as reality. Further development depends on our willingness to seek, knock, and react in obedience to what we are shown. But we can still be hindered by a wrong theory of Yahweh’s attributes. The mold for our new man is formed by the image we hold of our Creator. We formulate an image of completeness, or a character goal, as we receive into our intellect information of the attributes of our God. This data forms our concept of him and reveals our relationship to him and his creation.
Past experiences and our newfound spiritual connection is not the only data our intellect uses—it can, and often does, use visualization, imagination, and faith. False data can be accepted and stored as easily as truth. It can have the same effect on the mind as factual information and produce results, but it cannot produce spiritual strength to the new man. Sooner or later it will produce a virus that will prove to be detrimental to further spiritual growth.
Productive information in any form, whether by visualization or otherwise, is essential to our ability to create or bring things into existence the substance that will sustain the basic needs of the new man. This faith- realm becomes our kingdom—here we use our faith and power to exercise our dominion. As we create through the Word, we must always strive to deal in the realm of truth. The conscious part of our mind is more easily deceived than the subconscious. We can consciously believe a lie and at the same time be subconsciously aware of the fallacy.
The written promises of Christ give us as much Word-energy as we can embrace by faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for with evidence not seen,” Hebrews 11:1.
Faith works only when we allow it to permeate our thoughts; it opens the doors to a greater storehouse of Spirit realities. Our Father does not withhold one thing from any of us. We limit ourselves by our doubts and fears. If we can believe, all things are possible to those who believe. As our faith is, so shall it be. If we do not expand our territory, it will not be expanded. That is not to say we must do it alone and through our own strength, but we are in charge. The Creator of man said, “Let them have dominion.”
The Living Word reveals our inheritance to us as we accept it. Though he makes it alive to us, we must walk it out and exercise dominion over our inheritance and kill the giant (our lower nature) out of the land.
If we are to lay hold of the promises, we must constantly repeat them to ourselves. The data that is foremost in our memory is that which we repeat most often. This is the benefit of church-services, preaching, praying, Bible study, and spiritual fellowship.
Sharing our spiritual vision helps impregnate our mind and the minds of our brethren with the Living Word. This Spirit impregnation gives us the strength to act upon the Word. This action births the new image. Without the congregational support, it is almost impossible to slay the giant. Church leaders, if you limit your congregational gatherings, you will retard the Spirit growth of the congregation.
It is vital that we pattern our actions after the principles of the spiritual man. Remember that we learn by repeating things over and over; our habits are the product of our memory. As we repeat and adopt the things according to the pattern of the heavenly realm, our habits create our new personality and character.
We automatically judge ourselves according to our habits. We secretly condemn ourselves for bad habits and low moral conduct. Even if we persuade the conscious mind to ignore our bad habits, the subconscious mind looks at the stored data and haunts us with the memories. This judgment goes beyond the expressed realm and enters into our thought pattern, for we also condemn and judge ourselves down for wrong thoughts, even when they are unseen or unexpressed to others. We need not despair; Yahweh is involved with our thought patterns and will purge our conscience from dead works that we might manifest the living God.
We attain happiness only if we esteem ourselves highly in spirit and worthy of happiness. A vain person often pretends to judge himself or herself from a materialistic view, which is always an outward show of defense and deception. In reality, true self-esteem is a product of spirit character that is created in the subconscious realm. It is the only worthwhile judgment productive to the human spirit.
If we violate our own principle that was created by the visualization of our Savior, our subconscious memory acts up and is faithful to let us know we have done wrong. If we live below our own concept of righteousness, our subconscious mind judges us down. The word of Truth is Yahweh within us (John 1:1). He is present everywhere at all times. But until he is acknowledged, confessed, or spoken into reality in our conscious mind, we will remain outwardly unaware of his existence. He will exist in our spirit and in our subconscious mind, while the outward consciousness is not awakened to what is going on in the subconscious or Spirit realm. The spirit of the conscious mind, in our humanity, is enmity against Spirit-truth and shows a resistance to it.
Christians are living in a state of denial when they do not choose to let the old man die. They either heap to themselves ministers that will “make provision for the flesh,” or they drop out and spend the rest of their empty lives blaming their scapegoats for their failure to become productive Christians.
As we enter into Spirit-awakening, our vision may appear to be divided, but we must take steps to correct our double vision, or double standard. Our Lord spoke of this spiritual condition in Matthew 6:22-24, saying, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”
If we allow the carnal mind to dominate us in our outward consciousness, we are not one with our inner-self. This division creates confusion, to say the least. In this confused condition, we are apt to recognize Yahweh’s existence in our outward thoughts—even to accepting him as master of the entire universe—and yet not recognize him as omnipresent in our own spirit. We will continue to act independently of him, as if he did not exist.
If we deny the Word preeminence in our outward walk, we are lost to our direction and purpose. By doing this, we deny ourselves access to the energy that sustains and matures the new man. If we operate from the natural realm, we remain in our natural state of Adams death. We are capable of creating, and we have been given permission to do so, but we can do it only through the Spirit of Truth. The carnal, or natural realm, strengthens the death-force that produces our bondage.
Truth is a liberating force: “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free,” John 8:32.