By Jose A. Luna
I remember the year 1999, it was a transcendental year for my life; the main reason for this was that I lost all of my savings, almost a million dollars, on a business venture which I had started in 1997. This setback forced me to start over, with just a couple of thousand dollars I had left, it was also the year I started the business which would carry me up for the next seven years, and until we started our missionary life. It was also the year when the movie Matrix was released to theatres.
My reflecting on this events lays in my deep believe that a mindset is more powerful than any circumstances which may affect your condition or status or position, and any circumstances which may cause momentary afflictions or pains, and even suffering. This is important because in those days, as well as today, I believed that a person can achieve anything he or she set herself to do, as long as they set their mind on that purpose, notwithstanding external conditions.
Yet I also believe that as powerful a mind as the Lord has given us, it can be easily afflicted, discouraged, distracted, and even derailed, by external conditions, which are typically absolutely beyond our control, if we let it. And please notice I said, if we let it.
What I mean to say is that we do have control over our mind, I am a true believer and state as a fact that we can truly be kings and queens of our mind, if we choose to be.
One of the greatest gifts God has given humanity is free will. Yet a great portion of the population of the world live in confusion and dismissiveness and even ignorance of the power that’s been given to us in free will. For God wanted us to have a choice, not just in choosing the tree of life over the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but in every infinitesimal aspect of our life. And best thing is, He gave us the wisdom to choose wisely, that we learn to live in grace, and to choose blessings rather than curse.
Yet consistently, one time after another we choose the curse, we choose the knowledge of evil and we choose damnation. Why is that?
Let’s look at the Bible for a moment and see what it says about it.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 we read: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
That is an extraordinary statement which Paul makes to the Corinthians, a bold and revealing statement indeed. The question is, are we in a position to restate these words to our lives?
Let us also remember that Paul tell the Corinthians that worldly wisdom is foolishness, and those who submit to God have wisdom from God!, so what is the difference?
My boldness and entrepreneurial savvy and my resilience and ability to bounce back in business was all based on worldly wisdom, worldly premises, worldly knowledge and experience, in which there was a conspicuously absent ingredient, Christ in me, the hope of glory.
Jesus Christ was not at the center of my life, or of my thought processes, or at the center of my decisions, He was not the source of my wisdom and thus, all my decisions were tainted and only apparently wise. I did feel the power of my entrepreneurial drive at work, and the confidence of every step I took, the knowledge that every decision was the right one, and the willingness to take risks unworriedly based on the many years of experience and study. Yet it was all a gamble, a well thought and carefully planned gamble indeed, yet a gamble nonetheless, a gamble in which I had a fifty-fifty chance, a free will decision with two possible outcomes, and God always knew on which side the coin would fall, yet I was not including Him in the equation, I was not consulting the only one who could tilt the balance to my side,
If we are familiar with Bible history we’d quickly understand that wisdom without God is dumb wisdom. Abraham knew something the rest of the world didn’t know, his secret was, he had a close relationship with God. Moses had something the rest of the Israelites didn’t have, he was a friend of God. King David had a special acquaintance with God. Similarly, we can look at the common denominator in every instance of greatness in the Bible (Spiritual greatness that is)
Fast forward to our first mission to D.R. in July 2006. After more than 20 years of “no very Christian” life in Canada, living as an entrepreneur, mostly living the blessings and affluence that hard work and worldly wisdom provides, I arrived in the D.R. with the idea that I could revolutionize Christianity with my great entrepreneurial abilities and with the knowledge “God had provided me with”
Once again, with the same old gun-ho attitude, I started a new enterprise in the D.R. except this time I was doing it “for God” an NGO was born and great plans were developed, and a great Ministry was started to train every poor kid in the nation in morals and ethics and life skills, and the knowledge of Christ. Everything seemed perfect, and the program grew quickly and thousands of kids were enrolled,, I had invested every penny our family had; I was convinced that this couldn’t possibly be a bad investment, since I was investing in the kingdom of God. Except, in spite of the fact that we prayed in every meeting, that we worshiped a lot, that we surrendered every action we took, and every asset we bought to Christ, in spite of the fact that I was spending hours every day praying and reading scripture.
I was till the arrogant, almighty and wise entrepreneur who knew how to start a business, and how to make it work. And this case one wasn’t any different. I the intention to show God how smart I was, and how much good I could do for His kingdom. And the Lord let me get deeper and deeper into it, until I had spent every penny we had. And then we crashed.
After 18 months and more than a quarter million dollars were gone, I found myself weeping one morning, asking God to forgive me and begging him for another chance. Needless to say the Lord answered my prayers, on His own terms though, He got me a job as a Magazine producer, and sent Pastor David to rescue me, and so I could carry on with Ministry.
More than ten years have passed since those days, and just recently, I believe I finally got a glimpse of the lesson the Lord has been trying to teach me.
Throughout these years and in spite of God’s blessings abounding in our lives, my personal battles have been mostly about letting go of that independent spirit which limits God’s work in me, and as he continues to eliminate strongholds, and rebelliousness, I’m still finding new hidden traits and worldly thoughts which must be submitted to the knowledge of Christ.
Yet this morning the Lord simply told me, “stop trying so hard to achieve what I have already accomplished” and I am once again embarrassingly humbled by the reality that His work in us is not completely done until the day of Christ. Last night I was listening to one of Bill Johnson’s sermons, in which he says that the shield of faith is there to stop the fiery darts of the enemy, yet the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, is the type of short sword used by the Romans in the times of Jesus, and that sword was often used to extract those arrows that managed to go pass the shield and wounded the soldier, in the same way, we must use the sword on us, to extract those darts that wound us, for only the word can do that.
What we believe makes us what and who we are, and what we believe set the patterns of our mind, when those believes are weakened, our identity gets affected, and our purpose gets sidetracked.
In second Corinthians 5:17 we find that anyone who is in Christ, is a new creation, old things have passed away, and all things are made new
God cannot work effectively on a mind filled with strongholds, with twisted believes, and worldly wisdom, or with old traditions and patterns which control our thought processes; henceforth, we must surrender our mind to God, we must submit every one of our thoughts to the knowledge of Christ, we must test every thought to the measure of Scripture, before we let it grow roots in our minds, we must eliminate every mindset which does not abide in Christ, which does not respond to the filter of Scripture. To surrender to Christ, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, is the only path to a life of victory; not worldly victory which is fleeting and vain and empty of substance, but Godly victory, which is dressed in wisdom from God, and which is eternal.
May the Lord Bless you and Keep you!
Pastor, Evangelist, Child of God, a soul redeemed by Christ’s blood, Enterprise troubleshooter and an English-Spanish Interpreter.