Overcoming Past Conditioning
We are called to represent Jesus. He has called us “salt” and “light.” Salt purifies, flavors, and protects. Without light, life would cease to exist. Paul tells us on Colossians 3:17(NLT): And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
We are all affected and infected by past conditioning. We normally act and react out of modeling and influencing from our younger years. The challenge we all face is the challenge of renewing our minds so that our actions, responses, and attitudes no longer reflect past conditioning, but reflect Jesus!
One of my past conditionings was that of thoughts and feelings of rejection in most of my relationships. I frequently had thoughts and feeling that I just did not “measure up” to others in various social settings. This was deeply ingrained in me from childhood.
As an adult and later as a minister, I found that my thoughts and emotions told me things that simply were not true in many of my social activities. As a pastor, my mind would tell me that a particular person or group of people in my church didn’t like me. Let me explain a little more deeply.
Back in the late 80’s I pioneered a church in a small town, and preached both morning and night on Sundays. Mondays became an emotionally “blue” day for me as week after week my mind and my emotions were filled with strong thoughts and feelings of rejection. I felt that no one like me or cared at all about me. In fact, they were against me.
But by the midweek service, people would come back to church and all seemed well until I got up on Thursday morning, and I felt the same things that I felt on Mondays. My mind and emotions were hijacking me and seeking to recreate rejection issues from my childhood. That’s all that my mind and emotions knew about relationships. Don’t trust other people; people will harm you; don’t get too close; you better watch out, they will hurt you in some way were constant thoughts that filled me with angst.
To overcome this rejection problem, I sieged my thoughts and emotions. I outsmarted them. When my mind and feelings told me that someone didn’t like me, I called them or I went to see them. As I carried on a conversation with them, I found that not even one of the people my mind and emotions were telling me were rejecting me actually were. My thoughts and emotions were sabotaging my current relationships.
I found that I could no longer trust my thoughts and my feelings as I related to others. Here’s what I did. The Lord led me to scripture after scripture that showed me how I was to act, think, and feel toward others. The initial scripture that the Holy Spirit used to help me was 1 Corinthians 4:3, Phillips Translation: It matters very little to me what you or any man thinks of me. I don’t even value my opinion of myself…
I saw that the only opinion that I could trust and that really matters was God’s opinion of me! So I began to read scripture that dealt with attitudes, actions, and words in relationships. I began to change. Eventually, the constant bombardment of rejection thinking and feeling was replaced by thoughts and feelings of being loved and accepted by the Father, and of believing the best of others. What a relief it was to relate to others without this big rejection monster from the past pushing me away!
Week after week, I sieged my rejection thoughts and feelings. I refused to act on them. Instead, I would choose to believe the best of every person and totally ignore thoughts and feels that told me I was being rejected. This was difficult at first, but as I practiced believing the best, my thoughts and feelings slowly began to line up with reality!
This is a long post, but if you’ll take it to heart, it could change your life if you deal with these kinds of issues. Here are the scriptures that I used to change my thinking and to be set free from a sense of rejection:
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7- Amplified).
[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality. Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12: 9-18- Amplified).
I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3- Amplified)
Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32 – Amplified).
Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:2-4- Amplified).
But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. [In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There is no room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all [everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person]. Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. (Colossians 3: 8-14-Amplified).