In order to live an abundant life, a person must be free from mental bondage. The chains that bind one's mind are more painful and defeating than any other. In order to break the chains, we must first become aware about the freedom that has been offered to us. We must learn what has been made available to us, how we can receive it, and how to apply it to our lives in order to free our minds. This article is about the first steps that a person must take in order to break free from mental bondage and live an abundant, powerful life, which is a gift from God.
Right now, take a look at the people around you. Look across the table. Look outside. Look at the folks walking around your neighborhood. Many of them are actually in prison. They're prisoners of their own mindset. I believe every person can be released from their prison, every prison, or the binding chains that encase the mind and make people suffer. There are spiritual truths that have been given to us so that we can learn how to live with freedom, power, and abundance - free from mental bondage.
In John 8:31, 32, 36 of the Amplified Bible, Jesus is talking to his friends, and teaching them, and he says in verse 31, "If you continue in my word (if you hold onto to my teachings and live according to them), you are truly my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. 36 So if the Son liberates you [makes you a free man], then you are really and unquestionably free."
These three verses contain the key to being released from your prison, breaking the mental chains, and living free. We must believe the spiritual truths written in God's Word, which have been made readily available to us. And then, we must know the Son, the Son of God, who is the way, the truth, and the life. By knowing the truth and knowing his Son, we will be really and unquestionably free.
Prisons. There are all kinds of prisons. Prisons are not just made of concrete and steel bars. There are prisons in people's lives that are the secret things they think about and hold onto, the things they don't share with anyone. They are the most frustrating and defeating things. They are thoughts of condemning or blaming oneself, thoughts of not being good enough, not being beautiful enough, or not smart enough. People can have thoughts that gnaw at the back of their minds, conscious and subconscious minds, for years and years. People can have dwelling, continual thoughts of sickness, disease, fear, worry, doubt, confusion, anxiety, suicide, and death. These are the worst, tormenting kinds of prisons.
I believe it's not God's will for us to be so mentally bound. God's will is just the opposite. God has given us a gift of total release from all darkness in our lives.
In Psalms 103:11 and 12 in the Amplified Bible, it is written in verse 11 that just as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are God's mercies and loving kindness toward those who respect God. Verse 12 continues that as far as the east is from the west, so far has our transgressions been removed from us. Transgression here means a mistake, something bad that you did, or a failure.
So as we see in Psalms, all self-condemnation is to be gone from us, because God wants us to be free. Not halfway free, but all the way free. A totally free person.
God has provided us a way to be free from all the powers of darkness in this world, free from resentments, from pride, from envying, from jealousies, and from obsessions and oppressions that may have been eating away at us. These evil, cunning influences lead only to imprisonment. We want to be released from these prisons. And there is a way that has been provided to us, a way by which people may recognize and receive a greater and more wonderful power than they have ever known. And those who are willing to believe can be released from every prison that imprisons, binds, and suppresses their lives.
Hebrew 4:2 in the 21st Century King James version says, "For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith (believing) in those who heard it."
So, we must not only know what's available and hear what's available, but we must also believe it. We are to mix believing with the spiritual truths taught to us so that they are profitable to us. Because believing equals receiving.
A camera's lens is a good analogy to the means by which we can believe and get results to prayer and find freedom from mental bondage. If you want an answer to prayer, think about taking a picture with a camera or your phone. First, get the subject in mind. Select what you want in your picture. This is step one: get clear, "see" what you want or need. Go ahead. Take this moment to think about taking a picture of something with the "something" in your mind. Maybe it's something you need. Maybe it's something that you're thankful for having, or expecting to have. Move your camera, and put that into the picture.
Step two is to get focused. Use the lens and range finder and focus on the subject. Spend time here. And get into the details. Focus.
When you're focused on what you want in your life, really focused, simply take the picture. Focus on the picture of what you want, and keep your mind stayed on it. If you allow something to distract you from what you're focused on, you'll get a blurred answer to your prayer. You won't get the results you intended. You won't get released from the prison that holds you.
James 1:6 and 7 says, "6 But he must ask [for wisdom] in believing, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. 7 For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord." Wow. Focused believing in prayer is the antidote to being tossed about by the winds of the world. No one should expect to receive an answer to prayer without praying (or asking) with a focused believing action and without any doubt of the results.
If we want to get rid of something from our lives today, we must focus. We must focus or dwell upon what we want or need. It's the introduction of light that dispels darkness, not the dwelling on the darkness. If you want more success and achievement, if you want more business, better relations between you and the ones you love, if you want a sound mind and a more healthy body, then get what you need and desire in mind, point your camera and put it in the picture, then focus on it, and then pray without doubt and with believing. Then, take the picture. And change your thinking.
Right now, take a moment. Think about a situation in your life that isn't yet the best. And change your mind. Immediately change your mind and the way you think about a situation in your life. When you change the way you think about things, those things change. Change the subject of your focused and clear thoughts. As you change your thinking, you will create a pattern of what you're concerned about in your life and about what you want to see light up in your life.
Get clear and concerned. Get clear on what you need. Then get concerned about receiving it. Seek the truth. Know the truth, eat it, drink it, walk it and talk it, get concerned about it, dwell upon it, be mindful about it, continue in the truth, and that truth will set you free. And the result will be a total release from any prison. It can be done.
Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
It can be done. It will be done. You can do it. And that's my advice to you.
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read how to bring suffering to an end by thinking and also how to renew the mind.
John Wycliffe has been called “the Morning Star of the Reformation,” which refers to the Protestant Reformation. One hundred years before Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door in Germany in 1517 as part of the Protestant Reformation, Wycliffe took a bold stand and worked to bring change or reform to the Roman church by speaking the truth of God’s Word. He translated the Bible into English. And he took a courageous stand by speaking and writing God’s Word in the common language of the English people. He had a tremendous impact in his day.
John Wycliffe was born in 1328 near Richmond in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England. We attended Oxford as a teenager in 1346. He received a bachelors degree in divinity in 1369 and a doctorate in 1372. Wycliffe studied and taught at Oxford for most of his life. He studied hard and became a recognized leading theologian and philosopher at Oxford University.
As he studied, he realized that many of the mainstream religious teachings of the Roman church was not in alignment and harmony with the spiritual truths in the Bible. And he wanted to change that.
In the 1300’s, the Roman church dominated all of Europe. The church was very powerful. It owned a lot of land throughout Europe. It demanded money and allegiance from people and governments. It influenced religion, philosophy, science, morals, politics, art, and education. But the church’s doctrine had become mixed up with half-truths and superstitions. For example, people were (and still are) required to acknowledge the pope as God’s representative on Earth. Anyone who disagreed with the pope and church were prosecuted or executed.
Wycliffe taught what he learned from his studies, which was that all spiritual truth is in the Bible and that to know Christ and have spirit within, one must understand those truths. He questioned the church and its teachings that did not line up with the truth that he understood and was written in the Bible.
For example, the Roman church taught that salvation (to be saved, reborn and connected with God) is NOT by God’s grace and through believing, but is through good works prescribed by the church. According to the church, the way to God is by following the law of the church according to their rules. The church forbade anyone who wasn’t a church-ordained priest to read the Bible or teach from it.
Another example is that the church required people to confess their sins to priests and the church had the authority to forgive people of their sins. Private confession to God for forgiveness of sins had been replaced by confession to priests. But Wycliffe confronted the church on this.
Wycliffe also spoke out again the sales of “indulgences.” According to the church, a person could pay the church money and the church would in turn free them from being punished for their sins. And with the money, the church would purchase more land and build more churches and fund armies for war. The Christian Crusades were church-sanctioned and funded war campaigns to combat paganism and heresy, and to gain political and territorial power.
Wycliffe also spoke out again the church’s greed. Much of England’s land and wealth was in control of the church. The church and everyone who worked in the church (the pope, bishops, clergy, priests, friars, monks) were more interested in wealth and power rather than attending to the spiritual needs of the people who believed in God. Wycliffe proclaimed that the clergy (the body of all people ordained for religious duties in the church) are not to rule over, but rather serve and help people. Wycliffe spoke publicly that the church lived in greed while common folk struggled under a burden of need.
Wycliffe spoke out against celibacy of the priests, praying to saints, and other practices that were not based upon God’s Word. The church was (and still is today) filled with dogma (principles laid down by the church authority as being incontrovertibly true). He also attacked the dogma of transubstantiation. Wycliffe opposed the beliefs that the bread and wine given at communion are literally transformed into the body and blood of Christ. He enraged the church and was condemned as a heretic. He was a dissenter and a non-conformist who held and proclaimed opinions that were at odds with what the church said was the way, the truth, and the rules to follow or else.
But that didn’t stop him from studying, teaching, and speaking spiritual truths. We was one of the most influential preachers in England, and he encouraged others to speak the Word too. He said, “The highest service to which man may attain on earth is to preach the love of God.”
One of Wycliffe’s major concerns was that the church forbade translations of the Bible into the common language of the people. The church used a bible that was written in Latin, a language that most people in England did not understand or speak. For centuries, the church used the Latin translated bible for readings and teachings. Only the university-educated church clergy could read and teach from the Latin bible. But Wycliffe believed and taught that people could not know the basics of believing unless they knew the Bible, and they could best know the Bible when it was in their own language. He said, “People should understand believing and, as the instructions for believing are in the Scriptures, believers should have the Scriptures in a language which they fully understand.”
Wycliffe called for the Bible to be translated into English. He worked with scholars to translate the entire bible from Latin into English, painstakingly making copies of the Bible by hand. Wycliffe wrote the very first translation of the whole bible into English. In 1384, people in England could read the entire bible for themselves. Hundreds were produced by hand and given to people who would carry the English translations of the Bible with them as they preached God’s Word throughout England. The English translation of the Bible was one of Wycliffe’s greatest accomplishments.
In 1382, the church declared John Wycliffe as a heretic and banished him from Oxford University. As he left the school, he declared, “The truth shall prevail!” He also said, "I believe that in the end the truth shall conquer." In 1384, Wycliffe died peacefully in his home. Four years later, Pope Martin V of the Roman church ordered Wycliffe’s bones to be dug up, burned, and his ashes thrown into the river. The church wanted to erase everything of John Wycliffe from the face of the earth. The church also tried to burn and destroy all of Wycliffe’s books and writings, but the church failed. Wycliffe’s teachings and writings had already spread throughout England and Europe.
In 1408, the Roman Church declared that no one was permitted to translate on his own authority any text of Scripture into the English language or any other language. But the invention of the printing press in 1450 changed all of that. Translations of the Bible could not be stopped. The printing press made it possible to replace handwritten copies of the Bible with printed editions that were affordable. The bible was translated into many languages, including German, Italian, and Czech.
In 1522, Martin Luther, a German theologian, monk, and teacher, translated the entire bible from Hebrew and Greek into German. Luther studied and incorporated many of Wycliffe's ideas about the church and the truth for his own reformation activities. By 1530, an estimated two hundred thousand copies of Martin Luther’s translation were printed. Luther’s bible translation became the foundation for all future translations and versions in Europe. In 1526, William Tyndale translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English. Tyndale was executed by the church soon after. In 1539, King Henry VII used Tyndale's Bible to translate an authorized edition of the bible in English to be read aloud in all of the services of the Church of England. Every parish church in England was required to have a copy of an English translation of the Bible made available to everyone in the congregation. At last, Wycliffe’s vision was fulfilled. All of the people of England had access to the Bible in their own language.
In 1611, the King James Version of the Bible (which as built off of Tyndale's bible) was printed and published. The King James Bible has been translated into about 700 different languages. It’s considered the best-selling book of all time. Wycliffe’s vision to make God’s Word available in the language of the common people has come true.
It took a lot of courage for John Wycliffe to translate the Bible into English back then. He risked everything and inspired other future translators. Because of his dedication and work to speak the truth, the truth did prevail.
How thankful we can be for John Wycliffe. Let’s continue to follow the example of John Wycliffe by standing for truth, and speaking and living the spiritual truths that we know and believe.
If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in reading more at The Kings Guide.
Reference: John Wycliffe article by Rodney Grilliot, The Way Magazine, October 2020.
Photo Credit: Wycliffe by Thomas Kirby, Balliol College
I enjoy watching football. I played football. I throw football. You’ll sometimes see me holding a football. I like football. And today, I'll be enjoying watching a football game or two. Am I worrying about whether or not my favorite team will win or lose? No. Not at all. Actually, I don't really care about the outcome of a football game that I'm watching. It actually doesn't matter if they win or lose, so I'm not worrying too much about it.
My answer is: I don’t worry about the future. I don't worry about tomorrow. I live one day at a time. I’d like to tell you more about living one day at a time without worrying about tomorrow.
I’m guessing you might agree that worrying about the future is not a pleasant way to spend our time.
So, the question that I have for you is: when anxious thoughts arise, how can we stop them? One wonderful principle we can operate is to live one day at a time.
What Me Worry?
Realistically, we do need to think about our future. For sure. We need to make plans. That’s for certain. We have calendars filled with important dates and events. We have things to do to enjoy life. I have plans for the future. For example, I plan to visit Europe to find a place to live with my wife when we are older and desire to live in a small European town on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. I have no idea how that’s going to happen today, but I’m going to plan that into my future. Am I worried or anxious about my future plans? No. Do I continually fret over the details of my life’s schedule? No.
Why not? Why am I not worrying about the future? I’d like to share with you what I do, so that you can investigate for yourself if what I do can work for you.
I Do Two Things
I do two productive things to make things happen:
Here’s an example. I have a goal that by January 1, 2021, I’ll have much less fat stuck on my stomach (and it’s seems stuck!) and I’ll be able to fit into a pair of jeans with a 32-inch waist (currently I’m a 34W, and it used to be 38W).
Am I worrying about this goal? No. Why? I’ve (i) prayed about it (or, said in another way, I focused my thoughts with specific details and assured confidence in my success), and (ii) I have made positive plans - in which I realize where I am, and list the future steps to reach my identified future goals.
What is Praying?
What's praying? Praying can be when I make specific requests to God for my needs to be met. Praying also allows me to express my thankfulness for receiving those things for which I believed.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Be careful [Be anxious or worrisome] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
John 14:13,14 says, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
I John 5:14,15 says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him [God], that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
Prayer helps us get specific and honest with God about what is needed in any situation. And prayer with believing and thankfulness brings results to our planning.
Planning is Time Travel
I think of planning as a bit like time travel. We travel into the future by planning, because planning is like bringing the future into the present so that we can do something about it today. I recommend thinking about that again.
Planning is like bringing the future into the present so that we can do something about it today.
Once we (i) pray and (ii) plan, we can stop our anxious thoughts about the future by putting the majority of our energy and actions into living one day at a time.
Jesus Lived from Day to Day
A couple thousand years ago, there was a man named Jesus, who was a great example of how to live one day at a time. He lived and taught his friends to live one day at a time.
We read in Matthew 6:25, 28, 31, 34:
Verse 25: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat [in the future], or what ye shall drink [in the future]; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on [in the future]….
Amplified version translates, “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
Verse 28: And why take ye thought for raiment [clothing]? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.
Verse 31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Verse 34: Take therefore no thought for the morrow [the future]: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
What does that “sufficent unto the day is the evil thereof” mean? It means that each day has enough trouble of its own. There is no need to add to the problems and challenges that each day brings. The suffering, pain, challenges, problems of the present hour is enough without you adding onto it more worries about the future. That’s what Jesus was saying.
His phrase “take… thought” are translated from a Greek word meaning “be anxious about” or, as we might say, “worry.” Jesus told them to NOT to worry about what they were going to eat, to drink, to wear—not to worry about “the morrow” (the future). He assured them that “sufficient enough unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Thayer’s lexicon helps clarify the King James Version of verse 34 as “Let the present day’s trouble suffice for a person, and let them not rashly increase it by anticipating the cares of days to come.” There’s enough to take care of in every twenty-four-hour period. If we try to anticipate the worries of the future, we may actually increase the challenges we’ll need to deal with. We can put our focus into living in the day, right now, the day at hand, the present moment, and one day at a time.
E. W. Bullinger translates Matthew 6:34 as follows: “Have, then, no anxiety for any future day….” That includes tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after that. Every care or concern we may have about the future can be handled one day at a time. To live one day at a time, you have to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Enjoy what’s going on right now. We are not our best, if anxieties about the future dominate our thinking.
I have no doubts or worries that I’ll make it to Europe and enjoy the entire day with my wife (and kids if they’d like to join us) eating great food and swimming in the sea, maybe in a small Italian coastal town. I live in the present moment, and I have (i) prayed about it, and (ii) I have made positive plans.
The Benefits of Worrying
Can you remember the last time you really, practically benefited from worrying a lot? Explain the details of when worrying about something actually helped the situation you were in. See what I mean?
Focus on the Present Moment
So what are some practical things we can do to help us focus our energy into experiencing, living, and enjoying the present moment? I suggest we should daily “perform our vows.”
Psalms 61:8 reads, “So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.”
What's a vow? A vow is a solemn promise you make committing yourself to an act, service, or condition. For example, I commit myself to exercising (or at least moving) every day.
This is one of the best things about believing in God and applying the practical spiritual truths that we know. We can “perform our vows” or do what we’ve committed ourselves to do, and do it one day at a time.
What have we committed to do?
Our commitments may include: our spouse, our children, our parent, our friend, our jobs, our school, our fellowships, our volunteer work, taking care of the things we own, taking care of our health (like losing some fat off the stomach), etc. We’re committed to doing certain things. We do our commitments and responsibilities daily.
For example, we love the people we love daily. Love ‘em up. Right? And when each day is over, we thank God for our commitments, and we go to sleep. By staying committed to the things we have at hand, we live and do God’s Word. And by doing those things well, we can help ourselves to stop worrying about “the morrow.”
Doing God’s Word
"Doing God's Word"... what does that mean?
Spending time in every twenty-four-hour period, each day, with our thoughts focused on "doing God’s Word" can help us live day-by-day, and not worry about the future. Here are a few examples of what "Doing God's Word" means to us:
Those are practical things we do to enjoy life and bless others, and those things we learned from reading God’s Word and going to fellowship.
And while we are focusing our energy and actions into living every day inspired (or in spirit) from what we’ve learned, we are daily loaded up with blessings.
Psalms 68:19 reads, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
I encourage you to pray and plan, which can help us stop anxious thoughts about the future and live our lives to the fullest one day at a time.
If you enjoyed reading that article, you may want to check out "Why Men Watch Football."