AT FIRST GLANCE, you
may think you have picked up another do-it-yourself manual—learn
to change the oil filter in your car, your air conditioner filter, or
the filter on your water purification system. Yes,it’s good to
know about and do those things, but the filters we will examine here
are much more intimate and personal and are in critical need of being
checked—and changed—regularly. These are filters in the
mind, and they can control our behavior and everything we think and
I recently received an e-mail that sets the stage
for what I will be writing about here. It goes like this:
“The Dirty Wash”
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The
next morning, while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees the
neighbor hang up the wash outside. “That laundry is not very
clean,” she said, “she doesn't know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs another laundry soap.” The husband looked on,
but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang out the wash,
the young woman would make the same comment. About a month later, the
woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to
her husband, “Look! she has learned how to wash correctly. I
wonder who taught her this?” Her husband said, “I got up
early this morning and washed the windows.”
And so it is with life: What we see while watching
others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.
When God created man on the earth, He knew His new
creation would be exposed to the chaos that Lucifer and the fallen
angels had brought to the earth. The mind of His new man was pure,
innocent, and obedient. That purity would shield him from the ugliness
and chaos he would encounter on the earth, as long as he was obedient
Adam walked in innocence with God in the Garden of
Eden and shared intimate fellowship with Him. Adam could see all things
through the eyes of God. He bore fruit. He subdued and took dominion of
his surroundings. He was happy and fulfilled. He loved the helpmeet God
had given him and lived in unity and oneness with her. He remained
pure, as long as he walked in obedience.
God had placed Adam in a garden, a place of order
in the midst of the chaotic mess that was on the earth. It was an
enclosed environment that he was to “tend and keep.” From
his rib, God had given Adam a mate, and he was given the power of God
to rule the earth as God’s man. The Tree of Life in the center of
the garden preserve was the physical evidence of life under the rule of
God’s Spirit. Its fruit was immortality, and Adam was completely
free to eat of it.
“...but of the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall
surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Adam was given a choice, a choice with strong consequences.
Choose life, or choose death.
There came a day when Adam and Eve disobeyed
God’s command and ate of the forbidden tree. Whether through the
deception of the serpent or deliberate intent, by their act of
disobedience they chose self-autonomy and self-rule over the promise of
eternal life. The death they experienced was spiritual, moral,
emotional, and, ultimately, physical. Their pure minds that had enabled
them to fellowship intimately with God and to rest in His love and
security became polluted and tainted through sin and their own
cognitive knowledge of good and evil. They were immediately filled with
shame and fear at their nakedness and vulnerability, and they set out
to hide and cover themselves.
Titus 1:15 in the Amplified Bible says: “To the pure
[in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiled and
corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and
consciences are defiled and polluted.”
The minds and consciences of Adam and Eve had
become defiled and polluted with the corruption of sin. They had died a
spiritual death and were left to completely rely on their unrepentant
soulish resources—their unleashed human wills, their guilt-ridden
emotions, and their defiled minds, which now harbored a veil, a
polluted filter called “the knowledge of good and evil,” a
veil that separated them from the presence and the holiness of God. The
wisdom that Eve had been seeking was not godly wisdom born from
dependence on God but human self-rule and the mind of reason.
When God called Adam and Eve to account for their
actions in Genesis 3:11, “Have you eaten from
the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat,” the proverbial “blame game” was born.
Instead of taking responsibility for their sin and falling on their
faces in repentance before God, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the
Before asking them if they had eaten from the
forbidden tree, God asked them a key question in the first part of
Genesis 3:11, “Who told you that you
were naked?” This is an important
question that we often skim right over. Let’s read all of that
verse again: “And He said, ‘Who
told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I
commanded you that you should not eat?’” These two questions are eternally linked by Almighty God
Himself. Eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil birthed
the voice of self-awareness. It birthed the voice that speaks in
agreement with the great tempter, the deceiver, the “accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our
God day and night” (Rev. 12:10).
The eyes of Adam and Eve had been opened to their
own nakedness and shame. Their focus was taken off of God and placed on
themselves. Their minds of purity that had protected them to God now contained a veil
of separation from God. That veil was a filter through which all of sinful
man’s thoughts, and ultimately his words, would be processed by
the knowledge of good and evil. Those thoughts, under the dominion of
satan, would be turned inward, where the focus was on self instead of
on God. Those filters are still influencing our lives today.
Everyone has filters. They are the sum total of
our knowledge—our knowledge of both good and evil. We process
almost everything through a filter—information, thoughts,
feelings, experiences, problems, etc. At birth, they are like blank
computer chips ready to be programmed.
Children who are raised in a home where there is
love, caring, sharing, and appropriate relationship interaction have,
for the most part, learned to be pragmatic in their thinking processes.
Their knowledge weighs on the side of “good.”
Conversely, children who are raised where there is
abuse, dysfunction, chaos, instability, or a lack of love and caring
will usually develop negative imprints in their mental functioning and
may have many filters through which they process thoughts and feelings.
Their knowledge weighs on the side of “evil.” For many,
even though at some point they may become born again, there is often a
life-long struggle with trust.
There are many kinds of destructive filters
plaguing humanity. The “seeds” are there as a result of
man’s fallen state and the inheritance of the sins of the
fathers. They are programmed by many means—through things that
are planted in the mind in childhood, through negative and painful
significant relationships, through the influence or bad experiences
that come from drugs and alcohol, through habitual sin, or even through
trauma. Filters are a greatly-used tool of the devil to steal, kill,
and destroy the purposes and the lives of people.
Many filters are all consuming. Take, for example,
a person who has acquired a rejection filter. Everything he or she
thinks, hears, feels, and experiences processes through their rejection
filter, and it comes out looking just like rejection. Most of us have
met people with a rejection filter, and no amount of reassurance will
ever be enough to satisfy them.
Over time, human filters collect the debris of
life, the same as any other filter. They grow stale and become covered
with sticky gunk and grime. Eventually, they become clogged. The person
with a rejection filter at that point sees rejection in everything.
Their words constantly confess their rejection. We have all heard of
people looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Instead of
being rose-colored, these filters are rejection-colored. The vision is
dirty, ugly, devoid of love, painful, and destructive. Eventually, the
filter starts to contaminate the person organically. The rejection is
not then just an emotional response to a thought or an exterior
influence; it is becoming a part of that person’s inner identity.
It will eventually cause them to set themselves up to be rejected by
others and to reject themselves.
Hopelessness and self-hatred next sets in and can
often end in suicide. If they live, it goes deeper into the cells of
the body, and the body begins to be rejected at the cellular level. At
this point, the disease and/or dying process has begun.
Think about what dirty oil does to a car engine.
You can drain the oil and put in new, clean oil, but if you don’t
change the filter, the oil is blocked and destroyed as it tries to
circulates through the dirty filter. This is what happens to many
people, even Christians, who go from counselor to counselor or from
church to church and never change. It is a hindrance to the work of the
Holy Spirit in that life. They may see some short-term benefits, but
eventually, the dirty filter does its work.
This continued cycle will soon wear out an engine.
It starts running badly, it has no power, it spits and sputters and
develops hesitation. Pretty soon it’s going to throw a rod;
it’s going to blow the engine. Compare that to a heart attack, or
cancer, or any number of health maladies. It may even show up as
psychosomatic illness long before the real sets in.
Many have said that the battle is in the mind.
Filters in the mind prevent us from walking in the Spirit because they
speak louder than the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. We are
told in the Word of God to deny self, take up our cross, and follow
Jesus (Luke 9:23), but filters cause our focus to be primarily on self.
Filters cause us to demand our rights that we perceive are being
withheld. Filters keep us from trusting others, or God. Unless our mind
is renewed, filters will cause us to focus more toward the knowledge of
evil than the knowledge of good.
The only hope is God’s intervention, by His
grace, to bring healing and restoration. Typically, a person is in so
much pain by that time that they seek help, or they cry out to God to
take away their pain.
We blame a lot of problems on demonic spirits, and
rightly so. But many of God’s people are being destroyed from a
soul problem. The soul is made up of the Mind, the Emotions, and the
Will. A problem begins in the Mind with negative, stinking thinking
that has passed through a filter. Then the Emotions get involved and
pump up the volume, and the Will jumps on the bandwagon and starts to
dance. The Will acts out what the person is thinking and feeling.
One of the most common filters plaguing Americans
today is rejection. Other common filters are anger, unforgiveness, and
rebellion. These filters many times feed off of each other.
Let me first say that occasionally feeling
rejection is a normal part of life, of sharing space on the earth with
others. For whatever reasons, people sometimes reject us, whether we
know them or not. The problem arises in not recognizing this and then
allowing oneself to become offended by what is perceived as a personal
affront. This may trigger an anger filter and the thought,
“Nobody is going to treat me that way!” They begin to
willingly act out their responses to their negative filters in
unloving, anti-social, or illegal ways.
A typical scenario is that soon the loved ones
they desperately need get tired of the negative behaviors and leave.
Then an abandonment filter is activated. Now they have rejection, fear
of abandonment, and a great big anger problem that pushes them away
from any help that is available, from the people who really care and
want to help them, and from God!
So what happens? Rebellion sets in. Now they have
rejection, fear of abandonment, anger, and rebellion. And it’s
all eating away at their soul. Consciously, they blame everyone else
for what’s happening to them; I believe it is because they cannot
face the unconscious belief that they are defective. They are usually
filled with anxiety, fear, and self-hatred. If you listen to the words
spoken by people in this state of mind, you will hear them constantly
putting themselves down. Self-hatred is at the root of many
inflammatory diseases today.
At this point, they may act out in
self-destructive ways. I believe this kind of problem is at the root of
those who cut themselves, a problem we are hearing more and more about.
In some cases, the destruction is aimed at hurting others. Many
offenders serving prison sentences are the victims of their own
Other kinds of filters
Another filter that is rampant in the Church
today, especially in America, is the religious filter. The
characteristics of a person with a religious filter can range from the
very meek and lowly to the person who wants to control everything. They
probably have an underlying insecurity or a sense of unworthiness
toward having an intimate relationship with the Lord. They usually wear
their emotions on their sleeve and are easily offended.
If you see these tendencies in yourself or others,
there is almost always a religious filter in operation, and it almost
always centers around a church doctrine or tradition. The person with
the religious filter will see themselves as great defenders of the
faith, willing to do battle to preserve their belief. However, they
really bear no fruit as disciples of Jesus Christ.
We stated earlier that filters are a greatly-used
tool of the devil to steal, kill, and destroy the purposes and the
lives of people. Sometimes demonic spirits attach themselves to a
person’s filters, especially when the will has opened a door
through acting out in willful sin. When there are demonic spirits in
control, it might be necessary to seek out a reputable person who moves
in deliverance ministry. Please do your homework and check out anyone
whom you plan to submit yourself to for deliverance. There are also
generational curses that can be dealt with through deliverance
Is it any wonder that God issued such a stern
warning to Adam and Eve about the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil? He told them that in the day they ate of it, they would surely
die. He wasn’t telling them that He would punishment them
with death, even spiritually, but that the knowledge of good and evil
would change them on the inside in a way that would lead to death. No
longer would their minds be pure; they would be tainted by evil
knowledge and expectation. In God’s mercy, the Tree of Life was
guarded from them, so they would not live forever in their fallen
Have you checked your filters lately? Have people
told you that you were becoming negative, angry, hostile, mean? Have
you become a “doubting Thomas”? Is your agape slipping, or have you
started sounding like a resounding gong and a clanging symbol?
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or
boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is
not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It
is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures
through every circumstance (1 Cor. 13:4-7 NLT).
If these characteristics are not present in your
love walk, you may have a filter in your mind. Verse three of that same
Scripture says, “If I gave everything
I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;
but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value
whatsoever.” Filters de-value
Most people tend to look only at the external
acts, but God looks at the heart. If there are filters operating in our
minds, they affect our hearts and our love walk because we can’t
see past the filter to be concerned about others. Filters are
So how does one stop the cycle?
First, we admit we may have a problem, and we fall
on our knees in godly sorrow and repent. Notice I said “godly
sorrow.” We change our MINDS. We realize that we can’t do
it ourselves, and we need help.
Next, we exercise our WILL to give our life into
the care of God through Jesus Christ. If we aren’t 100% willing,
we become willing to be made willing. We humbly ask for His help.
Then we resist!! Resist, as Jesus did in the
Garden of Gethsemane, to sweating drops of blood if necessary. Resist
the old way of thinking. If rejection feelings come (or whatever the
filter is), instead of giving in to the feelings, consciously realize
that what stimulated the rejection feeling went through a dirty filter
that is lying. It’s almost always not true! Speak the truth
out loud to yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If someone
says something and you feel bad hearing it, ask them in humility what
they meant. Or tell them you heard it this way, and ask if that is what
they really meant? You will find that most people have no ill intent.
The enemy is within! It’s a filter that is lying to you and will
destroy you if you let it.
The armor of God shields us from the fiery darts
of the devil. But we are to put on the mind of Christ to shield us from
ourselves, from our sin nature, our filters, and our own carnality.
When we are born again, or born from above, our
spirit is renewed, but our soul needs a lot of work. Jesus Christ is
the Door that opens the Kingdom of God to us, the place where God is in
charge. We have to make the decision to walk through into that Kingdom
and allow God to direct our lives, to be the Lord and Master of our
lives. He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
We must come to Him in humility with a broken and
contrite heart. We have to daily put the old man, the old sin nature,
on the cross. That’s the only place it belongs. We do not have
the capacity, the will power, to control it. It absolutely must be put
on the cross daily. The Apostle Paul said, “I die daily.”
We must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow Christ. Then we
begin to walk in the Spirit, so that we do not fulfill the lust of the
flesh, and we ask God to clean up the dirty filters.
We have heard that it won’t happen overnight
any more than we can become champion swimmers overnight. It’s a
process, and it takes practice. Our sincere commitment is immediate,
but it is then lived out in a process, a process of prayer and feeding
on God’s Word. If you have made a commitment, you will live it
out in a process. The first thing each day, we must renew and reaffirm
our commitments and ask God for His help as we surrender our
“self” to Him.
There may be many failures on the journey to
success and freedom. That’s why it is so important to be in
fellowship with the body of Christ. We need each other to keep us
encouraged. We need the prayers of others. We need truth-speakers to
remind us of the truth so we know it is worth our efforts.
As we fill our minds with the Word of God, and as
we meditate on it day and night, we come to realize that God is doing
what His Word says He will do. He is doing it as we pray. The things we
pray for actually start happening inside of us. We are being changed.
We are being conformed to the image of Christ.
Our filters are becoming clean. They are being
restored to the purity and innocence that God intended. The minds and
consciences of man became polluted and defiled when Adam and Eve chose
to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus Christ
redeemed man from that curse on Calvary’s cross. He made possible
the restoration of all things.
Through Christ, our fallen, polluted filters are
restored and filled with FAITH—the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen. We are free indeed! And we are free to
show others the way. We are being restored to purity and innocence of
mind so that we can unashamedly walk in the presence of God once again.
For quite some time, I have been intrigued by Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing BY the word of
God” [emphasis added]. It is usually translated: faith comes by hearing the word of God, or by hearing the gospel. Knowing that the Word of God refers to jots and
tittles being important, I have to believe the second word
“by” is not there by accident. Everything God says has
meaning and purpose.
Bear with me as I speculate. Could it be that when
the dirty filters are cleaned up, and we have put on the mind of
Christ, the Word of God can be written upon that clean filter? Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart,
that I might not sin against You.” With this in mind, Romans 10:
17 might be paraphrased, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and
hearing BY the word of God that is written upon the clean filter
of my heart.” No longer are we hearing by the filter that has
been contaminated by life. The filter that was once driven by the
knowledge of evil now bears the standard for faith—the knowledge
of the goodness of God and of His Christ.