Show Notes – “The Greg Amundson Show / Episode Seventeen”
Welcome to The Greg Amundson Show. This is a podcast where Greg will educate and inspire you to live with purpose, passion, and a burning desire to develop strength in your mind, body, and spirit. Through a disciplined use of our words, thoughts, awareness and attention, we can achieve a mindset of positive expectancy, personal belief, and an unshakable faith in God.
Hello, friends, and welcome to Episode 17 of The Greg Amundson Show. I want to take you back in time today to my second year at Presentation Elementary School. I was in second grade, and I had a crush on the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I still remember her name to this day, Candice Naylor. She was the most beautiful girl in the entire world as far as I was concerned.
One day, I decided that I would profess my love to Candice in the form of a love letter. I wrote her a love letter, and during the recess I handed her the love letter certain that my face was bright red. I was so nervous, so scared, yet I knew this was the girl for me.
Well, the next day during recess, Candice gave me a note of her own, however, she also said when handing me the note that I was going to be in some serious trouble because Candice had given my love note to none other than our second grade teacher who was a nun who was known by the name Sister Jean, The Mean Machine. This nun terrified me, terrified me. And now Candice has given Sister Jean the love note that I gave in confidence to Candice. I was terrified. What was Sister Jean going to do?
Well, we returned from recess, and I thought to myself in that second grade mindset that two can play this game, and if Candice would dare to give my love note to Sister Jean then I can certainly give the love note that Candice gave to me to Sister Jean.
We’re back from recess, we just finished prayer, I stood up, walked up to Sister Jean’s desk, and placed the love note that Candice had given me right in front of her, and I said, “Sister Jean, I think you should read this.” Well, Sister Jean not only read it to herself, Sister Jean read this note to the entire class. It turns out, for reasons I still do not understand nor ever probably will, Candice never in fact gave my love note to Sister Jean. She just said that she did when in fact I actually followed through giving that note that Candice had given me in confidence to Sister Jean.
Sister Jean reads the love note to the entire class. I started crying because now I feel horrible because Candice was crying, then we’re ridiculed by Sister Jean. We’re told that this type of communication and affection is not permitted in the kingdom of God especially for second grade students at Presentation Catholic School. On and on it went. I just felt horrible because here’s the girl of my dreams, and I’m responsible now for her sorrow.
The reason I began with this story is this story helps to highlight, I think, one of the most in important Bible verses that we could ever hope to commit to memory. By memory I mean not just the memory through the repetitive process of our thinking, I’m referring to a memory in which this Bible verse becomes part of our cellular make up, it becomes part of the man or woman whom we are. That, my friends, is the significance of this Bible verse.
You see, what we have to understand is that Jesus tells us in Scripture that what ever we hold in our heart we will become. In the book of James, James writes as a man thinketh in their heart, so they are. Here’s the key, my friends. In the Bible the word heart is often used as a metaphor for what we now understand to mean the subconscious mind. Think about the implications of this, my friends. The subconscious mind is formed, according to most experts, by the time we turn eight years old which means that my subconscious mind in the context of relationship, trust, privacy, confidence, all those matters of character development from a very young age, in that incident with Candice Naylor, were formed in second grade unbeknownst to me.
Those moments in which I stood in front of the classroom witnessing Candice crying, witnessing my own tears, witnessing the embarrassment, feeling that I had been cheated, feeling there had been a violation of trust, feeling that I had been lied to, feeling that I had been set up, feeling that I had been cheated on, those types of emotions, although I could not justify nor fully explain them in the innocence of a second grade mind yet, nevertheless, they formed the perspective through which I viewed the world and, sadly, subsequent relationships, that incident in second grade played out in the unraveling of my marriage and many other very loving relationships, that’s because I was unaware, for the longest time, of the impact of that incident. It took some deep meditation, some deep contemplation, it took many, many hours in the silence of the presence of Father God in heaven for me to recall that event and for me to see critically how that event was continuing to impact the quality of my life today as an adult.
Now, the good news is that Scripture provides us a specific Bible verse that can help to purify and cleanse our heart, our subconscious mind. I want to give you the context for who wrote this Bible verse. The author of this Bible verse is one of my absolute heroes. The author of this Bible verse is none other than the David as in the story of David and Goliath, an absolute warrior. What I love about David is David had the two qualities that every warrior must strive to cultivate. David had unshakeable faith in God, and he was willing to work his faith.
When I talk about this principle of making faith work and working your faith, the analogy I often use is in the CrossFit gym. We could have a potential athlete come into the gym, and then we could spend hours explaining the methodology, the science, the art of CrossFit. They could have a wealth of information, knowledge about CrossFit. However, all that knowledge will not help them in the least bit in the development of their physical capacity until they start to do CrossFit.
We can talk about pull-ups but in order to get your first pull-up you simply have to get on the bar and start doing pull-ups. That, my friends, has been my experience with spiritual development, with gaining deeper levels of intimacy with God. We can learn about God, however, we ultimately need to apply the lessons that God is desirous of knowing in our life in order to have our faith come alive for us.
So we have to have both an unshakable faith in God, and we have to be willing to have the courage in ourselves and in the presence of God in our life, and therefore, work our faith in our life in order to see the fulfillment of the amazing life, the amazing make up, the amazing purpose that God has in store for us.
David, in later years of his life, wrote nearly half of the book of psalms. One of those Scriptures, one of those psalms that David wrote I want to share with you, and I challenge you, I encourage you, my friends, to commit this to memory at the cellular level, own this, embody this truth. Here we go. Create in me a clean heart, oh, God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Wow. Let me repeat that for you. Create in me a clean heart, oh, God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
In other words, in the first half of that psalm David is saying, “God, purify, cleanse, uplift, renew, restore the quality of my thinking.” David is saying, “God, if there is any thought that I may not even be aware of in my mind or my subconscious mind, meaning that part of my intellect, that part of my thinking, that part of my perception of my reality that I may no longer even be aware of, if there is a thought that is no longer serving me, oh, God, then purify my mind, create in me a clean mind, oh, God. Then put a new and right spirit within me.”
This is so beautiful, this order of events, to purify, to cleanse the mind then. Then when the mind is clear we invite the presence of the Holy Spirit into our renewed mind and so that we can see through the eyes of Christ, and so that our perception of the world, our perspective, the way we view the conditions of our life can be seen through the Holy Spirit, through the eyes of Christ. Remember the Bible tells us we can do all things through Christ who is in us. That means, my friends, that we can see the world through the lens, through the perspective, through the eyes of Christ once our mind is renewed, once our mind is purified, once our mind has been restored into a vessel, a temple, a holy shrine for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that powerful, my friends?
The good news here is that we don’t necessarily have to spend years and years and thousands of thousands of dollars in therapy trying to recall, trying to recollect, trying to reconcile with every incident of our life that may have resulted in any impure perception or perspective or way of viewing the world. We don’t have to bother with that. And, quite frankly, as warriors, we don’t have time. We’ve got to get to work in the world. We’ve got to start to be of service to our community, to our family, to our friends, to our loved ones. Yet, the only way to authentically serve as my dear friend and longtime mentor Mark Divine would say is to master ourselves.
Part of the mastery process, undoubtedly, the most important part of that process is mastery of our mind. Yet, if our mind is unruly, if we cannot control the quality of our thinking, if our mind is running rampant, then how can we ever hope to master ourselves, let alone be of service to other people. And that’s why I love the power of this Bible verse because we’re asking in one fell swoop God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, cleanse my mind, purify my mind, renew my mind, restore my mind, strengthen my mind. Then, Father God, create in me a new heart, put a new and right spirit within me, meaning put within me, oh, God, a new right way of thinking.
Now, to correlate this to the lessons of Jesus Christ, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be fulfilled.” In other words, my friends, Jesus was saying blessed are you who really desires to think righteously, meaning blessed are you who chooses to use your thinking in the most productive, constructive way. In the words of Mark Divine this is saying no less than blessed are you who choose, and desire, and hunger, and thirst to feed the dog of courage for that dog of courage will be fulfilled. And upon fulfillment, mastery begins to take place in your life, then you begin to serve other people, that you begin to fulfill the very purpose of your life. It all begins in the temple of our mind, it all begins in those critical six inches between our years, my friends. That’s the power of this Bible verse.
And let me give you some insight, some perspective on the authorship of this psalm because very often what I found in my life is that when I aspire to be like someone such as one of my mentors, when I look up to one of my mentors I naturally desire to aspire to that quality of being. There’s a trait in that person that I want to reflect in my own life.
So many of the great scholars of our time remind us time and time again that we are the byproduct of the five people we associate most of our time with. Here’s something brilliant, my friends, to consider. Those five people whom you associate with do not need to still be living. For example, one of the people I associate with is Jesus Christ. I spend time with Jesus Christ because I aspire to be like Christ. Another mentor whom I look up to, who I try to recreate through the quality of their words and deeds in my life is David, the figure from the Bible that had the power of the Holy Spirit profoundly upon them.
Let me take you back in time to a story that I love to recreate in my imagery and a story that I love to share. I want to share with you this story perhaps in a slightly new way, bringing in a bit more historical context that can help us really hold David in the highest regard and inspire us to the greatest degree to commit to memory this Bible verse I have challenged you with.
When David arrived on the battlefield, David arrived not as a soldier. David arrived as a brother for three of his brothers were on the battlefield as soldiers. David had arrived that day coming from the shepherd’s field to deliver food to his brothers. You see, David was not one of the thousands of soldiers on the battlefield that day. However, and much more important, David was a warrior.
When David arrived on the battlefield there was such fuss towards the front of the battle line. David walked to the front of the battle line to see what all the fuss was about, and what he saw was a giant. According to Scripture and different accounts of Goliath on the field of battle that day, he could’ve been up to nine feet tall. Most historical records are in agreement he was over six foot eight. Goliath was covered head to toe in bronze armor. He had a spear, a javelin over six feet tall. In addition, Goliath had a shield bearer who was walking and standing in front of him.
So imagine this, a six foot eight giant with a six foot javelin, with a shield bearer standing in front of him. That had to be a fearsome sight. In fact, we know it was a fearsome sight for every single soldier when challenged by Goliath for single combat was terrified and did not accept the challenge. However, David immediately did.
David said, “I can take this giant.” David then went to King Saul and said, “King, I request permission to fight Goliath.” Well, we know what happened next. Reluctantly, the king granted David permission to fight Goliath. David went to a small stream near the battlefield. He spent some time in solitude in the presence of God while gathering five stones. He placed those five stones into his pouch, then David began not to walk towards Goliath, David ran towards Goliath. And while running towards Goliath David said, “I come to you in the name of God, and surely I will bring you down.” What a perfect example of faith and works in action.
And what’s interesting to note, it’s always in that specific order. David said, “I come to you in the name of Jehovah,” a traditional Jewish name for God. I come to you in the name of God, thus faith. I come to you in faith in God. And I will surely bring you down. That’s action. As he is saying this he is simultaneously drawing a rock, a smooth river stone from his pouch. He’s placing that pouch into the net, the webbing of his sling. He is starting to accelerate the momentum of the swing in his hand, and then he loses the rock. His aim is perfect. One shot, one kill, the motto of the modern-day sniper. That rock hits Goliath in the one critical place on his body where there was no ornament, right between his eyes. That shot brings Goliath crashing to the ground.
Here is what is seldom known about this story. On the battlefield that day there were 700 other trained soldiers who would have had the training and the ability to lose that same stone with the same accuracy. You see, the weapon that David was armed with, the sling, was not only a tool for the shepherd in which David could use the mighty power of that weapon to defend against any threat to his flock. It was also a weapon that was utilized in Israelite army. There were 700 soldiers on the battlefield that day armed with the sling that, according to Scripture, had the same skill and ability to fire that same shot, yet they lacked faith. They potentially had the works, the ability to fire the shot, yet they lacked faith. Isn’t that incredible?
That’s the power that David possessed. That’s why he can be held in such high regard because what we see, my friends, when we reflect on those people that make it through the most intense crucibles of their life is they have a perfect combination of faith and works. Reflecting on the crucibles of my life ranging from Kokoro Camp to the incredibly enduring 30-day assessment and selection course I went through while an agent with the DEA when I was testing for the equivalent of their SWAT team, the difference in every single crucible I’ve been through between those people that make it and those that do not has very little to do with the physical body, meaning very little to do with the potential for works. It has everything to do with what’s taking place between the ears and the mind. It has everything to do with faith.
And then we come back full circle to the power of the psalm that David in later years, many, many years after this incident with David and Goliath, David writes the psalms, writing and so that other people could have the insight into the experiences that he had by the mercy and grace of God, one of which was this incredible battle with Goliath.
And what he teaches us is that in order to authentically live in the fullness of the purpose in which God created us to manifest and unfold during our lifetime we have to have a clean mind, a pure, righteous spirit, we must possess a clean heart. Therefore, David writes a psalm which we can all commit to memory. In many respects, this is the battle rhythm, this is the marching cadence, this is the battle cry of the modern-day warrior. Create in me a clean heart, oh, God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Well, my friends, thank you for joining me today. And I really encourage you, my friends, I really challenge you to repeat that verse, repeat that Scripture over and over in your mind. Whisper it to yourself in silence, let it percolate through every cell of your body, let that sink deep into not just your conscious mind, let that seep into your heart, into your subconscious mind. And I promise you, my friends, based on my experience and the experience of hundreds of people I have coached and encouraged to commit that Bible verse to memory, you will see a profound positive difference in the quality of every department of your life.
My, friends I pray that God would bless you and keep you safe. And I will talk to you again soon right back here on our next episode together of The Greg Amundson Show. Take care.
Thank you for listening to the show. Please subscribe, rate, and share this podcast. You can find more info at gregoryamundson.com. Take care, and God bless.
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