Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

That Dang Bell

Meditation Scriptures: Romans 12:2, Revelation 21:1-7, Philippians 4:8-9

Have you heard of Ivan Pavlov?

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physicist made famous in the world of psychology through a study in digestion. Pavlov wanted to see if external stimuli could affect salivation and digestion. Every time he gave food to the dogs in his experiment, he would ring a bell. At first, the dogs only salivated when they saw, smelled and ate their food, but after a while, they began to salivate when the bell sounded, even when no food was present. In 1903, Pavlov published his results, calling this learning process “conditioning.”

Although, I would not categorize myself as an “animal lover,” I found myself very sympathetic towards those dogs. I mean, I’m glad that Pavlov’s great discovery snowballed many other studies in behavioral sciences, but what about those dogs’ lives post-Pavlov? I imagine that they were completely ruined by the presence of that dang bell!

A tornado drill bell rings while Spot is in obedience school. The result: drool. Spot’s friend, Tuffy, rides her new bicycle through their neighborhood and rings her little bell. The result: drool. Spot and his family attend a Christmas bell choir special. The result: drool galore! Little Spot ends up spending a lot of time standing in a pool of his own saliva.

It’s so unfair! It’s so wrong! It’s so pathetic . . . especially when I realized that, just like Spot, I have lived most of my life waist-deep in drool.

Now, I am one who has professed to be “anti-spit,” stating that saliva is one bodily fluid God never biologically intended to have outside the human body. So, this metaphor comes at a great price of gags and esophageal spasms for me.

Nevertheless, the “bells” in my life have resulted in my waddling in my own pool of drool. The bells of my past experiences have elicited conditioned responses from me, typically in the form of habits, mindsets and emotional reactions. For example, life taught me early on that people would, without a doubt, hurt me. My conditioned response: build emotional walls and relational barriers to keep people away. That worked just fine until my teenage years when I realized that I desperately required access to God and His word. Suddenly, the Old Faithful responses were not getting me the results I needed and it was apparent that my thinking HAD to change if I desired to know God.

Although I was ready for a trigonometry formula, the solution was simple: THINK LIKE THE KINGS GOD INTENDED US TO BE.

“Bells” happen, folks! Unexpected events and circumstances have been around since the beginning of time. It isn’t the presence of bells that limits us, but our conditioned responses. Old Faithful responses limit our ability to be Kingdom thinkers. The biggest battle we fight regarding Kingdom thinking is changing what is between our right and left ears! It’s the fight to relinquish “approved” survival skills, learned coping skills, fragile self-images with over-sized egos, “well-thought out” and “expectant” plans and self-acquired knowledge to the King who said in Revelation 21 that He would make all things new in Heaven and earth alike. Without faith, it sounds scary enough to fall back on our Old Faithful conditioned responses.

God desires for us to be prosperous in every area of life: spirit, soul, body, finances, relationships, and more. Part of that is the willingness to change our thought-life. Prosperity is not the result of how much God wants it for us, but how much we want it for ourselves, and how willing we are to renew our minds so that we may know and operate in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

The bells are ringing, people. Instead of your conditioned responses . .

Choose to fight the good fight of faith and confess the Word.

Choose the wisdom of God, the power of God, and think accordingly.

Choose to trust in El Elyon, who makes all things new.

Or . . . stand in a pool of your own drool.

~Vickie Bowman



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