We have an expression in English, “Are you out of your mind?”

When someone has done something ridiculously foolish, you ask them in jest, “Are you out of your mind?”

When someone has done something really annoying that you think is ill-advised  and uncalled for, you ask them in anger or in a derogatory manner, “Are you out of your mind?”

What does this expression mean?  If you say that someone is out of their mind, you mean that they are mad or very foolish. They have lost control of their mental faculties and reasoning ability to act in what we deem normal behaviour.

So, what is normal behaviour?  How can this be described?  It all depends on what perspective you are looking at it from. Normal behaviour for a worldly person is contrary to what a true Christian would view as normal behaviour.

From a worldly perspective, the extreme normal behaviour is living and doing anything and everything for self. Doing what makes you happy. Not worrying so much about others around you, unless it is to your advantage and happiness. You are in a marriage so that your spouse can make you happy. You try to find a job that makes you a lot of money so that you can heap to yourselves material wealth.

From a Christian perspective, normal behaviour is the opposite. It is living for others. Denying oneself for the good of others, and serving God above serving self, regardless of the self-denial involved.

Both sides claim that their normal behavior results in the ultimate happiness.  Both sides see the other side as unnatural behaviour—they are out of their mind.

So, who is in their right mind?  Who is out of their mind? The Apostle Paul wrote, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” 1 Corinthians 1:27. Clearly, each opposing side looks at the other side as foolish.

You could argue that we all are essentially out of our own minds because we are either servants of God, or slaves of Satan. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24

When we read this text, there are two masters mentioned.  What if we do not serve either? Is there a third or fourth option? Or do we simply not serve anyone, but only ourselves? The truth is that there are only two options and we are serving one or the other. There is no middle ground.

“It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 324

This quote clearly states, you are under the control of one or the other. There are two masters vying to control your mind, and you decide who will be the controlling influence in your life.  “The spirits of darkness will battle for the soul once under their dominion, but angels of God will contend for that soul with prevailing power.” –Ibid., p. 259

You can ask any Christian and they will say that they have chosen to follow Jesus.  However, if you look at the Christian world, there are hundreds of Christian churches, all claiming to serve Jesus, but in a slightly different manner. There are many different roads to heaven, they argue. There are a variety of standards to suit any lifestyle. However, there is only one lifestyle that Jesus approves of. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” John 14:6. There is only one way that leads to Paradise. Many call themselves Christian, thinking they are in their right mind when the church they adhere to is teaching and preaching error. They are deceiving themselves. They may not be in their right mind and they do not realize it.

We all know this—so now, what about in God’s church?  We have been blessed with a great knowledge of the Bible—its doctrines, prophecies, and requirements for salvation. Will this save us? Does this mean that we are guaranteed a place in heaven? Knowledge alone will not save us. How seriously do you live up to all the standards of the church, including Sabbath-keeping, Health and Dress reform? The Apostle Paul wrote, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that He may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16

Contemplate on this thought for a minute—“the mind of Christ.” We have the mind of Christ? Who is Christ? Is He not sitting on a throne in heaven beside His Father? Is He not King of Kings, and Lord of Lords? Our Saviour, Mediator, Redeemer?  And yet we sinners are to “have the mind of Christ.”

“Christ must be all in all to us, He must dwell in the heart, His life must circulate through us as the blood circulates through the veins.” –The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, p. 1144

Are we out of our mind? Out of our own mind? Yes, in a real sense, but not out of our mind in the way that the world views Christianity. We are told to have the mind of Christ.  I now ask, what does your mind do? What is its purpose?  It rules your entire life—body, soul and spirit. “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

The world is ruled by the prince of darkness and he controls their minds. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. The carnal mind is wholly incapable of submitting to the law of God. Only by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit is obedience made possible. The mind must be changed in order for the life to be changed. We must move from the worldly mind into the mind of Christ.

The demoniacs in the time of Christ were very obviously out of their mind, and only Jesus could facilitate the change that was made in their minds. (Matthew 8:28–34). Jesus only can facilitate any change in our lives if we desire a change.

“When Christ revealed to Peter the time of trial and suffering that was just before Him, and Peter replied, ‘Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee’ (Matthew 16:22), the Saviour commanded, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan’ (Matthew 16:23). Satan was speaking through Peter, making him act the part of the tempter. Satan’s presence was unsuspected by Peter, but Christ could detect the presence of the deceiver, and in His rebuke to Peter He addressed the real foe.” –Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 353. Did Peter have the mind of Christ on this occasion? No, he did not. Jesus simply could have responded, “Peter, are you out of your mind?” But He said, “Get thee behind Me, Satan.” Peter acted out of his mind, not realizing what he was saying. Who was influencing his words?

If you have the mind of Christ, you would do what Jesus does, every moment of your life. You would value the time given you. You would speak what Christ speaks, think as He thinks (no anger or resentment or foolish thoughts). You would act as He does, eat what He does, and dress as He would, and so on.

Now, I want to tie in the concept of hypnosis here. Many of us are familiar with the term “hypnotism” and are aware that its use originates from the powers of darkness. In the world they try to show the positive side of what hypnotism really can accomplish.

The basic definition of hypnotism is one mind controlling another mind. When you are hypnotized you are truly out of your mind and are controlled by someone else (not Christ). You become vulnerable to the suggestions made by the hypnotist. Sometimes it has been used for medicine and psychology for the purposes of recovering repressed memories, for modifying or eliminating undesirable behaviour (for example, treating certain chronic disorders, such as anxiety). The person in these cases willingly permit themselves to be hypnotized. “Hypnotic treatments are among a number of nonbiomedically-focused treatments that have been shown to result in significant reductions in pain and improvement in overall quality of life in persons with acute and chronic pain.”   https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198570097.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780198570097-e-020#oxfordhb-9780198570097-appendix-001

Sounds good, does it not?

Then why do we believe it to be Satanic if it has good results? Why did Jesus say through His servant, Ellen G. White, that we should stay away from hypnotism?

“There is, however, a form of mind cure that is one of the most effective agencies for evil. Through this so-called science, one mind is brought under the control of another so that the individuality of the weaker is merged in that of the stronger mind. One person acts out the will of another. Thus it is claimed that the tenor of the thoughts may be changed, that health-giving impulses may be imparted

and patients may be enabled to resist and overcome disease.” –Mind Character and Personality, vol. 2, p. 705

Here is one of Satan’s greatest successful tools. Clothing his dark deeds in a robe of light. It looks good on the outside, but inside it is evil. The greatest achievement that Satan has acquired is the science of controlling the mind of a person.

It is called science because it is something that has been tested and tried through experimentation. Satan has very much studied the human mind. For over 6000 years he has studied it and he has become an expert in the science of controlling people’s minds. He has used hypnosis very subtly and successfully.  “For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days, he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women, that none but his voice will be heard.” –Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 352–353

“The theory of mind controlling mind is originated by Satan to introduce himself as the chief worker, to put human philosophy where divine philosophy should be.” –Mind Character and Personality, vol. 2, p. 713

Satan has hypnotized the vast majority of the population of this earth today and they know it not, whether in the world or in a church. He initially hypnotized one third of the angels in heaven. “We are not to tamper with mesmerism and hypnotism–the science of the one who lost his first estate and was cast out of the heavenly courts.” –Medical Ministry, p. 110–111. He then was cast out onto this earth and he continued his work here.  “Satan tempted the first Adam in Eden, and Adam reasoned with the enemy, thus giving him the advantage. Satan exercised his power of hypnotism over Adam and Eve, and this power he strove to exercise over Christ. But after the word of Scripture was quoted, Satan knew that he had no chance of triumphing.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 190

If you have the mind of Christ, you cannot be hypnotized by the devil. An experienced hypnotist (mesmerist) tried to hypnotize Ellen G. White around the year 1845. He claimed he could do so and cause her to have a vision. She stated, “I told him that the Lord had shown me in vision that mesmerism was from the devil, from the bottomless pit, and that it would soon go there, with those who continued to use it. I then gave him liberty to mesmerize me if he could. He tried for more than half an hour, resorting to different operations, and then gave it up. By faith in God I was able to resist his influence, so that it did not affect me in the least.” –Early Writings, p. 21

“Satanic agencies are clothing false theories in an attractive garb, even as Satan in the Garden of Eden concealed his identity from our first parents by speaking through the serpent. These agencies are instilling into human minds that which in reality is deadly error. The hypnotic influence of Satan will rest upon those who turn from the plain word of God to pleasing fables.” –Counsels for the Church, p. 324

“It is not by force that Satan takes possession of the human mind. While men sleep, the enemy sows tares in the church. While men are spiritually sleeping, the enemy accomplishes his work of iniquity. It is when his subject ‘understandeth it not’ (Matthew 13:19) that he catcheth away the good seed sown in the heart. When men and women are in this condition, when their spiritual life is not being constantly fed by the Spirit of God, Satan can imbue them with his spirit, and lead them to work his works.” –Ibid., p. 353

Our only safety is: “The Word of God is to be our teacher. If we read this Word carefully and prayerfully, with an earnest desire to understand, we shall be enabled to comprehend the will of God and the doctrine of truth. We shall never become lost in the fog of skepticism or hypnotism.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, p. 129

Satan will keep trying to control the minds of more and more people as the end draws near. “The experience of the past will be repeated. In the future, Satan’s superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.” –Counsels for the Church, p. 323

So you think that you are serving God and because you are a member of God’s church you are not in danger of being hypnotized by the prince of darkness? You have the mind of Christ and not of the devil? Adam and Eve thought so, however, Eve was hypnotized by the sophistry of the devil who was disguised as a beautiful animal. Satan also spoke through Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples.

Be careful.  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 1 Corinthians 11:13–15

Satan has his greatest success with false religious organizations as opposed to open opposition from the world. What he has found as a very useful tool is the use of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP is a way of changing someone’s thoughts and behaviours to help achieve desired outcomes for them without the person realizing that you have made them change their mind. It is a very subtle form of hypnotism and it is widely used today.

“The popularity of neuro-linguistic programming or NLP has become widespread since it started in the 1970s. Its uses include treatment of phobias and anxiety disorders and improvement of workplace performance or personal happiness.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320368.php

NLP is hypnosis. It is used in the medical field, but it is also widely used in seminars. Some multi-level organizations use this tool successfully. After you have attended one of their meetings you feel compelled to buy into the organization. It seems so good. It is also used in many business circles to bring a desired outcome and hypnotize the minds of the hearers to the speaker’s way of thinking.

“Specifically, neuro-linguistic programming is a form of vocal and gestural hypnotism that is used by some public speakers—politicians, for example. In such a context, neuro-linguistic programming is used to psychologically manipulate the listener without his or her knowledge. . . . Neuro-linguistic programming leverages factors such as tone of voice, vocal modulation, pacing, leading, and anchoring to implant a suggestion directly into the subconscious, bypassing the critical thinking factors of the conscious mind. . . . The ‘effectiveness’ and ‘success’ of neuro-linguistic programming comes from the practitioner’s ability to implant suggestions directly into the recipient’s subconscious mind.” https://www.gotquestions.org/neuro-linguistic-programming-NLP.html

Scary, isn’t it?  You can be hypnotized unknowingly. And some religious bodies do use it. An article has been written about this very subject. “The purpose of this paper is to present Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), describing its origins, development and principles, and to demonstrate how this method can be used in Religious Education in order to foster and facilitate the teaching-learning process.” https://religiouseducation.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/RIG1.2-Ibarra.pdf

Is it any wonder that Ellen White wrote the following testimony? “I was shown the necessity of those who believe that we are having the last message of mercy, being separate from those who are daily imbibing new errors. I saw that neither young nor old should attend their meetings; . . . The influence of such gatherings is not good. . . . God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels; and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness.” –Early Writings, p. 124–125.  There is great danger that the mind of the evil one will control us at those meetings.

It is very true that many religious organizations use NLP, including Adventist churches. If you attend a fallen church and feel that all is well – the message is wonderful and you were so blessed that you want to continue attending, be careful. You may be being hypnotized by the preacher.  “Many apparently good things will need to be carefully considered with much prayer, for they are specious devices of the enemy to lead souls in a path which lies so close to the path of truth that it will be scarcely distinguishable from it. But the eye of faith may discern that it is diverging, though almost imperceptibly, from the right path.” –Evangelism, p. 590

NLP can be used also to manage your inner self. This is how Satan is deceiving the non-religious people. The claim is that the answer to all life’s problems is within yourself, you just have to discover the way your mind works and learn how to tap into its resources.

Are you out of your mind? I hope that we can all say that we have the mind of Christ, so that we will not be hypnotized by the powers of darkness and have the mind of the evil one. “Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” James 4:7–8

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5–8 Amen.

Wendy Eaton