We are all being conditioned by something or someone. None of us are immune from this process. The conditioning will either take place by the Spirit of God or the spirit of the age. Most people never stop long enough to unpack this reality and go on living allowing the stimulus of the world to produce responses without discerning the reasons why. Take for example our last presidential election. Many people were conditioned to respond to the prepared images of the candidates associating those images with a whole host of emotions powerful enough to alter a measured and thoughtful response.
In the Introduction to Psychology class during my freshman year in college, I learned the basics of what is called Behavioral Psychology. I learned how the behavior of animals or humans can be conditioned and modified over time by introducing stimuli that will bring about the desired response. Ad agencies do this all the time with product placement.
Think of Pavlov’s dog salivating when seeing the person who was bringing food into the lab. The food was not yet presented, only the person who would produce the food itself. In one experiment, a boy was conditioned to respond in fear to the presence of a white rat. Initially, the boy did not fear the white rat. The presence of the rat was associated with loud and strange noises. As a result, the boy then became afraid of the rat and other white fuzzy objects.
What are the white fuzzy objects dangling before our eyes at this moment in history? The images or events impacting our lives that are not sponsored or empowered by the Holy Spirit are present to condition our response to life in a way contrary to the will of God.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins