Inception Part 1: Are Your Thoughts Defining You or Destroying You?

An idea is a powerful thing. One idea planted deep inside of you can alter the course of your life…

Every year my church does a series called “God in the Movies”, where we look for elements of truth – God’s truth – in the stories around us. This year I got to preach on one of my favourite films of all time – INCEPTION.

And one of the most powerful lines of the film goes like this: “Ideas are resilient – highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold in the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate. A person can cover it up, ignore it – but it stays there. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – can grow to either define you or destroy you!”

And the truth is many of us believe lies and thoughts about ourselves and about God that will ultimately destroy us. Becaue how we think and what we believe will always shape how we act and how we live. Every time.

And so…

  • If we believe that when every time something bad happens to us, it’s because God is punishing us – then we will never learn to trust God has our father.
  • If we believe that we have to have answers to every question and understand everything about God, that only when there is no more mystery left, can we put our trust in Him, then we will never ever find faith and peace.
  • If we believe that God heals all illnesses, then we will live with a deep-seated sense of disappointment with God when he lets us down.
  • If we believe that we get to heaven based on our own merit, then we will spend our life running around trying to figure out how much is enough, and I believe we will be deeply disappointed at the end of our life when we realise it was never about what we do, but rather what Christ has done for us.
  • And if we believe that there are things in our lives that we have done that are just too terrible, that God could never ever forgive us, then we will never find forgiveness and we will live in a constant state of guilt.

Every time we choose to ignore the truth about who God is or who He says we are – we pay a price. 

So what lies are you believing that are holding you back and keeping you captive?

12 Replies to “Inception Part 1: Are Your Thoughts Defining You or Destroying You?”

  1. Great post Tom. Was good to see your take on the film. I like the idea about how believing a lie actually defines you and I liked your application of this as you explored the different lies people believe (both in your blog and your video sermon).

    Just one thing that perhaps you could comment on – you essentially make the statement that God doesn’t heal all illnesses. Is this based purely on experience, or is it informed by Scripture?


  2. Hey Epochist

    Thanks for reading and your comments. Your blog inspired me! 🙂

    I think my statement re healing is based on both scripture and experience. From my perspective, as you look through the Old Testament we see many instances where God appears absent in response to prayer or petition. Sometimes he chooses to answer requests for victory in battle, deliverance from enemies etc, and other times he seemingly does not respond. As I read I am often frustrated with God’s seemingly unfair response. To some he grants incredible grace and mercy and intervenes supernaturally, and to others, he punishes or allows them to suffer dire consequences. To some he answers immediately, to others, he is silent.

    In the New Testament, while we certainly see Jesus healing many, he does not heal everyone in need. In John 5 for instance, Jesus approaches a CROWD of sick people, and yet chooses to heal only one. Why is that? Why does he not heal the others?

    A few years ago we had a young boy at our church who, at the age of 9, had cancer. His parents were devout followers of Christ and together with the entire church community we all prayed for his healing in faith. We had prayer-chains, small groups gathered for prayer – we held church-wide prayer services etc etc, and we all believed in faith that he would be healed. Sadly, he past away.

    On the other hand, I have been witness to times when God has intervened in powerful and supernatural ways to heal. Just this April we had a girl who prayed for her leg-length discrepancy to go away and right before our eyes her leg grew! She now no longer has to wear orthotics!

    Amazing! But also confusing…

    Why does God choose to heal this seemingly less important or crucial problem, and not to heal a sick little boy from cancer? Do I believe God heals today? ABSOLUTELY. Does he heal everyone? – in my experience no.

    The answer for this is… I HAVE NO IDEA.

    From what I see in scripture and from my own personal experience it seems God decides how, and where and with whom he responds. Sometimes he chooses to act supernaturally, other times he asks us to be his hands and feet.


    We can become bitter and angry with God when he does not heal, or we can choose to have faith and trust that he IS in control, and that He knows best…

    WOW… that response was a lot longer than i anticipated… sorry. hope it helps clarify a bit…


  3. Hey Tom,

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to respond as you have – I really do appreciate it.

    I think we would differ on a few points. While I understand and agree with everything you have said (and praise God for the healing you spoke about!), one thing I cannot get around is how every single person that asked Jesus for healing got healed. Even some people who didn’t ask (like the guy at the pool of Bethesda you mentioned). It is striking that not a single person who asked failed to receive.

    How do you understand this?


    1. Thats a great question – and one if feel inadequate to answer.

      Of course, we know that Jesus healing was always for a greater and deeper purpose than simply physical healing. It was always a way to point people towards Himself / the Father…

      He says in Matt 9: “Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

      It seems to my mind that Jesus is more concerned with our inner healing than our physical, but often uses physical healing as a way to draw people into the Kingdom.

      Perhaps, some are not healed today because of sinful issues they may have or a lack of faith? (While I believe this may be the case for many, it is often abused by churches today and creates a hierarchy of guilt).

      Perhaps Jesus says “no” now for a greater “yes” later (Goldingray), knowing that physical healing may not be the best way to bring about spiritual transformation at that time in that moment?? I don’t know.

      Perhaps the Gospel accounts only tell of the times when Jesus healed, not when he chose not to??

      For me, I think we are on the same page ontologically – God is a God who heals. It is the economic reality I find myself in that I wrestle with. I believe he heals, but my experience says sometimes he doesn’t.

      Ontologically I am one with my wife, but economically we are still two different people. I think the key is that we strive to move from the economic to the ontological.

      Similarly with healing, we need to move in that direction. That is, we continue to put out trust in a God who promises healing, and ask in faith (and with an open hand) that that happens in our physical reality…

      Again, just random thoughts straight from my skull with no real deep theological reflection… perhaps I have missed something…


      1. Thanks again for your response Tom.

        I was struck by what you said: “Of course, we know that Jesus healing was always for a greater and deeper purpose than simply physical healing. It was always a way to point people towards Himself / the Father…” Your comment got me thinking – was it always for a deeper and greater purpose? If we go back to the example of Jesus healing the guy at the pool of Bethesda, it amazes me that Jesus doesn’t even tell this guy who He was. It is almost like Jesus was OK with just doing good to people and loving them without necessarily having a deeper motive. Of course the problem with what I am saying is if it gets taken to an extreme (or is taken as an EXCLUSIVE position) is that the Gospel will not be preached and people will go to Hell without sickness and in good health. Not good.

        “Perhaps, some are not healed today because of sinful issues they may have or a lack of faith?” I think you are right. This really starts to get at the heart of what I believe about this issue – that the problem is not on God’s side, but it is on our side. This position is open to abuse as you say, but Jesus didn’t seem to have a problem telling His disciples “it’s because you don’t have enough faith.”

        I think the gap between ontology and economy is a painful place to live, and I am wary about making a way to be comfortable with this gap. Somehow we need to trust God to raise our level of experience up to His level which He demonstrated in which all were healed.


      2. Thanks again for your response. This is great dialogue.

        I still maintain that healing was always for a deeper purpose – even in the Bethesda case, though Jesus doesn’t directly tell the man who He is, it later opens him up to a conversation where he tells the man to “stop sinning” (John 5:14). Also, because of this man’s testimony a dialogue is opened up with the Pharisees, and in the end all these things are fulfilled to point people towards the Kingdom of God….

        I agree completely with you that we should never be comfortable in the gap between economy and ontology, and that many times the problem is on our end, but I really have seen this done so badly that it has actually pushed people further from God, not drawn the, closer… For example, I once heard a “christian” women say to a mother at her son’s funeral that the reason her son died was because she did not have enough faith!! For me this is atrocious and in no way “close to the kingdom” or to Jesus’ example, even though he may have used the same phrase…

        Even if it were true, how could this possibly be a helpful way to show her God or point her towards faith?

        I’m not trying to belligerent, i just have some honest questions i’d love to hear from you…

        Have you ever prayed for someone and not had them healed?

        Do you believe that when healing did not occur, it was solely because of an issue on that person’s side?

        How do you explain Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” or Moses’ “stutter” or any other physical weakness of great men of faith whom God seemingly did not heal? Did they not ask? Or was it something in them that prevented God from working? If Paul was not healed, who has a chance these days if we are the sole determining factor?

        Please here me, my tone is in no way sarcastic or antagonistic, i really just am interested…


  4. Hey Tom,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while.
    First of all I have to say that the only ones I read I really loved them.
    Second, just wanna say to you: please don’t stop talking about these difficult themes. I appreciate a lot when I see someone else is thinking in the same way as me.

    In my next post I wanna talk about “boys and girls with síndrome de DOWN” (I don’t know how to say in english) and the abort. Could you please give me some advice?

    Thank you!


  5. Hi Tom ,
    I was searching for a movie , when this link appeared to me.
    I would like to say that i’ve already seen your video and for me , it was awesome !.
    Sadly here in my country (Uruguay) there aren’t churches like the ones you have. It’s vital to have somewhere to pray and to hear the true word of God. Because of this , our citizens are lost.
    Please ! continue teaching and spreading God’s word as you do now .
    It’s important to have people , which are inspired by God , to help other to understand !


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