We may not have grown up in a war-torn land or actively participated in war as professional soldiers, but every day we go to war as Christians.
There is an invisible battle raging around you, and in you, every moment of every day. This war is intense, it’s violent, it’s constant and it’s unrelenting. It’s the battle for your mind. There are no ‘fair play ‘rules in this battle. The enemy doesn’t ever play by the rules. There are no ‘time outs’ in this battle. This is a full blown, continual, violent offensive against your mind. The enemy is intent on winning! He wants to win the battle for your mind so that he can keep you focused on everything else except the mandate and mission God has called you too. He wants to bind you up; he wants to disconnect you from God; he wants to rob you of the fullness of life available to you.
Remember this, if nothing else: whoever gets your mind gets you! And that’s why it’s imperative that you win the battle. We need to learn to guard, strengthen and renew our minds; because the battle for our mind’s is raging hot, every moment of every day.
Which brings to mind a very important and powerful verse of scripture, essential for this war we’re in:
2 Cor 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)
Here Paul encourages us here to fight against our enemy, the devil, with spiritual weapons. The enemy is intent on creating strongholds in our minds that causing blockages between us and God. The devil is committed to ensuring we don’t hear from God and don’t connect meaningfully with God.
A stronghold is simply a blockage. It’s something that creates a barrier between us and God. In this context, it’s a mental block. It’s created to disrupt the life of God in us. This mental block can be a world view that infects and affects our view on things. It could be materialism, secularism, agnosticism, atheism, amoralism and all the other ‘ism’ words that set up blockages to the knowledge of God in our lives.
But a stronghold can also be attitudes or emotions that become stronger than God in our lives. Things like worry, anxiety, fear, guilt, resentment, unforgiveness, insecurity to name but a few. These create strongholds in our minds that need to be torn down if we are going to be able to hear God and connect with Him intimately and deeply.
But how do we tear down strongholds in the mind? How do we become the victors in this war and not the victims? A clue is found in the very last sentence of that verse. We have to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” To take captive means that we are to bring it into submission to, to take control and conquer it. But as Christians we don’t do this on our own or in our own strength; we do it in and through Christ. That’s the amazing thing, we don’t face this enemy alone – not ever. Which means, we don’t need to ever fear our enemy; because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
You and I can guard our minds in two simple ways:
1) By Talking To God.
Talk to God about everything. Pray without ceasing. Be honest with God and ask for His help. He hears your cries and moves on your behalf (1 John 5:14-15; Ps 55:22; Micah 7:7).
2) By focussing and fixing our thoughts on Jesus and His truth.
That’s what Hebrews 3:1 and Philippians 4:8 encourage us to do. Remember, where you look is where you end up.
Practically how would that be worked out in our daily lives?
Don’t believe everything that comes into your mind. Recognise whose voice is speaking. Recognise a lie and reject it completely.
Guard what you are feeding your mind with. Remember garbage in garbage out. What you put in is what will come out.
Use the truth of God’s Word to cancel out an untruth. Use prophecies, Scriptures and encouragements God has spoken to you to replace every single lie. Done consistently, you cancel its power over you.
Be humble. Humility is actively positioning yourself to learn from God and receive from God, because you recognise you haven’t got what it takes.
Be teachable and willing to learn a new and better way. Put on the mind of Christ; start trying to think a different way, the way of Christ. Listen to His voice. He will lead and guide you along the way.
Be patient and gracious with yourself. You will win some battles and lose others but eventually, as you diligently guard your mind, you will win the war.
Don’t be afraid of the enemy and don’t give him power over you. The Bible says, “stand firm and when you have done all to stand, keep standing.” (Eph 6:13). As we do our part, God steps in and He does His part. If we are diligent in doing all of this and if we practice these things as a daily pattern, we will renew our minds and retrain our thinking. We will move from being victims to being victors. We will be over-comers who live victorious lives.