Sunday, 23 August 2009
Did you know that we are in a war every day? We see the casualties everywhere — people affected by disease, broken relationships and tragedy. Looking around at all the suffering, we may think the battles in hospitals and divorce courts are being lost. But in reality, we’re losing the advanced and more important conflict — the battle in our minds.
Each day our minds are bombarded with a constant stream of nagging thoughts, suspicions, doubts and fears. While any one of these can cause defeat and devastation, we are often plagued by more than one...filling our daily lives with mental combat against an array of aggressors.
Since we fail to identify the battlefield, we also fail to correctly identify our foe. We tend to believe people, money, religion or “the system” are our problems.
A negative mind will prevent you from living a successful Christian life. Thoughts like worry, fear, despair, insecurities, sadness, anger and guilt are “Mind Monsters” – they are negative invaders of the mind.
Remember, the mind is the battlefield for these daily battles.
"Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind." (Unknown)
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
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. In other words, we actively and aggressively guard our minds to keep our minds focused on what is true and right and pure and excellent and edifying. If our mind begins to drift off course – into paths that are false or impure or anxious or vindictive or negative or self-defeating – then we stop – “I’m not going down that path” – and we change the direction of our thoughts. That’s called repentance – changing our mind – redirecting and refocusing our thoughts on what is true and right and pure.
Don’t be passive with your thought life.
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
The mind is like a garden, which may be cultivated or neglected. An untended garden will grow with and be invaded by unwanted grass and weeds, but if the garden is cultivated, the bad things are weeded out and the good things are nurtured. Recognise any of these weeds?...
• Nobody likes me
• God doesn’t care about me
• I’m a failure
• It’s my fault that my parents got divorced
• I have these vile thoughts because I am a vile person
• God is disgusted with me because of these vile thoughts that enter my mind
• I work so hard to serve God and provide for my family that I’m entitled to a little self -indulgence once in a while
• God doesn’t have my best interests in mind so I need to do what’s right in my own eyes
• This sexual relationship won’t harm anyone and how can it be wrong if we really love each other?
• Our marriage and family problems are all my spouse’s fault
• I cannot trust God to be there for me when I need Him the most
• God wouldn’t have allowed this to happen to me if He really loved me
• Nothing good ever happens to me
• I must get even with that person who hurt me so deeply
• I’m entitled to hold on to my anger and resentment because that person hurt me so deeply
• I’m trapped in a hopeless situation
• I would be better off dead – and so would those I love
• God could never forgive me for what I have done
• I am who I am and will never change
Lies – lies – all lies
Some practical ways forward…
1. Recognize Mind Monsters
Mind Monsters come unannounced into our minds using our reasoning and rationale as their voice. They enter through the same way as knowledge, intelligence and wisdom, but they are the destructive enemies of a healthy, blessed and prosperous life. Not all your thoughts are yours – some are lies planted by the devil. The First Step is to recognize those lies for what they are – they are not just a normal and natural part of your thinking process – they are LIES
a. Recognize the effect of our internal dialogue.
Are we confused, angry, discouraged? Are we judgmental or critical? Do we worry what others think or always assume the worst?
b. Pay attention to our moods.
Feelings come from thoughts and thoughts originate in the mind. Look out for feelings of self-pity, hopelessness, despair and sadness.
c. Pay attention to our conversations.
Mind monsters reveal themselves through our conversations. There’s an interesting characteristic of the devil described in John 8:44, “When he (the devil) lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In our conversations, mind monsters are lies that hold us back, put limits on us, and keep us from living a life of faith.
2. Reject (and Rebuke)Mind Monsters
We cannot have a positive life with a negative mind. Our lives will be defined by the thoughts we accept or reject.
a. Commit to a P4-8 standard for your thoughts.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think on these things.
Just like deleting unwanted e-mails, we can choose to “delete” or not dwell on thoughts that are not noble, admirable or excellent.
b. Set up a border patrol to guard your mind.
Just as our national security protects the borders of our country because we recognize the effects of damage to our nation's security, peace and prosperity, we should protect the borders of our minds. Any old thought is just not good enough, we have to recognize and reject negativity.
3. Replace Mind Monsters
In Jesus’ most famous message ‘the sermon on the mount,’ he had six “you have heard, but I say to you,” points (Matthew 5:21-48). He was telling his listeners that he wanted them to replace the thoughts they acquired from other sources with a better way of thinking. The same is true for us. We need to replace those negative invaders of our mind with new and positive thoughts.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God wants to help us replace an “I can’t help it” mentality with an “I can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13) mentality. He wants us to replace a fearful mind with a sound mind. God wants to help us replace a confused mind with a mind of clarity. He wants us to replace an anxious mind with a mind of peace.
Our minds are like parking lots. Throughout our lifetime, opinions and perspectives have come in and parked in the parking lot of our mind. Recognizing, rejecting, and replacing means we start freeing up the space and park better thoughts in those spaces.
4. Retrain Our Minds
Once we allow our mind to think in a certain way it will automatically, habitually think that way until we retrain it. Like a horse on a racing track that goes down the same path over and over again, our thoughts can cause grooves in our minds with repetitious, instinctive thinking.
The Bible talks about newness, change, and transformation many times.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
We can use our mouths and minds together to retrain our automated thought life. Replace anger, criticism and negativity with positive, thankful thoughts and words.
For example, …
If we keep our minds free of negative emotions like envy, worry, malice, criticism, judgment or self-doubt, we can allow our souls to prosper.
The Next Step…
As you begin to claim your mind back from the enemy (through recognise, reject, replace & retrain), he will not want to give up the place that he has had. You will have to do battle with his lies and confusion.
Your first step is to declare out loud that you will not allow any outside force to do your thinking–no man and no spirit. "If you don’t control your mind, someone else will." ~ John Allston There are spiritual laws that demons must obey. Your power is in the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, and the Word of God. Ask God to give you discernment of the lies of the devil.
Think about what you are thinking about. As you recognize a lie to your mind, always defend yourself out loud. That means speaking to Satan and the evil forces out loud, binding them in the Name of Jesus, and forbidding them to lie to you and to use your mind.
When you catch a lie to your mind, use this prescription regularly–and you will regain peace, your memory, restful nights, and the ability to concentrate and comprehend.
You are in a battle–you are not alone–for all of God’s people fight this same fight (Ephesians 6:12). Make up your mind not to give up! According to Colossians 3:2, set your mind on things above and keep it set! As you begin this battle, it will seem worse than ever. The reason is that the demonic powers are fighting to keep their place in your mind (and in your thinking).
Remember, regaining your mind is a process. Don’t give up! Continue claiming what belongs to you (your mind and your thinking belong to you), and Jesus will help you overcome.
Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind!”
“Let the mind of the master be the master of your mind.”