Spiritual Warfare Series Part 2
The mind is one of the most powerful instruments we have available at our disposable. Think about the possibilities of the things that can occur when we put our mind to something: from solving complex scientific formulas to surviving chaotic environments, the mind holds tremendous value to our personal growth, and for the collective growth of humanity.
Our mind carries the ability to change the world with thoughts, ideas, and strategies to make it a better place. Oh, how I wish that such power could always be used for good!
As Christ followers, we know that we have an enemy – Satan – who wants to gain the upper hand on God and despises anything created in the image of God – us. To counter the things of God, Satan’s primary strategy is to influence humanity to turn away from the Father goodness, reject Jesus as the Son of God, and live life without an understanding of the Holy Spirit’s personhood and power. In fact, Satan dominant weapon is influence – pursuing, persuading, and ultimately attempting to convince each person to take further steps away from God.
Satan knows humanity so well since he has been around for a long, long time. The enemy and his minions are “…prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 4:8). Unfortunately, he knows our weaknesses, our struggles, and our propensities towards certain sins to cause us to stumble and fall. The one avenue that he will come against us and sadly, has had the most success in his attacks against us is, you can guess it – the mind.
Why the mind?
The mind controls the thoughts and emotions that can lead to actions or lack thereof. Think about it: when you put ‘your mind to something’, that means it gets done! That is the power of the mind! Your adversary also knows that if he can influence your thinking towards an area, he can gain territory for his agenda. If enough influence has worked its way to convince you to change your mindset, this leads to a stronghold which is difficult to tear down.
Romans 12:2 says this, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Why does it matter that I do not conform to this world? The answer: the god of this world is Satan. He will use his tactic of influence to have you think that you can have the best of ‘both worlds’ – Christ and the culture that is contrary to God. He will attempt to justify your spiritual walk of lukewarmness as being ‘relevant’, thus diminishing a boldness for the Gospel. He will try to convince you that the world is ‘not that bad’, and how it is likely exaggerated by ‘hardcore Christians.’ However, His Word says differently:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17
We should do what we can to not be influenced by the world and it’s schemes because we know the source of where it comes from. Thank God we have the Holy Spirit and we can ask for discernment about what areas in our lives that we may need some adjusting! Let’s take a look at Romans 12:2 again:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
You might be thinking… “Okay, how do I have a transformed mind?” Great question!
This requires a ‘both’ ‘and’ sequence. It’s not enough to stop doing the ‘bad’ stuff. That would be like emptying out a bottle of filth, which is good, but only half of what needs to be done. If that’s all you do, then you’d have an empty bottle, and not filled. As a result, you’d be striving to stop sinning, much like the Pharisees did, and they were empty on the inside. You need to be filled up with the Spirit of God! “From [your] inmost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). Therefore, we don’t resist Satan in our own strength and we do not force our own will to stop sinning – we submit to the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness and He fills us up.
For example, let’s take an addiction – whether substance abuse or a habitual critical thought about oneself – both have addicting qualities don’t they?
- First, you relinquish the need to control the situation – give it to God (Romans 8:26-27)
- Second, you step away from that what can be influencing you towards that addictive quality – being around peers who might mislead you, being alone at times when temptation is at it’s highest, or focusing on those negative, misleading, and critical thoughts.
- Third, you renew your mind – that is, focus on that which is life-giving, godly, and encouraging. What you put your mind towards is what you will begin to focus on! Paul exhorts each of us to focus our minds on, “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 about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
- Fourth, as you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this process, the result is transformation in that area of your life. Now, this is the fun part – the transformation is not done by you, but by God! Let me explain: the Greek word for transformation is ‘metamorphoō,’ where we get our word for ‘metamorphosis’. The word is also in the passive tense. What does this mean? That means we cannot actively ‘make’ ourselves be transformed… no, it happens TO US. This passive verb indicates that it is the Holy Spirit that will transform us as we follow the steps above. He is passionate about us being transformed – like a caterpillar to a butterfly, a completely new creature – the old to a brand new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s incredible!
There is so much more to say on the battle of the mind, so I may need to continue this particular article in an expanded section. Until then, there is much here that has been discussed and more importantly, can be used for our benefit to living a life extraordinary. We all face issues and difficulties in this life, so what is something that you want to give to the Lord right now? What area in the mind has the enemy gained ground by his influence? I’d suggest following through the steps listed above and praying through this each day. You’ll find as you surrender and submit to what the Word says, Satan will flee (James 4:7) and you’ll walk in more authority, freedom, and joy, which is exactly what Christ wants for you!