The Battle for Our Mind
Greetings Narrow Gate,
I am writing this the day after the elections, 11/4/2020. Nothing decided as of yet. The lawyers on both sides are already moving to take over the process of determining our next President of the United States. One thing is clear to me. We have to source out our own news. Election night was a debacle. In Germany and Russia of the 30s and 40s, the saying was "If you see it in print, it's not the truth". It is that way now with most of our news media (plural, meaning print, TV, online, etc.) Sadly, if you are watching traditional news, you are not getting the truth. You are getting either pure fabrication and propaganda, or a mix of truth and propaganda with just enough truth to make it plausible.
Why am I saying this? Because we all need to be careful. Whether you realize this or not, all of this has become a battlefield. It's not as bad as 2016, it's worse. The prize, is our minds. The battle is for our minds. The battle is between our ears. Be careful, because we can easily be led astray from the path where Christ is leading us. Matthew 7:13-16,
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them."
False prophets abound. Sure there are good people sounding warnings such as mine. But there are others, those who sound similar, those with hidden motives, whose purpose is disinformation. And they are good at it. They are trying to control your thought process, and in many instances, they are doing it.
Our mind should belong to Christ, yet many of us are just as tied to our modern day false idols (things, people and ideas), as were the Israelites two thousand or so years ago. D.L. Moody once said,
"Many a professing Christian hits a stumbling block because their worship is divided. On Sunday they worship God; on weekdays God has little or no place in their thoughts."
Sadly, this describes many of us today. Beware, brothers and sisters. Discern, as you have never discerned before. Do not take headline news at face value anymore. Each of us has got to win our own battle for our own minds.
I have planned, from before my car wreck, to quote extensively from an editorial by the late Rev. Billy Graham, dated 10/2/2007. It is an appropriate, dare I say, necessary read for all of us as believers, at this time in our lives. So, much of what follows is from Rev. Graham, with my thoughts and points of emphasis sprinkled in.
One of the most important things in our lives is the control of our minds. Our thoughts are powerful. They can harm us or do good. The Bible says, "As (a person) thinks, so is he or she (Proverbs 23:7). Now many of us have troubled minds. There is a story in the eighth chapter of Ezekiel about priests and leaders who on the outside were worshiping the true and living God, but who on the inside, in their minds, had idols. They were worshiping other gods and acting out sexual fantasies, and God condemned them as great sinners.
Scripture has several things to say about the mind: First, the Bible says that the mind is naturally at enmity (hostile) with God (Romans 8:7). A person's mind is against God. Paul wrote to the Colossians that before they came to Christ, they were "alienated and enemies in (their) mind" to all things relating to the true knowledge of God. I myself, can testify to this alienation of the mind before I came to my belief in Christ. Such a mind will not obey the law of God. You may say you believe in God, you may say you love God, but you don't obey God. You live like an atheist.
As a pastor, this is of great concern regarding my flocks. Are they believers? Or are they just giving lip service to the Lord. Posers, sadly not believing. Only you can answer this question. We don't just go out and fall in hole with sin in it. We contemplate, plan, and lust after our sins. in other words, we give control of our minds over to the very sin that condemns us.
The works of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5. These, not surprisingly, deal with our mind. When you follow your own wrong mind, your life will produce these evil results, "impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (is all around us, this encourages the work of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group-and there will be wrong doctrine, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties and all that sort of thing (Galatians 5:19-21, TLB). Paul finishes by saying this at the end of verse 21, "I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
This is exactly why I am sounding the alarm. Guard you hearts and your minds.
If you continue without repentance, Scripture tells us that God will eventually give you over to a "reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28) to do those things which are not right and good. The word reprobate carries with it the idea of having been rejected. Let none of us end up here. What a terrible thing it would be to be rejected by God. Remember, there were a great many people who followed Jesus in his day, but the Bible says He saw their hearts, he saw their minds and what they were thinking, and he rejected them. There is a point beyond which none of us can return, where your heart is so hard that you can no longer hear the Holy Spirit. I cannot tell you exactly where this line of demarcation is for the reprobate mind. I can only advise you not tempting anywhere near it. Here your mind is so hardened it becomes reprobate. Do not let this happen to you. I cannot imagine living without the Spirit of God. Stay in tune with God's Spirit. Welcome the Holy Spirit. Have a relationship with the Spirit of God.
Second, the Bible says that you can have a blinded mind. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). In other words when the Gospel is presented, the devil has a veil over your mind. Satan is blinding your mind to spiritual truth. You may know all kinds of disciplines and fields of knowledge. But when it comes to spiritual things, you cannot understand or know anything correctly. You are blinded.
We don't want to believe that this can happen. But it does all the time. I see this at Opportunity House with those who are addicted to many different things. This is why the Holy Spirit has to come and lift the veil. I have heard this so often as a pastor, "I just cannot understand. Even though I've heard this all my life.
I've tried to believe and cannot."
Sadly, this answer indicates something obvious to me. Something in your life is more important than Jesus. I tell you, seriously and tenderly and earnestly, the reason is often because of sin in your life. A secret sin, that you hide from everyone. This secret sin, allows Satan to hold you in his control. This stronghold of Satan is the reason you cannot believe. Because your secret sin is more important to you than Jesus is. You don't want to give up control of your life to Jesus. It would mean giving up those things in your life that the Bible condemns.
Hear me when I say this, it does not mean you can't believe. This just means though, that you have to choose to believe in Jesus yourself. Placing God's will above yours, casting away lusts and idols. Ask Jesus to free you from this bondage to sin and seek forgiveness. Once you do this, your spiritual mind will be unveiled by the Holy Spirit. Your mind then is free.
Third, the Bible talks about the doubtful mind. Jesus said, "And do not...have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after...But seek first, the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you (Luke 12:29-31). In Romans, the Bible says, "He who doubts is condemned" (Romans 14:23).
The Bible warns that a double-minded man or woman is unstable in all their ways (James 1:8). This carries with it the idea of a person who wishes to be secure in both worlds, not giving up the sins of this world, but also not giving up heaven either. God says we can't have it both ways. You can't be forgiven while in the midst of sinning. God says that we cannot have it both ways. The sinning does have to stop.
Fourth, the Bible talks about the defiled mind. Paul wrote to Titus about certain people whose minds are "defiled and unbelieving" (Titus 1:15). Rev. Graham spoke about a religious leader that came to him years ago, and said, "You know, my mind is filled with evil thoughts, lustful thoughts, all the time. What can I do?"
Like I said earlier, people don't fall suddenly into a hole full of sin. The sin bucket of life doesn't suddenly hit us in the head. No, we don't fall into sin suddenly. Before the outward fall, there is the inner rehearsal and preparation. Think about it. This is where Satan, in his most insidious way, specifically woos you to a sin meant just for you. Designed to target you most vulnerable weakness. This appeal from Satan can be difficult to resist.
However, Jesus Christ can cure the mind and the body of this craving of things that destroys our relationships and brings us into bondage to sin. Christ can liberate and change a person's mind.
Ahhh, finally, there is the renewed mind. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed with the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). This means that you renounce the pride, the jealousy and the lusts of your mind and receive Jesus into your heart. Now you allow Christ to control your mind and your heart, your conscience and your will.
How is your mind transformed? By repenting of sin and receiving Jesus into your heart. (Philippians 2:5) tells us, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." The mind of Christ can, through the Holy Spirit, control your mind, your thoughts, your intentions and your actions, if you submit to him daily. You do this through prayer. Stay prayed up.
Join me now, if you will, in this prayer. Father, forgive me for I have sinned. I do love Jesus, and I know that he died on the cross for me and my sins. Because of his death and sacrifice I can have forgiveness of my sins. Forgive me, I do love Jesus and believe in him. Please take this worldly mind and replace it with the mind of Christ. Holy Spirit, you are welcome in and around me, wherever I go. Please break down the strongholds of sin in my life. Free me from my bondage to sin and Satan. Let your priorities be my priorities. Please teach me the truth and help me to understand your word. Please protect me from false prophets and lies of the world. I pray this all in the name of Jesus Christ. Thank you for loving and hearing me.
If you prayed that prayer, you are now free. Your mind is free, you are no longer in bondage, unless you allow it to be so. Now, go and sin no more, and,
Do no harm, do good and stay in love in with God.
and Harmony UMC