Return to the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.
The very first thing to understand and acknowledge is that our mind is a battle ground between good and evil. Before we got to know our Lord Jesus personally, this was never an issue. We just did whatever came to our mind. We decided what was right and what was wrong. Some of the things that we thought didn’t harm anyone, we didn’t consider wrong and did it simply to satisfy ourselves. For eg: Drinking, smoking, watching obscene movies, etc. But as soon as we came to know our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, suddenly there arose a battle in our minds. The things we once considered harmless and okay to indulge in has now become a conviction in our hearts because it contradicts with our new nature in Christ. A battle has begun in our minds. Who wins in your battle? Is it you or is it the enemy? In most cases, you win sometimes and at other times, the enemy wins. In some Christian’s lives, the enemy still wins most times.
The very first thing to acknowledge is that our mind is indeed a battle ground for us Christians.
This is what Paul addressed in 2 Cor 10:4-5 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,..”
As we continue our lives in this world and go about our day to day affairs, there is an invisible battle going on around us that is not directly associated with our day to day affairs. Most of us are unaware of this battle and quite ignorant about it. The things we see on our way to work such as hoardings, billboards, images and pictures, the things we hear at home, on TV, colleagues talking to each other and to us and random thoughts that come into our minds very quickly and disappear just as quickly. These things subconsciously inserts thoughts into us and disturbs our mental peace. There is an everyday battle in our minds between good and evil. God has given us all we need to always be victorious in these battles, but we have to “engage” in that battle. Most of us simply pray and ask God to take away the thoughts and wait for a miracle to happen. But God wants us to stop being childlike and grow into mature sons and daughters. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. No weapon formed against us can prosper. He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world. There is absolutely nothing we lack to walk in victory every single time. But we have to “engage” in the battle and win. This is why you might have noticed that in your walk with God, there are some areas of your weakness God never takes away. He expects you to win over it by yourself and He says “My grace is sufficient for you”.
Paul asked God to take away a thorn from his flesh which was a messenger of Satan sent to constantly buffet him, but God said in 2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”.
No one is born saved. When any person gets saved, there are multiple strongholds in their minds. Not a single person has a pure mind immediately after getting saved. A mental stronghold is a fortress the devil uses to establish his position so he can control our lives. Examples of mental strongholds are fear, jealousy, anger, lust, depression, worry, low self-esteem, etc. These are strong holds hard to break free from because they are “thoughts” and not a physical enemy. The devil knows each one’s weaknesses and uses these thoughts to establish his dominance over your life.
A bondage is nothing but a house of thoughts. Every bondage in a Christian’s life; be it drinking problems, lust problems, smoking problems, always being worried and fearful, having low self-esteem, being depressed, drug abuse, gambling problems and any other bondage is nothing but a house of thoughts. Every kind of bondage is directly related to a preceding thought life. The thoughts that you entertain in your mind long enough will eventually show up in your actions.
I’ve seen good Christian men who are so short tempered that they can’t control their anger. I’ve seen good Christian women who are constantly depressed and have a very low self-esteem. I’ve seen other good Christian brothers who struggle with lust and can’t help themselves from watching obscene movies. I’ve even seen some Christians who can’t stop gambling. Why? These are all mental strongholds. All these people, including myself have a battle in our minds.
Now, before being saved, this wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Because doing what you feel like doing is considered very normal in this world. But after Christ has come into your life this becomes a battle in your mind because by your new nature; you don’t want to do these things, but then you find yourself too weak to resist. Paul address this battle in Romans 7:19 where he says “For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but the evil I don’t want to do, that I practice.”
Read Romans 7:14-24
Before this battle began, it started off as a thought.
James 1:14 says “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”
Now because you KNOW the word of God and you KNOW that your thoughts are contradictory to the word of God, a battle ensues. Good vs Evil. That means, if you can change your thoughts, your life will change. Every type of bondage is a house of thoughts. So if we are able to change our thoughts, then we could also be free from this battle. This is exactly what “take every thought captive and bring it to the obedience of Christ” means. Change your thought life.
Jesus our Lord died for us to set us free from this battle and from the lies of the devil. It is very important for us to intentionally change our thought life and that will change our lives, setting us free from every bondage. God’s word is “truth” and every time we hear truth, strongholds in our minds through disappointments, rejections and failures will break loose.
Our minds have been conditioned to think a certain way with mostly lies while growing up and now as soon as we hear the truth (God’s word), the battle starts. Satan approached two perfect and godly people in the garden of Eden and argued against God’s word to them. Did God really say…..? You won’t die if you eat that fruit? You see….he always attacks your mind and gets you to think contrary to God’s ways.
The devil doesn’t really care about what struggles you are having, be it gambling or drug abuse or worry or fear or depression or lust or anything else. He is ensuring that there is something else other than God on your mind. If he can get any other thought to exalt itself over God in your mind, he has enslaved you and gained control. It’s the focus of your mind that keeps you from knowing God.
It keeps you from reading the bible regularly. It keeps you from praying. It keeps you from going to church. It keeps you from focusing on God’s way of life.
2 Cor 10:5 - casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
Any thought that you don’t take captive, WILL take you captive.
We are the door keepers of our thoughts. We have the ability to choose to entertain or not entertain any thought. This ability has been given to us by our Lord Jesus. It’s just that we don’t believe He has and hence have no power when it is most needed. When a thought comes in to establish itself as a stronghold in our lives, it is our role to bring it down and take it captive to the obedience of Christ.
2 Cor 10:4 - The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
You say, “Santosh that is a lot easier said than done. No one can control thoughts”. Yes, you are right. And you are right because no one can delete a thought or remove a thought from their minds, but you can most certainly “replace” it. This is something to “learn” and discipline ourselves. It doesn’t happen automatically just because we became Christians. This is in fact, the key to victory over the battles in your mind.
The Word of God is not just religious teachings. It is a life changer AND a spiritual weapon.
Ephesians 6: 10-17 – The armour of God speaks of God’s word as a weapon, a sword of the Spirit.
God’s word is a powerful weapon. In the spiritual realm, God’s word is like a nuclear weapon against which nothing can stand. Even Jesus Himself used this weapon against the devil in the wilderness when He encountered every advance of the devil with a “It is written….followed by God’s word”.
The underlying problem of all mental bondage's is spiritual. Consciously choose to walk like a Christian, a saved person who lives by the Word of God and not by worldly standards.
The solution to the battles in your mind is simply “BIBLICAL MEDITATION”. When you intentionally decide to practice “biblical meditation”, victory will be yours from any mental stronghold and it will be easy. It’s instant if you do it regularly enough and you will experience freedom instantly. It’s a practice and something that needs to be done regularly so that it becomes just a way of life for you.
When we meditate on the word of God, we are bringing the word of God into our hearts and into our minds. We are letting the word of God reprogram our minds.
God’s word says if you meditate on the word of God, you will achieve good success in Joshua 1:8.
“The book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Everything you put your hand to will prosper in Psalm 1.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Why? Because when you meditate on the word of God, you will suddenly understand relationships, you will understand money matters, you will understand marriage. You will understand life in its entirety. When you meditate on the word of God regularly, you begin to succeed because the mental arguments and the strongholds will instantly begin to fall. You get reprogrammed with truth. God’s word, the “truth” will set you free.
Jesus said, You will know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
How to meditate:
Wake up in the morning and read the bible. There are many bible reading plans you can download from the net or simply google for a reading plan. Even better if you simply google “Bible reading plan for ……(mention whatever your area of struggle is). You will find a reading plan for it and choose that to start off your mornings. Read the verses for the morning and keep muttering them under your breath, so you can keep dwelling on its meaning. Eg: Everything I put my hand to will prosper if I delight in His word and meditate on His word. He said He is the way, the truth and the life. But the bible says “The word became flesh”. That means, He is the word. So the word must be the truth and the life. So if I just walk in the truth, all things will go well for me. Keep saying these things. That’s how you meditate. Do likewise with other verses depending on your situation.
Some of you might be feeling unworthy or condemned and depressed. Keep meditating on things like “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I am not accepted and loved by God because I am perfect and righteous. Christ is my righteousness. He has won the victory over everything for me. His victory is my victory. I am loved by God the Father because of my faith in Christ. Not because I am good on my own.” Keep saying such things and meditating on His word.
Meditate means to “mutter” under your breath. So don’t just “think” in your mind, but mutter it and speak it out quietly. Go for a walk if you can’t find a quiet place to be alone.
Through the day, remind yourself on your phone calendar to read that same verse again and again. During tea break, during lunch or any other time. If your job allows, you could go for a short walk after lunch meditating on that verse.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. “
Interesting that God asks us to teach our children the word of God on those 4 times of the day. When you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.
Why? Because those are the best times for meditation. Most people don’t have a battle in the mind when they are working or concentrating on their jobs or doing something productive. For eg: If you are a computer software developer by profession, then you probably won’t have a battle in your mind about lust when you are busy coding an interesting software program. The battle usually is when you are idle, doing nothing or driving and see something on the way or when simply lying on your bed with no particular plans for the day.
It’s not a sin to be tempted with thoughts. Thoughts can come and go and sometimes the devil puts thoughts into your mind. But when you linger on that thought, it evolves into a battle. When you get a bad thought, then that is the exact time you should pull out a bible verse and begin to meditate on it. Yes, I understand. It takes discipline, but that’s the way to be free. Most people have no problems with discipline when it comes to dieting or going to the gym. That’s because they made up their mind to be physically fit or healthy. How much more important is your spiritual health? So why not be disciplined about this as well?
You cannot take a thought out of your mind. You can only replace it with another thought. This is the secret to winning the battle in your mind. The key is to “replace your thought” with God’s word. This is how you take every thought captive and bring it to the obedience of Christ. Some people use will power to do these things but they soon wear out. The bible says “Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in you.” So you don’t need will power so much. What you need instead is to learn to be led by the Holy Spirit in you. When you are about to get angry, you have this prompting within you to stop. When you are about to watch a dirty movie, you have this prompting inside you to stop. This is the Holy Spirit leading you. Learn to listen to Him and obey.
But you cannot remove a bad thought from your mind. You can however replace that thought with another. All it takes is a distraction.
Let me give you an example. Most of you have surely seen a black and white dog. Is there a black and white dog near where you live? Does any of your friends own a black and white dog? Is the black and white dog you know of, friendly or ferocious? Have you ever got bit by a black and white dog? Most Border collie dogs are black and white isn’t it?
Or do you know of someone who owns a brown cat? Perhaps a friend or relative of yours who owns a brown cat? Brown cats are quite common isn’t it? Brown cats are beautiful if they had black stripes on them. They would look like small tigers. Have you ever seen one?
See, how the brown cat replaced the thought of a black and white dog? That’s how you replace your thought by another thought, which in this case should be the word of God.
When you are worrying or angry or depressed or lustful and someone comes over and asks you to stop doing that, you end up doing it more. That’s because you cannot remove a thought. Only replace it. Replace thoughts with God’s word every single time. Practice doing this and you’ll be free from battles in your mind. Biblical meditation is how we win every battle in the mind. If you practice biblical meditation, then it will soon become a part of you and it will become your default defense mechanism and it always wins.
Of course friends, if you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, none of this will work. The very first step then is to invite Jesus Christ into your life as Lord. He loves you, died for you, rose again from death and is alive today. He is not an idol or a photograph or a holy person. He is God and when you pray, He hears and replies back. He is one God with whom you can have a personal and intimate relationship. He is Almighty, He is all powerful and He is returning back soon to take us all who believe in Him to be with Him forever.
Bless you all my dear brothers and sisters. Feel free to comment or post a prayer request. I will most certainly pray for you.
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.
True freedom is freedom from self-centeredness. Dying to yourself, your wants, your desires and to what gives you pleasure for the sake of others is more liberating than you think.