The Battle for the mind
There is a spiritual battle going on in the world and one place where it is fought hardest is in our minds. The battle for the mind is about who will rule the mind of man – the Lord Jesus Christ or the spirit of the age. A stark way of putting it perhaps but the sooner we see it in stark terms, the sooner we will be able to fight this battle and fight to win.
2 Corinthians 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
Paul warns us that the devil is always seeking to establish “strongholds” (ideas and thoughts that are contrary to the Word of God) from which he can exert influence in the mind of the believer. We are constantly being bombarded by all sorts of ideas and thoughts that are contrary to the Word of God and when we accept them as truth, a stronghold is established in our mind.
We give Satan a foothold in our thinking and he will use that foothold to sow further doubt and confusion and weaken our faith. When believers become convinced, for example, that some aspect of God’s word is not true or does not apply to them, a stronghold is established and it will hamper the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
That is what happened to the twelve spies that Moses sent out to reconnoiter the Promised Land. The devil worked on their minds and convinced ten of them that all the things they saw – the giants, the fortified cities, the huge armies etc. – were obstacles too great to be overcome. He established a stronghold of doubt and fear in their minds; they believed the lie and lost their inheritance.
Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, saw all the same things but they saw something more: that God was even greater. Heart prevailed over mind, faith over doubt, spirit over flesh, the knowledge of God over the lie of Satan. Joshua and Caleb took captive the arguments that raised themselves up against the knowledge of God and made it obedient to Christ, and they triumphed in the end.
This is the challenge for us as believers. The born-again believer is given a new spirit by God but he has to contend with the old mind. Romans 12:2 urges us “ not [to] conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind. Then [we] will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We cannot afford to conform to the thought patterns of the world because they are based largely on ideas and philosophies that are contrary to the Word of God. Our patterns of thought must be based upon the Word of God. We do not close our eyes to the reality of the world; it’s just that we also see another reality, a greater reality – the reality of God at work in all things.
We have to learn to put on the mind of Christ in all things (1 Corinthians 2:16), to view all things as He would view them. We have to “see” with the eyes of the Spirit and allow the Spirit to rule our thoughts (Romans 8:5-7). We have to plant the Word of God not just in our hearts but in our thoughts too. As Paul says in Phil 4:8 “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.”
Knowing the Word of God is crucial to this battle. The Word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) and it is our weapon for demolishing strongholds, for countering every lie of the enemy. Jesus used it effectively against Satan when he was tempted, when the devil tried to establish a stronghold in His mind.
Every believer has been given divine power and authority by the Holy Spirit to demolish strongholds by utilizing the sword of the Spirit. This is the good fight of faith and every believer must fight this battle if we are to walk in victory and take hold of all that Christ Jesus took hold of for us.
The Spirit’s desire is to bring the whole person – heart, soul, mind and body – into unity so that we may love, honor and obey “the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul and with all [our] mind and with all [our] strength” (Mark 12:29-30).
Let us be wary then of the schemes of the enemy and not allow him to establish strongholds in our mind. Let us give absolutely no place to any idea, thought or argument that is contrary to the Word of God. Let the Word of God rule both heart and mind.