There is a battle going on every day of our lives. It is a battle that goes on in our mind, and it is vicious. Our opponents, the devil and his demons don’t fight fair, and even if we were to give up fighting they wouldn’t fight within the confines or boundaries of any Geneva Convention or truce. The devil fights to the death, and his intention is our total surrender and captivity. (John 10:10)
Mental illness, anxiety, fears, and people held in captivity to their minds and emotions is at epidemic proportions. People are unable to hear God because their minds are broken and they fail to be able to connect to God and hear Him clearly. As Joyce Meyer says – our mind is the battlefield, and it is the one who gets our mind that gets us.
That’s why we need to learn and teach others how to guard, strengthen and renew our minds. To be “strong minded.”
The bible teaches us that, “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 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” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
One of our tasks in the battle is to “destroy strongholds”. A strong hold means every argument, opinion and thought that has taken hold, or becomes rooted in our minds and lives and raises itself up against what Jesus has done for us.
Strongholds can be a world view that sets itself up against who God is, or it can be a personal attitude such as worry, fear, anxiety, guilt, and resentment. All of these things can cause strongholds in our lives, and the bible says unequivocally to take these thoughts captive and to pull them down.
“Taking every thought captive” means to control, to conquer, to bring into submission” We are to make it submit, and bring our thoughts under control!
I have a technique where I stop and think about what I’m thinking about. Far too often we allow our minds to be occupied with “stinking thinking”. I discipline myself to imagine taking a net and catching each thought as it flits about in my mind. I pull each thought down and examine it to see whether it is a productive faith filled thought or not. If it isn’t I take hold of it and bring it captive to Jesus, and tell it to go. Then I focus on replacing that thought, and thinking 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)
I’ve learnt that when we want to have a strong mind and be free of strongholds, we must:
Fill our thoughts with what God says in His word. I read and listen to His word, and the words of faith filled people.
God actually says that when we accept Jesus into our lives we are given the “mind of Christ’. To have the mind of Christ, we must think as He thinks. But often our thoughts are not God’s thoughts (see Is. 55:8). What we base our beliefs, ideas and thoughts on are often based on our own perceptions of reality that were developed in our families of origin and life experiences.
But the bible tells us it is possible to have the mind of Christ in spite of our life history. We are to “be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s]” (Rom. 12:2)
We must realize that just because we think a thought does not mean we should validate that thought before we assess it’s worth. In our modern world we are surrounded by so much noise, opinions and the power of suggestion. The world puts suggestions in our minds that are false, and we are bombarded with those false ideas all the time. We must contend with the Father of liars the devil, who uses others, or his demons to whisper absolute rubbish to us. (John 8:44)
Our minds are like sponges, and what we surround ourselves with our minds will soak up. If you don’t want negativity, fear, evil, and godless thoughts, then don’t soak and surround yourself with them. You get what you put in. Proverbs 15:14 says, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (NLT). If we don’t want toxic thoughts or things that are going to weaken our mind and our faith, we need to fill our minds with the right things. “Fix and set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
We can also often struggle with confusion in our minds because we are not surrendered and trusting God with the many details of our life. We try to navigate all the decisions we must make with our own intellect, when God wants to help us if we’d only renew our minds with what He says to do.
We need to be strong minded and aware that there is a battle going on. The strength we need to win this battle comes through guarding our minds against lies, and any thoughts and opinions that rise up against Jesus and who He is, and who we are in Him. It is in putting into our lives those things that are good for our minds, instead of soaking up rubbish.
Today take an imaginary net and pull down your thoughts and examine them. Think about what you are thinking about, and assess their worth. Do they line up with what God’s word says about your life, and your future? Do they line up with how God does things, or are they contrary to His will?
“Jesus said, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be known and illuminated. Pay attention, therefore, to how you listen. Whoever has will be given more, but whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”(Luke 8:17-18)
Prayer: Lord I want to be strong-minded and to be free of any strongholds or thinking that is contrary to your word. Please give me wisdom to know the truth and to recognize the lies and thinking that only produces toxic thoughts and weakness in my mind. In Jesus Name Amen.