The next few weeks I'm going to blog through some of what I've learned in regards to the power of our minds. There are multiple ways the enemy comes after us, luring and distracting from the plans of our good, pleasing and perfect Father. So much of what he does involves our minds. He is a liar, a deceiver, he is powerless to take our identity as sons and daughters away, but he sure can add confusion and chaos making it very hard for us to walk forward confidently. Recognizing him is essential. Resisting his clever lies will develop muscles in ways we never imagined and Replacing his deceiving lies with the promises of our Father will change what we see and the direction we walk.
The human mind thinks anywhere from 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day. The majority of these thoughts are based on our social environment and geared towards our own preferences. No wonder we are exhausted a lot of the time. Allowing the emotions from our many thoughts too much control will quickly leave one circling the drain in doubt and fear.
Paul got it. He had to. He could not have lived the life he lived had he not learned to quiet His mind.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Eph. 6:10-12, NIV
More times than not, I think fighting a physical battle would be easier than the spiritual battles we fight every day. Nothing feels better than a long run after a hard day. Being able to run out frustration and sweat out failure is so healthy. It allows us to take control of something and fight back.
Unfortunately the spiritual battles we fight are much different. Spiritual battles don’t play by the same rules. They are lead by an unseen enemy, fighting over control of very real but also still unseen emotions. Our enemy fights to oppress and distract us. With each step, our attention to what God has called us toward, leaves the enemy fuming in defeat. He will use any means possible to keep us from reaching our fullest potential in Christ. Because of the sheer power of our thought life, this is often his first place to attack.
The enemy is a liar. Therefore, we must train ourselves to recognize when his deceiving ways are before us.
“When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies”
John 8:44, NIV
The first thing we have to do is recognize the lies of the enemy. We will always fall victim to something we never see coming. In order to recognize his lies, we must know the Truth in a loud and clear way. Bankers are taught to identify counterfeit bills by memorizing what the real bills look like. They study the weight, appearance and smell of the actual bill, because a counterfeit bill may come across the counter in many forms. Learning to recognize all the disguises of the enemy would be impossible. He has many tactics and presents himself in many forms.
The most effective way to arm oneself against his schemes is to become a knower of the Truth.
“The weapons we fight with are not worldly weapons. 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.”
2 Cor. 10:4-5, NIV
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an argument and realized you don’t know all the facts leading up to the disagreement. It is hard to discern when to stand strong and when to fold when you are not equipped with the full knowledge of truth. The Word of God is the only weapon capable of demolishing strongholds, arguments, and false accusations. The Word is the only weapon with the ability to overcome doubt, fear and anxiety. The Word will always destroy selfishness, envy and pain.
“The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges thoughts and attitudes of the heart”
Hebrews 4:12, NIV
I recognize the enemy in my anxious thoughts. When God’s peace seems far off and worry threatens to overcome. I realize I have allowed the enemies voice to muffle the voice of my Father. We do not serve a God of anxiety. We serve a God of peace. Our identity is in Him, not the things we do or the things we can’t control. Our future is in His hands and with that promise comes all the peace we need.
Knowing the Word is necessary to recognize how the enemy pursues you. What are the lies you fall victim too? Where do you feel inadequate? Where do you feel condemned? Abandoned? Alone? Rejected? Helpless? Hopeless? If God is the giver of all good things, then rest assured, these feelings are not from Him. We will never fully embrace the promises of God if we continually fall for the ploys of the enemy.