The Battle for Our Minds Part II
Spiritual Protective Principles
Godly Provided Armor
In the Battle for our Minds it is important to realize that God has given us the tools to help us in the battle. This is the Christian’s armor. It is described in Ephesians chapter six. In Ephesians 6:17 we see the helmet of salvation. It is important to see why God named the helmet of the head, which is a covering of the mind, salvation. When we are resting in the safety of our salvation we have the Holy Spirit’s protection and can make the proper response to Satan’s attacks. We are easily able to say you can’t touch me! When we have received God’s salvation Satan or his demons can tell us anything they want to lead us astray into danger. But now with the Holy Spirit living in us and influencing us we know better and can fight back by saying NO; I won’t think like that or let those ugly polluted thoughts into my mind.
Ephesians 5:18 tells us “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” The fundamental principle that the apostle is trying to convey to us is that we must allow the Spirit to control our thoughts and therefore our lives. The comparison made here is that of an alcoholic who is under the complete control of that mind controlling substance. Christ revealed one characteristic of the Holy Spirit when He said in John 16:13a “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” When we properly relate to the Spirit, Satan cannot have any influence on our minds. Satan will attack us at our weakest moments and issues. The Holy Spirit will protect us at all times so Satan will not be successful. So therefore we must be constantly feeding the Spirit with God’s Word and beautiful thought categories given in Philippians 4:8.
Know God’s Word
This principle is of the upmost importance. We must learn and know the Bible well. We must know the “Whole Counsel of God” not just a few verses here and there taken out of context. Out brains function similarly to a computer. In fact computers were designed with our minds as the basis for the engineering design of a central processing unit of a computer. One factor of computer technology is its ability to process information regardless of its quality. Our minds will do the same thing. If we bring garbage in it will put garbage out but affect our soul while it is residing in our mind and being processed by it. We may bring information into our minds and it will be stored away for future use unbeknownst to us. While we may not be conscious to the “hidden” data it will surface at a later time reminding us of what we took in. This is like a Trojan horse virus in a computer. If it contains pure information we can use for proper purposes. If it is bad it will harm us when it resurfaces and has probably been infecting through its influence on our thoughts all along. This is one more reason to prevent the evil from entering. The only way to do that is to first be fortified with a complete knowledge of Gods Word and secondly to avoid the pollution Satan wants to instill within us. Knowing and feeding God’s Word will make us pure.
Psalm 119:9 tells us this in the form of a question and answer:
[Beth] How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word (ESV).
Consider what the apostle is telling us in Romans 12:2:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (KJV).
We must constantly feed on the Word of God through memorization, Bible study and fellowship with other believers that are growing in the Word of God. Satan wants to take us away from serious Bible study and from other believers who are growing daily in the Word. Genuine Bible study is not an emotional centered mindless experience. It is a logical practical and rational understanding of what God has for us. When experience is elevated above the rational doctrine expressed in the infallible Word of God we are setting ourselves up for any wind of false doctrine that will come our way. God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit that will send Satan and his demons away from us. If we rely on the subjective imprecise emotionalism that accompanies experience we are ignoring logic and objective truth for the subjective.
Completely Surrender to Christ
We must be completely sold out to Him and then put what He says into practice. Are we different people when we are away from the Bible or are we captivated by Christ? Sometimes it is easy to listen or read the Bible but we don’t put it into practice. James 1:22 says:
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (KJV).
James says that we are deceiving ourselves if we don’t follow God’s Word. We may think that we are but examine ourselves and ask your spouse the question, Do I live out God’s Word or not? If not then start adhering to what it says and be ye doers! Otherwise Satan has a grip on you and will not let go until you decide to let Christ completely control you. When we are completely sold out to God’s Word anything that comes into our minds will be tested against its purity and accepted or rejected on the basis of what Christ says, not on vain philosophies and worldly practices. Obedience to God’s Word is essential to positive emotional feelings and positive family relationships. When we are outside God’s will because we are not completely surrendered to Him it will have an effect on our well-being and that of our families. It is of primary importance for the spiritual leader of the family, the man, to adhere to this principle because they are the leaders of the family. Their attitudes will radiate to others in the family unit and cause others to follow their attitudes. Whether the man likes it or not God has made him the spiritual leader of the family. It is called the doctrine of “headship” and it was bestowed upon Adam the first person. When the man exercises Godly headship he demonstrates appropriate godly patterns of obedience and his family will respond in a positive manner.
Having the Mind of Christ
I Corinthians 2:14-16
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (KJV).
When the Holy Spirit came, He was given the mind of Christ to show to the apostles, who in turn were to share directly with the early Church by their actions and through their writings. The result of all of this was the New Testament. The apostle Paul says that Spiritual believers have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). This does not mean that we can understand every thought Jesus had, in fact Paul said we would only understand in part the mind of Christ until we are on the other side with Him (I Corinthians 13:12).
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you (KJV).
The Lord Jesus shared with the apostles all the things He heard the Father give Him. Therefore His human mind was implanted with the mind of God. This is the mind of Christ.
13 (However) when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you (KJV).
What this means for the Christian is that we must have a different perspective than the world for the events we encounter. Jesus had a divine outlook. One who has become born again is on the path of unlearning the ways of the world and learning the viewpoint of God on the various issues we experience in life. One prime example of this was expressed in Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” This verse introduced a Christ who voluntarily held an attitude, which manifested itself in humility and harmony.
A Mind That is Harmonious
Satan easily creates disunity, dissension and discord among Christians who are living according to the flesh. Paul clearly identified this in I Corinthians 3:3: “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men (KJV)?” In other words, he said in the flesh we will have contention with each other but with the mind of Christ we are led to harmony and unity. This is being of one Spirit and one truth, not agreeing to disagree on different interpretations of Scripture (Philippians 1:27). Paul was very clear that the harmony among believers must be a unity in the Spirit of truth. Our minds must be fixed on the same goals and understanding of the Scripture.
Some think that they need to try out every instance of doctrine that gets introduced in the Church in an open and vocal manner. Others choose a challenging manner to examine these same concepts compared to the revealed truth of the Bible. What neither group understands is that both of these approaches divide and do not unify the Church around the truth. In fact because the dissenters do not understand the whole counsel of God, they sow seeds of discord because of their ignorance. If we challenge them in the same way, we exacerbate the situation instead of improving it. By examining the characteristics of the early Church we can see that they were unified in one accord (Acts 1:4; 2:46; 4:24; 5:12). Paul exhorted the Corinthians to unify:
I Corinthians 1:10
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (KJV).
The unity expressed here must be having the same mind, which is that of Christ. We don’t need to know every side of a Biblical issue, only God’s side. If we all know God’s mind on this issues expressed in the Scriptures we will be in unity. Agreement might not come at first, when the enemy is attempting to divide us, but through prayer and the study of God’s Word we will come to understand the will of God on every issue. We have the example of the first world wide Church council before whom Paul brought the issue of Gentiles entering the Church without becoming Jews first. Some Pharisees thought it necessary but the members of the Church council searched the Scriptures and the issue was solved (Acts 15:4-18). The result was the Spirit of God brought them to one accord.
The problem is the enemy will try to keep us divided by causing us to not come together to pray, study, and share in order to seek the mind of God. Pastors and elders must be of one mind. It is understandable that members of the local congregation might be at different levels of growth in Christ and therefore not always unified. Family members might fall into this situation too. Then we must appeal to Scripture to settle misunderstandings of what God expects of us. We are not speaking of majority rule, just the rule of one person, the Lord Jesus Christ as expressed in His Word.
The Humble Mind
The major stumbling blocks to unity are pride and selfishness. Some have a passion to be always correct, but not necessarily correct according to God’s Word. Our prideful attitudes can convince us we are right so we can have our own way and control others. One sure way to achieve this is found in Philippians chapter two. Consider the following:
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (KJV).
If we start our interactions with a mind of humility as the Bible tells us we will be in the mind of Christ. We must develop an attitude of viewing other believers as being better then ourselves. Then it will be easy to express humility, which will usually be received in the same spirit it was offered, which is a return of humility. True humility is laying aside our rights and interest and submitting to others. This does not at all mean that we accept poor doctrine, ignorance of the Scriptures, or non-biblical positions on issues. It means we listen and consider the position of others, and respond in a humble manner in order to have a mutual understanding of the Holy Spirit’s truth. It could be that we might divide over important doctrinal issues, but even in those cases we must do it peaceably with humility.
Christ emptied Himself of any attitude regarding His deity so that he could identify with humankind. The Scriptures say he took the form of a bondservant. He gave up all his rights and submitted Himself to the status of a slave. He washed the apostle’s feet in complete submission to them to demonstrate humility and they didn’t understand it at first. It is almost impossible for us to consider His most humble action, becoming a man. God left Heaven and entered a human body for the express purpose of giving His life up for us. He did this in submission to the Law of God that required a sacrifice for the sins of humanity for permanent atonement.
Consider the crucifixion he suffered. It was reserved for the criminals who had committed the worse crimes that society had ever experienced. Christ did nothing to deserve this but He willingly submitted himself to it, which was a curse. The Bible affirmed that this was shameful and a curse upon anyone who died in this manner (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23). Our Lord Jesus voluntarily submitted Himself to this so we could have eternal salvation. He placed our interests above His so He could give us something we could never obtain on our own, our salvation. He demonstrated the humble mind.
So as Philippians 2:5 says, to have the mind of Christ means to have a mind that is full of humility. The King James Version calls this “lowliness of mind.” This is humility; it is not a poor self-image or a “woe is me” attitude. It is power under control. We don’t lose the focus of the truth or the facts of the Scriptures, and we don’t use a forceful attitude when attempting to become like-minded with others in the Christian community. We must understand that we are totally dependent upon God and not on our own self worth and image. When we have the mind of Christ, we can’t be self-exulted, self-willed, self-sufficient, arrogant, righteous, or glorious.
Daniel E Woodhead