The Battle For Your MindJuly 31, 2011 Save Article
A Study from 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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…
We’ve all heard the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. Satan is like a saboteur looking for an opportunity to tinker with our minds and our souls.
There IS a war going on, and it’s of a spiritual nature. Ephesians 6:12 also tells us that. Turn to Ephesians chapter 6, a companion piece to our 2 Corinthians chapter 10 passage. The two go hand-in-hand.
Complete Ephesians 6 verse 12:
12 For we do not wrestle against _____________ and ___________, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against _________________ hosts of wickedness in the ___________________ _________________. (NKJV)
1. If our battle is not with human beings (“flesh and blood”), but with “rulers of the darkness of this age,” what sort of weapons must we use? ____________
2. Since there is a battle—and it is with Satan and his forces—what are we told—twice—to do? (in the verse before and the verse after v. 12)? __________
We cannot outwit nor out-war the devil. Satan laughs at our puny attempts to fight him with education, legislation, or changing our environment. While these are fine in themselves, they don’t address the real problem. Battling Satan by improving our environment would be like battling fire ants by spritzing them with perfume. Ineffective at best.
Efforts to reform or strengthen our culture may temporarily improve outward circumstances, but in reality does nothing to address the real battle going on. In your own words, what do you see as the real battle today? _____________
We have an enemy and he is real. He wants to control our thought life.
A CLOSER LOOK AT OUR THOUGHT LIFEDid you know that what you believe will direct what you do? Although you may say you believe one thing, what you really believe will come out in your actions. Your true heart-belief about God will determine your relationship with Him. Your closeness to Him as your Father, your communication, your trust (or lack of trust) in Him are controlled by what you believe. “As he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a). Satan’s desire is to conquer and control your thought life, then make it a citadel from which he can war against God. Do you see why the battlefield is in the mind?
As Satan wars for control of our thought life, we must be transformed from the inside.
The rest of Ephesians, up to Paul’s closing greeting, describes the “whole armor of God.”
3. How familiar are you with your suit of armor? (See how many of these you can fill in for yourself before you have to look at the passage.)
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with ____________, having put on the breastplate of ___________________, 15 and having shod your ________ with the preparation of the _____________ of peace; 16 above all, taking the _________ of __________ with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the _____________ of salvation, and the ____________ of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
4. Once we’ve got our armor on, are we to rush into the battle? _______ (see the last word in verse 13 and first word in verse 14).
5. If we’re not rushing, what are we doing? _____________________________
6. But we’re not inert. While standing firm, what should we be doing? (v. 18)
18 ______________ always with all _____________ and _______________ in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
A CLOSER LOOK AT “SUPPLICATION”When the scripture says “prayer and supplication,” have you ever thought, “Well, that’s just saying the same thing twice. That’s redundant.” No. We see the same phrase in Philippians 4:6. “…but in everything through prayer and supplication….” So why does God say the same thing twice? Prayer and supplication are not exactly the same thing. “Supplication” carries with it an extra layer of meaning. “Supplication” is not just “prayer” but intense, earnest prayer. Someone once referred to “supplication” as “carpet time”—when you are down on your face before the Lord in earnest prayer.
7. Look again at 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. In verse 5, what three words are used that refer to our mind, making it clear what Satan is fighting for?
_______________________ ________________________ ______________________
8. Again, Satan wants to control your mind because what you believe will direct and control what you _____.
9. Read Ephesians 4:17-23.
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their ___________, 18 having their ______________________ darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your__________...”
God communicates with us through our minds, and God changes us by changing our minds. I hope you realize that God does not want your mind to be an empty slate waiting to be filled up with any idle thought. He wants our thoughts to be on Him and His will.
- That’s why Romans 12:2 is so very important to know and to meditate on.
“ 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.”
10. Satan tries to hinder your communication, and therefore your relationship with God, by disrupting, interfering with, and finally destroying your mind. When you sin, where do you think the idea comes from? __________________
Your eyes don’t decide on their own to look at something unwholesome. Your hands don’t reach out automatically and commit a crime. No, they get their signals from the mind. The mind controls what actions and behavior we take.
11. Describe a way Satan has used your thought life to disrupt your communication and relationship with God ______________________________
Now That We Have Identified The Problem, Let’s Talk About The Solution.
12. First, answer this question: did God save you for victory or defeat? ____________________
Over and over in Scripture, God is described as all-powerful, a Mighty Warrior, a King, accomplishing what He wishes sometimes just by speaking a word, sometimes by “the strength of His arm.” One of His names is “Lord of Sabaoth,” which translates “Lord of the Angel Armies.” By all accounts, our God is a Mighty Warrior.
With that in mind, picture the most powerful general you can think of. Imagine him gathering his troops, striding before them and saying, “Men, I’ve summoned you here to lead you in defeat.” Never. Not only do you serve under a mighty General—the General just happens to be your Father.
13. If He saved you to be victorious, do you think He can equip you for that victory? __________________
14. How do you think He will do this? ____________________________________
15. In the past, what have you done to try to win the battle for your mind? ______________________________
16. Have these methods proven successful? ________________
17. According to James 4:7, you should ___________ the devil, and he will ___________.
18. How can you resist the devil when it comes to your thought life?
THE 5-SECOND RULE
Note carefully in the 2 Corinthians passage the phrase
“bringing every thought into captivity.”
An outstanding Bible teacher once gave this wonderful word of caution:
When one of those defeating thoughts enters your mind, you’ve got about 5 seconds to “take that thought captive.” If you don’t… that thought is going to take YOU captive!
Think of it as “the 5-Second Rule”—and apply it.
Read Philippians 4:8. What does God want your mind to think of?
Things that are:
19. Scientists tell us our mind cannot be thinking two different thoughts at the same time. If your mind is dwelling on these thoughts, can it be thinking of evil, negative, or destructive thoughts? _______
20. Place a check mark beside some of these practical things you can focus on in order to refocus your mind when it begins to wander into negative territory:
- Meditate on a Bible verse
- Sing a praise chorus to yourself (or out loud)
- Quote Scripture you have memorized (Hint: ones in this study are excellent to start with.)
Memorize Isaiah 26:3
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”
- Thank God for your blessings
- Pray phrases to God such as: “I give my mind to You, Lord.” “Use my mind for Your glory, God.”
- Pray with God-given authority to resist Satan.
- Keep your mind actively engaged and challenged, not allowing it to just drift.
- Remove temptations that you know will lead you down the wrong paths (inappropriate music, movies, TV, conversations, words, etc.)
If we’re thinking what’s right, we can’t be thinking what’s wrong.
Notice that the result of focusing our minds on God (Isa 26:3) is peace, the opposite of war. We can be victorious in the battle with Satan for our minds. When we are, we will find our minds at peace with God. That prepares us to worship and serve Him with all of our hearts and minds.
- Pray now committing your mind to God and asking Him to help you be aware of the ways Satan is attacking you in this area.
- Pray continuously throughout the day to rid your mind of the empty or destructive thoughts and to replace them with positive, constructive ones.
- Pray God will use your victories to encourage others that are in the battle of their mind.