Tag Archives: battle of the mind

Empowered For Victory

Fear. Worry. Addiction. Self destructive thoughts and patterns. Depression. Insurmountable odds. Our past. These are things that many of us battle on a daily basis. They are mentally and physically taxing. It’s hard to sleep when these battles loom over us because they’re all we think about. The idea of getting free of them rarely enters our mind anymore because we’ve given up hope of overcoming them. They are powerful and make us feel powerless against them. We yield to them because we know it’s useless. So we live under their cloud in a defeated life without hope of winning victory over them.

If you struggle with these things, you’re not alone. Millions of people live just like that believing they’re the only ones going through it because the enemy of your soul has lied to you. He knows if he wins these battles, he can sideline you for a lifetime. But God has not given you a spirit of fear, nor has He abandoned you. He has given you the strength and the tools to break every chain and every stronghold that tries to hold you down and keep you from the life He created you to live. Remember that our weapons are not carnal, but are mighty through God (2 Cor 10:4)!

Psalm 18:35 puts it this way, “You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” (TPT) Yes, you were made to be great and victorious through God. When we spend time in His presence through prayer, reading His Word and in praise and worship, He envelops us with the power we need to overcome. You don’t have to be a prisoner to these other things because you’ve been empowered for victory.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

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The War Of The Mind

This weekend, I heard the song “Courageous” by Casting Crowns. It had been a while since I heard it. There was one part that resonated in me. The line said, “In the war of the mind I will make my stand.” I forget sometimes that there is a constant war going on in my mind to decide who gets to control my thoughts. I’m the type of person who can get caught up in my thoughts so much that I don’t hear anything going on outside my mind (my wife can attest to this!). I can be looking right at you and not hear anything because of what I’m thinking.

The war of the mind and the battle for your thoughts is important. Your thoughts determine how you feel. When you first wake up, what thoughts go through your mind? That determines how you feel about the day. Then, the way you feel about things determines how you act. If those feelings are negative, you don’t want to get up, so you hit the snooze. If they’re positive, you get up ready to face the day. All of your actions, both positive and negative, begin with your thoughts. That’s why Satan usually attacks there first.

Think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3, Eve was minding her own business and satan came to her in the firm of a serpent. To create doubt, he asked, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from every tree of the garden?'” When she explained they could eat from all the tress except one or else they would die, he went after her thoughts again. He said, “You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened.” With those attacks on her thought process, she changed how due felt about the tree.

Verse 6 says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Can you see the pattern? Her thoughts changed how she saw the tree. At first it was untouchable because God said. Thorn it became suitable and pleasant. Her attitude changed toward the tree. Now it became delightful and desired so she acted on those thoughts and ate. What was once off limits and she would have never considered became desired all because she lost the war of the mind.

I think that why Paul wrote in Ephesians 6 about the necessity of the Full Armor of God. In verse 11, he wrote, “Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which
God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and deceits of the devil.” As he listed out the different pieces of armor, salvation was a helmet. The helmet protects your head. It was symbolic of protecting your mind against the thoughts that come from the enemy to get you to do wrong.

If you’re struggling with the war of the mind, go to Ephesians 6:10-18 and read it. Put on the Armor of God so you can withstand the attacks of the enemy. God did not leave you helpless in this battle. He gave you this armor and the Holy Spirit to help you. Don’t buy into your thoughts that give you negative feelings and cause you to do things that you would have never considered before. Be honest with a close friend to have them pray for you and to hold you accountable. You can win this war by protecting your thoughts. You can stand up to the strategies and deceits the enemy brings. You don’t have to repeat Eve’s mistake.

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Changing Your Mind

I’ve started to read “Good to Great In God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram. The book is for people who don’t want to be ordinary Christians. In the book there are ten practices that we can adopt as believers to live extraordinary lives in God’s eyes. He uses a lot of the techniques that I’ve learned in selling and management. I believe the Bible is full of men and women who lived great lives that set them apart and that you and I can live a life that would be worthy of writing about.

The first thing he talks about in the book is thinking great thoughts. He mentions that he doesn’t start with a physical action or attitude because true change starts in the mind. From all of my learning, I have found this practice to be true. In order to change a behavior in our lives, we first have to change how we think about it. You and I are creatures of habit, but we are not creatures who are stuck in our ways unless we believe that with our mind. If you want to change for the better, you have to believe that you can change.

How you think about something is what determines your feelings about it. How you feel about it determines your attitude about it. Your attitude then determines your behavior towards it. If you want to change your behavior towards something, you have to change your attitude. If you want to change your attitude, you have to change how you feel about it. If you want to change how you feel about it, you have to change your thoughts. You and I have the capability of changing our thought pattern over time.

Think about Romans 12:2. It says, “Do not be conformed to this world this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs, but be transformed (changed) by the entire renewal of your mind by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect in His sight for you (AMP). Our transformation, our changing comes from the renewing of our mind. We renew our mind by renewing our thoughts. We renew our thoughts by being intentional about the thoughts we think.

It also says that when we renew our mind, we get a new attitude. When we get the new attitude, we will be able to prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. The Message says then you’ll “readily recognize what He wants from you and quickly respond to it. Your attitude will determine your action. You will begin to do the things that God wants you to do. You will begin to live the life a God wants you to live. You will start moving from a good, Christian life to a great Christian life. It all starts with the thoughts you think. If you want to change your life, change your thoughts.

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Lose The Label

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I’m working out of town this week so I thought it would be fun to watch the World Series in a group environment. I left my hotel and went to Buffalo Wild Wings knowing they would have the game. When the hostess was starting to seat me, I requested a seat where I could see the game. She replied, “What game?” I let her know I was referring to the World Series. She went and asked her manager about it and he informed me they would have it on a TV or two, but wouldn’t be playing the sound. I looked at him puzzled and he replied, “This is a football town. People don’t care about baseball.”

I thought it was strange that he just declared the whole city as a football town. Then I started to think how many times I label myself as something. I’m not good at that. I can’t learn that because I’m not good at math. I have OCD. I’m quirky. I’m an introvert. I don’t do well around other people. Whatever the label, we put them on ourselves and give ourselves an excuse not to do something. We’ve said things about ourselves so much that we can’t see any other options. We believe it so it’s true.

God does not define you by your limitations or labels. When He looks at you, He doesn’t see what you can’t do. He looks at who He created you to be. He sees the potential to rise above the labels you’ve anchored yourself with and desires that you cut free of them. The limitations you have in your life are self imposed. I know people who have physical disabilities who don’t allow themselves to be defined by them. They accomplish more than people without disabilities because that’s not how they see themselves.

If you allow the label you place on yourself, you will never be able to do what you dream of. You will never reach the potential of all that God created you to be. When He made you, He didn’t call you fat, stupid, lazy, disabled, impaired, OCD, tired or anything else negative. When He made you, according to Psalm 139, He said you were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” It goes on to say, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” If God thinks about you that much about you and they are precious thoughts, then it’s time you changed how you thought about yourself too.

Are you smarter than God? Do you somehow know things about yourself that He doesn’t? It’s time to have the mind of Christ and see yourself in the same light that He does. Quit looking at what you think are liabilities and see how He can use those for His glory. Quit giving yourself excuses not to try something or to follow His will by labeling yourself with negative things. You are more than your self imposed limitations. When you get that, truly get that, you will be free and you will open the door for God to use you like never before.

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Strong Enough To Overcome

I’ve been reading in the book of Joshua about the land allotment given to each tribe of Israel. You know the part where, like the genealogy sections, we typically skip over. I saw something interesting in Joshua 17:12-13. It says, “The people of Manasseh never were able to take over these towns – the Canaanites wouldn’t budge. But later, when the Israelites got stronger, they put the Canaanites to forced labor. But they never did get rid of them.” They couldn’t get rid of a few people in a few towns even after all the great conquests in the Promised Land.

As I read this, I began to think of the sins that I have in my life. You know the type. They’re the ones that no matter what I do, I can’t seem to beat. No matter how hard I try, I still succumb to their temptation every time. I’ve done fasting and prayer to get strong enough to beat them out of my life, but they still keep showing up. I’ll see something in the day that starts the process. My thoughts begin to dwell on the things that will eventually lead to the sin and sooner or later I fall. Sound familiar?

Near the last part of that verse, it says that they forced the Canaanites into forced labor when they became strong enough. When I read that, I thought of II Corinthians 10:5 that says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s our thoughts that keep the temptation alive in our heads that walk us down the road to sin. I’m not strong enough to drive out those thoughts and so I end up sinning. But here, Paul says we have divine power to demolish the strongholds in our lives.

There is a power beyond ourselves, in Christ, that can give us the power to take those thoughts captive and as the book of Joshua says, “put them into forced labor.” When we try to combat these thoughts in our own strength, there isn’t enough power. Those thoughts seem to be fortified against whatever we throw at it. They’re like the Canaanites in Joshua 17:16. The people of Joseph complained that they didn’t have enough land because the Canaanites had iron chariots and couldn’t be moved.

Joshua didn’t care about the iron chariots. He wasn’t looking at this as a physical struggle, but a spiritual one. He spoke into the tribe what they were that they couldn’t see. He saw what God sees when He looks at us. In verses 17-18 he told them, “you are very powerful” and even tough the Canaanites had iron chariots and were strong too, “you can drive them out.” He spoke into their lives and called out in them what God had put in them. He reminded them of their past victories and current realities.

You may see yourself like these two tribes. You’ve forgotten all that God has forgiven and delivered you from. You have strongholds in your life that you’ve allowed to remain because you haven’t seen yourself as strong enough to beat them. You’ve allowed them to shame you and to accept them in your mind. I’m telling you today that you are strong enough to overcome. You are powerful through the Holy Spirit that God has placed in you. If He has forgiven you and given you deliverance from other sins, He can give you the strength to beat the ones you’re struggling with today. Though they seem fortified with iron, God’s Word is more powerful and it is alive in you today. Bring those thoughts into captivity and drive them out of your mind’s landscape. You are very strong.

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