The Battlefield of the Mind

Proverbs 23:7  (KJV)
7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Every action, every decision starts with a thought.  When we sin, when we’re obedient, when we make Godly or ungodly decisions, when we  forgive or when we hold grudges, it starts with a thought.  I’ve been told I think too much.  It’s true and it’s a burden.  Obsessive thought processes, believing and holding onto wrong information, putting up barriers between you and God are other less obvious examples.  If you prayerfully examine some of these things in your own life, you will probably find there is some errant thought at the root of it.

I’ve shared on this blog before about one of the two thoughts that I let take root at the beginning of my first marriage.  My husband was older than I was, as my grandfather was older than my grandmother.  She was a widow at 50.  A young enough woman to have many years to miss her husband, but old enough to find it difficult to start over.  (Or at least that was my thoughts) The second thought that I let take root was that I would never celebrate a 50 year anniversary.  Now of course a marriage breaking up is much more complex that this.  But you go into a marriage, hopefully, with the mindset that divorce will never be an option.  When you let a couple of negative thoughts, no matter how silly and trivial they may seem, take root you have cracked the door to divorce just a bit and you don’t even realize it.  So when the enemy creates the perfect storm…. and all marriages go through storms…. and you’ve got just the right amount of anger built up because you haven’t been submitting to God and forgiving the way you should…. and we all experience times like that too if we aren’t careful…. it’s easier to open a door that is already cracked than one that is locked and barred.

What should I have done with these thoughts?  I didn’t recoginize them as a long term plan of the enemy to plant the seeds that would eventually destroy my family and my witness.  I did recognize them as silly, so I really didn’t take them seriously.  Yet, they stayed with me.  I didn’t realize then how important it was to break wrong thought patterns, even “silly” ones. What I should have done was pray everytime they popped into my head until they no longer popped into my head.
James 4:7 (KJV)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  I don’t care how silly, trivial, or even harmless a thought seems, if it doesn’t line up with the Bible or the character of God, get rid of it and don’t let it have a home in your mind. The Bible tells us to put on our helmet of salvation as part of our armor of God.  Protect your mind!

How can we protect our mind?  We’ve just talked about resisting the devil through prayer and not letting these thoughts take root.  Crowding out these thougths with His word by studying your Bible or listening to sound preaching when you are having a particularly hard struggle would also help.  Another thing is knowing God’s word so that you know what is and isn’t lining up with what He says.
2 Timothy 1:7King James Version
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  I struggle with fear… a lot!  It has at times interferred with my life.  I enjoy water related activities, but I’m terrified of drowning.  I like riding horses, but I’m terrified of large animals.  I want to kayak but alligators haunt my nightmares. I have a whole list of things like this.  Some of these things I’ve dealt with and  pressed forward on with some success, some are a work in progress.  I recognize that the fear is not Godly.  But there are times I am simply not strong enough to overcome it for an activity, no matter how appealing, that isn’t mandatory for my life.  My husband doesn’t understand why one day I will tackle one of these things so that we can enjoy a certain pastime together, and two weeks later I can’t.  It’s simple.  Somedays I’m just not strong enough.  You may not have an issue of fear, but you have something that you deal with.  And on those days you don’t feel equipped to face whatever it is, you may be under some sort of attack from the enemy, or you may have just drifted a little in your walk with God, but the answer is still the same…. You need more God.  Pray, get in His word, spend a little extra time with Him.

Another way we can protect our minds is by being careful how we spend our time.
Matthew 6:22-23 (KJV)
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!  If you are constantly listening to ungodly music, watching ungodly tv/movies, reading ungodly books, hanging out with ungodly people or in ungodly places, how can you expect your thoughts to be Godly?  I’d like to tell you that I only watch Christian TV (although I do love Pureflix), read only Christian fiction ( I love Karen Kingsbury), and listend only to Christian music (although I pretty much do except for some occasional country or oldies), but I don’t.  I will tell you that the closer my walk gets, the less tolerance I have for things that use to entertain me.  I will also tell you that I’m aware that my occasional Lifetime movie or Law & Order episode isn’t helpful with my fear issue.  Because just like what we put in our bodies affects our physical health, what we expose our minds to affects our mental health.  You may not realize that eating bacon every morning is causing a cholestorl problem for many years.  The same goes with our mental diet. Be careful what you set before your eyes.

Some other verses to consider.

Romans 12:2 King James Version (KJV)
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.

2 Corinthians 10:5 King James Version (KJV)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Isaiah 26:3 King James Version (KJV)
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee

Philippians 4:8 King James Version (KJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

We often hear guard your heart and this is true.  But I believe it starts with guarding your mind.

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