Possessing Your Mind

Did you know that Christians are commanded to love and serve God with their minds?

Before you start reading, I would like to recommend a short prayer to you.  We should always confess our need for God to give us wisdom, understanding, knowledge and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ better through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are awesome in all of your ways.  Please give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ more and more as I read this article.

Consider the words of Jesus:

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment
Matt 22:36-38 (ASV)

Would you agree that if Jesus said this was the first and greatest commandment, it’s true?

Please take a moment and consider the following question: “Have you learned how to control the thoughts that enter into your mind and eventually make their way to your soul and then become established or rooted in your heart“?

Quite the interesting question huh?  As you ponder the question, I ask you to consider the following passage of scripture.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. 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)

I love the way the NIV translation of the scripture renders this verse.  It’s clear that there’s an all out war in progress.  It’s also crystal clear that the goal of the war is to control the minds of God’s people.  Have you ever pondered or meditated on this verse of scripture?

Normally when I hear people discuss this passage of scripture, it’s always in the context of fighting the forces of darkness.  While this is definitely one use of our spiritual weapons, I would like to suggest to you a fight closer to home.  This passage also refers to the thoughts that enter our minds on a daily basis.  Control of the minds of God’s people is the greatest warfare being waged in this hour.

Consider this, how do strongholds, arguments, reasoning, thoughts, pretenses, prejudices and imaginations that oppose the Lordship of Jesus Christ enter into a person?  Not sure?  The answer is through your mind.  Please notice that the passage above makes it clear that we have been given the authority to either allow or forbid thoughts from entering our minds.  If you’re wondering how this is done, I have a personal example that should make it clear.

During the second year of my marriage to my wife (2001), we had quite a few disagreements.  You know, the process of getting to know each other and coming to grips with the fact that we were fundamentally different.  Well, each time we would argue, I would have thoughts of ex-girlfriends during my drive to work in the morning.  You know, the thought that, my other girl friend didn’t give me this type of trouble.

Well, one day, as I was pondering this thought, the Holy Spirit said to me, “a Deacon is the husband of one wife“.  My first response was, yeah I know, I’m not thinking about marrying my ex-girlfriend, just hanging out until my wife gets her act together.  The next time it happened, the Holy Spirit, you know how gentle He is, repeats the same statement to me (at this point I haven’t read I Timothy 3:12).  This time my response is okay, I know that already (you now, Mr. Know-It-All).  However, what I didn’t understand was why the Holy Spirit was saying this to me.

You know, I actually thought, these thoughts originated with me.  Turns out, those thoughts were coming from a demonic spirit of familiarity that knew about my former relationship to the young lady showing up in my thoughts.  The Holy Spirit kept repeating this passage of scripture to me to teach me how to control the thoughts that entered my mind.

Well, I eventually got the picture, found the verse, read it, and quoted it each time a thought tried to enter my mind suggesting I compromise my marriage, for ANY REASON.  To God be the Glory, using the weapon of the Word of God in faith to control the thoughts you have; actually works!  To this day, I’ve never compromised the covenant with my wife, and never will, by God’s grace.  The only way to control ungodly thoughts from entering your mind is to combat them with the truth found in the Word of God.

This past Thanksgiving, I asked my entire family if they’d be willing to participate in an experiment with me.  “You should have seen their faces”, what is Dwight up to now?  I asked each of them if they’d be willing to do without their cell phones and video games for one week.  If it weren’t so tragic, it would have been hilarious.  You should have seen the look on their faces.  You would have thought I asked them to sacrifice their first born child.

Even though I’m one of the most technology engaged people you’ll ever meet, I’m convinced that 9.9 out of ten Christians have been conformed to the pattern of this world through technology, but have no clue it’s happened.  My families response is the typical response you expect from a person faced with the prospect of having to give up something their attached to.

Please consider the following passage of scripture:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Please note Paul’s strong language.  “DO NOT CONFORM ANY LONGER“.  The language used here is very strong and it’s clear that Paul assumes the mind of the reader has already been conformed to the world system and needs to be set free.  Otherwise, he would have not used the phrase “any longer“.  The commandement of God here is to facilitate the transformation of our minds through the renewal that comes from filling our minds with the Word of God.

I often ask the adults in the Sunday School class taught by myself and a co-teacher, if faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, what comes by hearing stuff that opposes the Word of God.  You should see their faces, it’s so funny, the first thought that comes to most of them is, CRAP…is he going to ask me to stop watching my favorite television show?  I always follow up my question by reassuring everyone that the question is designed to provoke them to consider the answer, not to chuck their new 57 inch plasma tv or cut-off their cable.

This begs the question, what’s so wrong with having our minds conformed to the world system.  Well, for starters, the world system has a ruler that opposes the righteous government of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In addition, any mind that has been conformed to the world system, without direct awareness, also opposes the righteous government of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The goal of the world system is to so captivate and dominate the thoughts that enter your mind that renewal and transformation never occurs.

Satan has studied mankind for thousands of years, and he clearly understands that if he’s successful at keeping our minds filled with anything but the Word of God, becoming conformed to the world system is simply a matter of time.  When Satan is able to control the minds of God’s people, even though they’re saved, they’re incapable of discerning or destroying the works of darkness.  In other words, unfruitful and unproductive (Matthew 25:24-30).  An even greater tragedy is the that being attached, wedded, yoked or pleasured by the world system will eventually force the believer to either divorce the world system or fall in love and marry it.

Consider the following passage of scripture:

(Timothy)…Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia
2 Tim 4:9-10 (NIV)

Please note that the Word of God does not say that Demas backslid, it only says he put aside ministering with Paul to enjoy the deceitful pleasures of this present evil world or age, as rendered in the original Greek text.

Did you know that it’s God’s will that every Christian be delivered from the present evil world system or age we live in?  Of course this doesn’t mean you head for the nearest cliff to try and jump off the planet.  It does mean that it’s our responsibility, as followers of Christ, to forcefully advance the Kingdom of God in this age and not merge with it.

Consider the following passage of scripture:

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father
Gal 1:3-4 (KJV)

Please notice a few truths from this passage.  First, Jesus gave himself so that we would not be held captive by the world system.  Second, the Word of God makes it clear that what Demas fell in love with is actually evil.  Boy, I wonder what you would think of me if I said that Facebook has become an evil tool of the enemy holding captive many of God’s children?  Finally, notice that it’s God’s will that we be totally free of the world system.

As I close this post, take a moment and consider the following question.  Do you spend more time interacting with technology than you do reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God?

If the answer is yes, ask yourself a second question.  Is the way I spend my free time teaching me how to control the thoughts that enter into my mind that eventually make their way to my soul and then become established or rooted in my heart?

Albert Einstein once said, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”  In other words, creativity flourishes when you give your mind an opportunity to be quite and simply be at peace as opposed to always keeping it in over-drive gear.

Finally, I want to remind you of the raging war for the control of your mind and encourage you with a promise from God, designed to teach you how to take control of what enters your mind.

Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee
Isaiah 26:2-3 (KJV)

I recommend a short closing prayer to you.

Lord Jesus, you know the war being fought to control what enters my mind, soul and heart.  Jesus, I ask you to give me greater discernment and sensitivity to those things that enter my mind that are contrary to your Word and your plan for my life.  Lord, you give me the power to will and to do your good pleasure.  Give me the power and strength to love and serve you with my mind as well as my body and my soul.