WINNING THE BATTLE FOR YOUR MIND (2 Corinthians – 4)
Paul wrote to the Corinthians to help them have victory over the problems that were plaguing the church. He explained that it wasn’t just a matter of changing their actions, but of overcoming the wrong thoughts that were behind those wrong actions. Victory starts in their mind (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).
The key is in taking wrong thoughts captive. Paul clearly states that Christians battle an unseen enemy, Satan and his demons “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 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. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). There are powers that set themselves up against God. They use thoughts which lead to sinful actions. Actions start with thoughts, so the key is to have victory over the thoughts before they develop into actions.
LESSON FOR TODAY 1: Satan can and will use thoughts inserted into our minds to control us. He will use worldly philosophies and views to get access to and control of us. The majority of demonizing consists of demons putting thoughts into a person’s mind or snatching thoughts out of a person’s mind. While they don’t have access to our minds and thoughts to the same extent that God does, the Bible makes it clear there is some access. Jesus said this in the sower and the seed: “Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown.” (Mark 4:15). David’s thought to take a census was demonic (I Chronicles 21:1ff; II Samuel 24:1ff). So was Ananias & Saphira’s greed (Acts 5:3) and Saul’s jealousy/anger (I Samuel 16:14-23). That’s why, when talking about spiritual warfare, Paul says we are to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:4-5). Not only can Satan’s forces put wrong thoughts into our minds, they can snatch right thoughts out of our minds (Mark 4:15) so we forget them.
LESSON FOR TODAY2: Feelings and emotions are fine, important and necessary. They are icing on the cake of life. They add color and enjoyment to life. God created them for this purpose. But He didn’t create them to be the source of our decision-making. Our feelings should be dependent on our rational thought. When our feelings get ahead of it or away from it then trouble comes. You know in your mind that you are an OK person, yet in your emotions you fear you will be rejected. When feelings aren’t founded on the truth they can easily mislead. The truth is that you are a fine person, but your emotions reject that truth and try to do the ‘thinking’ themselves. We need to let our mind explain reality to our emotions. We must be very, very careful not to follow our emotions when they differ from our rational thoughts. One of the greatest needs of our emotions/feelings is security. This is closely related to love so we could say the core of our heart is love/security. Love must bring security but doesn’t always do so. Other factors can tribute to our security as well.
Not long after writing to the Corinthians Paul wrote to the Romans about one of our most dangerous emotions: fear. He reminded his readers that God does not give us fear (Romans 8:15). Any fear we entertain comes from the flesh, our sin nature, the part of us that tends to sin. We had this before salvation and still have it after salvation.
LESSON FOR TODAY 3: Fear is one of Satan’s biggest weapons. Demons are often behind it and use fear (Romans 8:15). If it takes the form of insecurity, anxiety, worry, preoccupation with problems, or whatever, it is still fear. Demons put fear of David into Saul (I Samuel 18:10-15) and put fear and terror into Eliaphaz by gliding by his face (Job 4:15). Anything not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). God does not give us fear (II Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15), so if you experience fear realize it is not from God but from Satan. This doesn’t mean it is always through demonizing, for you can be attacked with fear without being demonized.
Fear takes root when we choose to focus on circumstances instead of God. Peter walking on water is a good example. When his eyes were on Jesus his faith was strong, but when he looked at the waves they grew (in his mind) to be greater than Jesus’ power. Thus, he started sinking. He then did the right thing, though, and put his eyes back on Jesus.
Trust is the antidote to fear. How can we understand trust, what it means and how it works? I think understanding how a family should work is the best answer. God established a family relationship to answer all those questions. He is the Father; we are the children. Do your children trust you? What do they have to do to earn your love? What do you expect of them? It’s exactly the same with us and God. Jesus says we are to be like little children in order to learn faith and trust. Let your children teach you. Put yourself in their position – with a Perfect Father.
Thank God for your feelings and emotions and the richness they add to life. If you have problems controlling any of your emotions, pray about it now and turn them over to Him. Write down some scripture truth you can read to help your mind explain re3ality to your emotions when they threaten to get away from you.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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