Do you ever feel as if your mind is too noisy?
Recently, the Lord has been dealing with me greatly regarding the topic of spiritual warfare. We live in times of great darkness. And Satan is ever mindful of how he can deceive us or distort our views about ourselves, and our God. In addition to Satan’s consistent efforts to gain entrance to our hearts and minds, we have to deal with our own human frailties including a predisposal towards negative thinking and a general lack of faith. Once we realize the true magnitude of the fight in which we are engaged, it should come as no surprise that the apostle Paul urges us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11)
With today’s ultra-fast paced lifestyles, even believers in Christ can sometimes forget to guard their minds from the world and from their adversary, the Devil. Recently, I began noticing that in my own life, the volume in my mind was getting way too loud. Like many people, I have a very busy life. I am responsible for running several organizations including a non-profit Christian ministry and a financial education and media company. All of this, of course, is in addition to my own important family and personal responsibilities. When I finally realized how clouded my own mind was getting, I had to take a step back to re-assess my situation. What I discovered was not pleasant. I had allowed my mind to become infiltrated with “worldly” wisdom. And many times, by the time that you actually recognize that Satan is attempting to gain a foothold in your life, it can be too late.
Friends, whether we realize it or not, we are engaged in a battle. Our opponent knows our weaknesses and he is extremely subtle in his approach. His goal is to increase the noise in our minds and to get us so distracted by “life” that we forget that we are even in a battle to begin with. Many of us may not like the idea that we are in a battle, especially since most of us came to Christ as lost and broken sheep, not trained warriors. Nevertheless, the call that rings forth from the Word of God, and from the stadium of heaven filled with the saints of God that have gone before us, is loud and clear: “Get up and fight!”
That is the exact message that the Lord laid upon my heart recently as I dove headlong into His Word, and into prayer, in search of His wisdom for this spiritual battle. And how are we to “fight” according to the Bible? The answer is simply astonishing. In fact, the primary technique that we are to rely upon is so disarming that the minds of men have resisted it since the day it was revealed.
So, just how exactly do we “stand up and fight?”
We do so by falling to our knees in absolute and utter humility.
To the human mind, this act of “surrender” in the face of battle appears to be the height of weakness. Yet, our weakness and humble “surrender” to God is the ultimate solution in spiritual warfare. The apostle Paul knew this all to well when it was revealed to him that God’s “strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
In fact, the power of Christ working in you – and through you – is your only defense against the demonic strategies of darkness. Again, this principle of “spiritual strength in weakness” is repeated in 1 Corinthians 1:27 which states that “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”
Friend, when you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, surrender to Him, and admit your frailty and weakness, the Lord Himself becomes your defense! Satan trembles at the Christian believer who falls to his knees, acutely aware of his frailities and failures, and calls out on the name of the Lord for help. (See Psalms 34:17)
The enemy desperately wants to draw you out and engage you directly in a match of wits. He is hoping that you will try to defend yourself in your own strength when he comes with a discouraging word. He is longing to entangle you with the spirit of offense that will likely engage you in a battle of the flesh. When we “get up and fight” according to God’s wisdom, we do so by remembering who the battle belongs to: The battle belongs to the Lord.
Friend, you simply can’t win in your flesh. Satan has too much experience and there is not a single believer on earth who is a match for Him. But when we hide ourselves in God through a humble and prayerful attitude, a life of meditation on God’s Word, and by cultivating a quiet mind, Satan will lose everytime. Each time he comes chasing after us in full attack mode, he will find himself staring straight at God. And there is nothing Satan fears more than a direct confrontation with our Almighty God.
Through the years, I have learned some of the most important battles that we will ever face can be won or lost in the mind. Yet, when your mind is not at rest and “quiet” in God, things can go wrong. Most of my greatest weaknesses and failures have resulted from a mind that was too preoccupied with “other things” to hear God’s still, small voice. And when our minds become too loud to hear God’s voice, ultimately we will resort to our fleshly nature, namely pride. Obviously, pride and humility cannot peacefully co-exist in the same heart so one ultimately wins out.
If humility wins, we fall to our knees in utter dependence upon God.
But if pride wins by finding a resting place in our hearts, our downfall is not far behind.
Always remember that guarding your mind is one of the most important keys to winning in spiritual warfare and maintaining your walk with God.
Friends, none of us are qualified to be anything of worth in the Kingdom of God. We are utterly and totally dependent upon God’s wonderful grace and mercy for our very breath and our very lives. When I consider my own life and my numerous failures, I laugh and wonder why God would choose someone as flawed as me to do anything for His Kingdom. But we do good to remember that when God looks upon us, he chooses not to see our innumerable flaws and past moral failures. Instead, when God looks upon the born again believer, He sees His one and only Son who took up residence in our hearts the day we recognized our sin and cried out for God’s saving grace. God is pleased with you as a Christian, not because of your works or your good deeds, but because He is pleased with His Son, who is now living inside of you. For this reason, the Bible rightly views pride in our earthly accomplishments or our status as the height of vanity. This is why all glory is due to God the Son, and to God the Father for their amazing co-operative work of redemption that extended the hand of salvation to a dying world!
Six Key Strategies For Waging Effective Spiritual Warfare
Here are just a handful of strategies that I have found useful in my own life. By no means have I mastered any of these areas. However, I know they work from experience.
– Daily Bible Reading. Prayerfully choose a book from the Bible to begin reading daily. Commit to reading one chapter a day, preferably before you begin your day. The Bible nourishes your spirit like good food nourishes your body. Read the Word!
– Daily Devotional. Choose a daily devotional to read every evening before going to sleep. This simple act of putting the Word of God into your heart before falling asleep can be a very effective way of protecting your mind.
– Meditate on God’s Word. During the day, ponder and meditate on a Bible verse that you have recently read. Meditating on God’s Word is an especially powerful tool when negative thoughts or emotions threaten your internal peace.
– Pray Often. Learn to share your daily triumphs and concerns with God through prayer. It’s important to not only begin and end your day with prayer. Take time to pray all throughout the day and watch your relationship with God grow.
– Clothe Yourself in Humility. If pride is the armor of darkness, humility is the armor of light. Each and every day, we are all given a choice to act humbly or to express pride. Make it your goal to habitually practice humility and to resist the spirit of pride.
– Cultivate a “Quiet” Mind. Christians have inherited what the entire world is seeking: peace of mind. Our peace of mind comes through being in right relationship with God which was made possible by the redemptive work of Christ. However, some believers have never known true peace because, while their spirits have been redeemed, their minds have never been renewed. As you read and meditate on God’s Word, and give yourself to prayer, your mind will slowly begin to come into line with God’s will. Learn to focus your mind and not allow it to wander all over the place. Your mind can be used for good purposes or for bad purposes. Learn to develop a quietness of mind. It is the quiet mind that can better hear the still, small voice of God.
After reading this brief list, do you have any spiritual warfare stories that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you and learn what God has taught you about spiritual warfare.