The above photo, taken in Peru during my 2015 teaching mission, shows the battle between choosing God (represented by the cross here) and the billboards representing the world’s temptations. There is a continuous battle for our minds. The Bible warns us of this and provides tools from God so we can resist selfish pursuits and win over sin. It is a spiritual battle waged by Satan against all who would desire to follow Jesus. It is also a battle between what God’s word calls the flesh and the Holy Spirit. Sin and evil begin in the mind but so does victory in Jesus. As Proverbs 23:7 says, what a person thinks in his heart so is he. We are commanded to love God with all our minds (Mark 12:30). So, it is not enough to merely love God with our emotions but with the thoughts in our minds. The transformed mind as described in Romans 12:1-2 results in a life that is faithful, fruitful, and effective for God. If you are willing to heed God’s counsel, you will win this battle (Genesis 4:7).
Romans 8:5 also warns us of succumbing to sin. We are reminded of the battle for our minds but also of the solution to our daily dilemma. The apostle Paul presents a clear choice that each of us have before us: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; But those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (NIV)
Paul continues to say that if one’s mind is controlled and directed by mere physical feelings and lusts, the ultimate result is spiritual death even while one physically lives. But, if we discipline our minds and yield them over to the full direction of God the Holy Spirit, we will experience life and peace both in our daily living and in our ultimate destiny of heaven (Romans 8:6).
James warns about the ultimate result of uncontrolled sinful thoughts. We need to beware of allowing our ears and our eyes to focus on uncontrolled desires while feeding on the ungodly culture around us. Otherwise, our minds and consciences will accept whatever we feed it. (James 1:14-15)
How can we win over sin and cultivate our minds for God?
- Cover ourselves with the armor of Jesus.
Romans 13:13-14 says: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature”.
- Confidently engage the mind-battle in anticipation of winning.
Lingering doubts are dangerous while we are fighting unseen spiritual enemies -Satan and his demonic forces (Ephesians 6:11-12). Consider the temptations of media, the influence of others and various visual temptations in light of our real enemies in the daily struggle.
- Make a covenant with our eyes and follow the example of Job.
Choose not to allow our physical views to seduce us into the satanic trap of instant gratification and results. Focus our minds on God’s promises to supply our needs in His way and timing (Matthew 6:22,33). It is especially crucial for men to make Job 31:1 a priority in winning the battle for the mind.
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”
- Submit our minds to and feed our minds with the word of God.
Start with Psalm 1:3, Joshua 1:9 and Philippians 4:9. Prayer support from a Christian friend and daily practise of this habit will enable us to submit to God, resist Satan and win the battle which begin in our minds!