May 29, 2013
II Corinthians 10:3-5
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
When planning to engage an enemy in battle, we must know where the fighting is going to take place. You see, if we meet our enemy on heavily wooded mountains, the strategy – and even our choice of weapons – will be different than if we are fighting in a desert setting.
It seems too many Christians are not aware of the arena in which our enemy, the devil, wars. But Paul makes it quite clear in II Corinthians 10:3-5, and I especially like the way it is translated in the King James Version:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons
of our warfare are not carnal [of the flesh], but mighty through God to the
pulling down of strong holds); 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….
Do you see three key words in this scripture that indicate just where it is that we are to meet our enemy? “…imaginations…knowledge…thought….” What do these three words suggest? Why, the mind, of course! It is in the mind where our battles with the devil are fought. And if we can win the battle of the mind, then we can win the battle over temptation and sin – over our general tendency to rebel against God, allowing Satan to have his way with us.
There are other scriptures that support this concept. In Proverbs 4:23 it says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” To the ancient Hebrews, the concept of the heart in this context was much more than the beating, blood-pumping organ. It would be similar to what we might mean when we say “I believe with all my heart….” But it even goes beyond that. It means the whole inner person, and includes the mind. So we could say, “…out of the mind – the whole inner person – spring the issues of life.” Jesus said it this way in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” He could well have said, “…out of the abundance of the heart the hands move…the feet walk…the life is lived”! Any action that comes out of our life goes through the mind first, however briefly!
A left turn here – If this is true, then there is no such thing as an unpremeditated murder – or any unpremeditated action! That sure would throw a wrench into the works of the legal defense system!
But back to our premise – If all our actions first go through the mind before they are manifest in our life, then it stands to reason that if we win the battle of the mind, we win the war over Satan and sin! So the time to defeat the devil’s suggestions, leadings and temptations is not when we are about to do them, it is when the first inkling of doing them comes into our mind!
All this points to another of Satan’s tactics – he has access to our minds! Now, there is no indication in the Bible that he can read our minds, but he has made a study of human beings generally – and you and me individually – to know our weaknesses and where to plant temptations that work best to lead us into sin. So it behooves us to also study human makeup generally and especially our own selves – our weaknesses and our strengths – specifically. As was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias, take heed to the admonishment, “Know thyself.”
So the spiritual battleground is the mind. And if you control the battle of the mind, then the words and actions that come out of your life will reflect that victory – all for God’s glory!