Winning the Battle of the Mind
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
Fear, sadness, even depression are the battles we all seem to fight on some level everyday of our lives. Sometimes it is worse from person to person and day to day. Sometimes there are legitimate medical reasons like chemical imbalance, malfunctioning glands like the thyroid and probably lots of others that can contribute to fear, sadness and depression. That being said though as human beings trying to live for God there is always a spiritual side to things, a spiritual warfare that contributes to these things. We may or may not can deal with the medical issues related to the problems we have but we can deal with the spiritual and mental issues that exasperate a situation.
To survive and be victorious over fear and sadness there are four areas we need to work on:
- We must learn to control our thoughts. This will take re-training your mind from years of stinking thinking. We must realize that the battle in our mind must be won and can be won.
- We need to know who we are in Christ.
- We need to know who the devil is and how to deal with him. He has been defeated and has no power over you any more than you give him. His weapons are fear, doubt and depression. The good news is he cannot read your mind and he cannot control your thoughts. He can interject thoughts into your mind but you don’t have to accept them.
- We need to know how to recognize the voice of God and the voice of the devil, as well as the voice of our own flesh. We must realize that we have the power of choice and we can choose which voice we listen to. Choose to listen to God as He speaks and as He has already spoken in the Bible, God’s Word.
Have you read the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer? If you haven’t please get it. Any bookstore carries it or order from Amazon.com. God used that book to literally save my life. There was a time in my life when I was so afraid. I was afraid that every ache and pain was something serious, I was afraid something was going to happen to my children, I was afraid I would lose my job or I would not have enough money to pay my bills…afraid, afraid, afraid. I was sad and depressed all the time. I didn’t want to live. It got to a point that I thought I was losing my mind and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t sleep. I was tormented by my thoughts. I thought I was at the mercy of my thoughts but this book helped me to realize that I controlled my thoughts and I could choose what I think. I learned a lot about dealing with worry and fear. It exposed the devil’s most formidable weapon against the believer and destroyed the stronghold it held on me. Much of what I am about to share with you is what God has taught me through reading that book and what I have learned since.
First of all realize God has not given you the spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Get this verse in your head and into your spirit. Say it out loud frequently. Every battle you fight in this life will be won or lost in the mind. Some things you cannot control but you can control how you think and how you are going to react and what you are going to do about it.
Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. Negative thoughts create a negative life.
Worry, doubt, confusion, depression (most cases), anger, feelings of condemnation, all these are attacks on your mind. We must learn to: Gain control over our mind and find freedom and peace. Recognize damaging thoughts and stop them from influencing our life. Be patient with ourselves even when we make mistakes. Arm yourself with the Word of God, praise, prayer and other spiritual weapons. Follow the light out of your mental wilderness (bad attitudes and excuses people use that keep them from God) and find undreamed of happiness and fulfillment. I know that is promising a lot. And I don’t come to you as one who has mastered this. But if you knew me only 5 years ago and walked with me on my journey till today you would understand how far I have come believing God, following these principles I am going to teach you. I want you to get free. I want you to learn how to live free.
Do you know we are made up of body, soul and spirit? You have a spirit. If you have been born again your spirit that was dead is now alive again. That is why it is called being born again. You are now a spirit being that has a soul and that lives in a fleshly body. God’s Spirit dwells in you. Your spirit is where your conscience dwells. It is the only part of you that can hear God’s voice as He speaks from His Word and sometimes a still small voice from within. Those voices screaming at you from outside in are not God. They are the devil or the bad programming of years of not thinking right. Your body is the part of us that interacts with the physical world using our five senses. The soul is your mind, your will and your emotions. It is like a bridge between your body and spirit. It is where you make decisions, where you choose. God has given you the power of choice. He does not choose for you. You must choose to follow God’s voice so your spirit will rule over the body. If you continually choose what the body wants then it will rule and the spirit will become weak.
Prov. 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart so is he. What do you think you are? If you think you are weak and fearful, you will be weak and fearful. Find out who the Word of God says you are and train yourself to think that way.
2 Cor. 10:5 says bring every thought captive. Control your thoughts! Where the mind goes the man follows. Get your mind on an ice cream sundae long enough you will go and get one. If you think someone has hurt you long enough you will not treat them right. We can do something about what we think about. You are not at the mercy of every thought that pops in your head.
Did you know you can think thoughts on purpose? Sure you can. And it is important that you do just that! Take some time everyday to have a think session and meditate on thoughts that Bible says. Get one of those Bible promise books or better yet get Joyce Meyer’s The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word. It is a topically arranged easy to carry book. I have taken it in doctor’s office many times while I was sitting in the waiting room reading the verses out loud to keep from becoming fearful. Think things on purpose. It will change you. I know what you’re thinking what about the person who is always thinking bad thoughts and prospers. Well, you don’t know, that person may be miserable inside. You can have all the ‘stuff’ in world and not have peace, joy and happiness. What we think about is important to God. The Bible teaches it is the hidden man of the heart that He is concerned about.
We have to take responsibility about what we think. How we look at ourselves. How we talk about ourselves. It is our responsibility. God put it within our power to do. What you say about yourself affects you. The Bible says we are snared by the words of our mouth (Proverbs 6:2). It affects us. It affects our direction in life, our relationships, you name it. No matter how long you walk with God you will have to confront ‘stinkin’ thinkin’’. Refuse to let your mind be the dumping ground of the devil.
Col. 3:2 says set your mind on things above. Setting your mind is one of most important things you can learn. Setting your mind means making up your mind ahead of time. For example you need to rehearse in your mind in advance what you are going to do when faced with temptation or fearful thinking. If you already have your mind made up what to do ahead of time then when it comes you will know exactly how to react. Athletes prepare ahead of time and train themselves. Lawyers prepare them selves ahead of time. Why shouldn’t Christians do the same? For example: I am not going to gossip. I am not going to fear. Then that tape will play back in your mind when the time comes. That way your emotions don’t drive you. You know what you are going to do ahead of time. Whatever it is. Talk to yourself ahead of time. Set your thoughts. Get the idea? You program your mind ahead of time. Then you will not be a slave to outside stimulus. This is what Bible calls transforming and renewing your mind (Rom. 12). Decide ahead of time what you will do and don’t react when the circumstance comes.
Renew your mind and keep it renewed. Like a car or house you have to keep it up. It is a continual process. Renew the entire mind Rom. 12 says. Deal with every thought. Don’t condemn yourself just move forward. It takes a while. It took a while to get this way it may take a while to get free. I might not be where I need to be but I’m not where I was yesterday. It takes commitment. You have to study the Word of God, you have to do some thinking on purpose. Write notes around house. Have think time daily. Think on the right things: And write down what to think for the day if that will help. Post notes everywhere with what Bible says and when you come to one take time to read it out loud. It is important to speak it. When you speak you hear it and your faith is increased: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The devil hears it too and he has to flee. God hears it and as you come into agreement with Him He comes to your aid.
1 Peter 1:13 says, “Gird up the loins of your mind”. What does this mean? In olden times they wore a robe and they would grab their skirt and pull it up and tuck it in their belt so they could run and nothing would hinder them or trip and make them fall. Maybe you have seen your granny do this to work in the fields. So gird up the loins of your mind is to get all the junk out of your way that hinders you, or that would trip you and make you fall.
Think on purpose. Think things like: I am in right standing with God. I have rightness when I stand before God. Convince yourself of this and don’t play that record over in your head that something is wrong with you, or we don’t dress right or we’re not like someone else or there must be something wrong with me because I don’t have as many friends as some people. First thing He gives is righteousness. You may do things wrong but who you are has nothing to do with what you did. My children may do something wrong but they are still family. They still are my children. They are still in right standing with me. You are in right standing with God even if you mess up. Just go to God and ask His forgiveness and He will forgive you (1 John 1:9). God knows our heart. He knows we are on a journey and He knows it will take time. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Don’t dwell on bad you did. And don’t give fear a chance to have its way.
I have heard someone say that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Studies have been done that say 90% of what we worry about never happens. Fear and worry are like a big old magnifying glass that makes things look bigger than they actually are. It turns molehills into mountains. Break that magnifying glass! Worrying doesn’t help. It only makes things worse. There are usually only two things we worry about: things we can do something about and things we can’t do anything about. Well, if you can do something about a situation, then do it. If you can’t do anything about a situation then there is nothing you can do to change it. In either case it doesn’t make sense to worry. Worry and fear are the opposite of faith. Worry and fear only stress you out and make things worse.
2 Cor. 5:17 says you are a new creation. New inside, not necessarily outside but whatever you struggle with the seed of God has been planted in you, Christ. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22). It is there in a SEED form. You have to water it. You have to nurture it for it to grow. In God’s economy you first believe, then you see. In world they don’t believe till they see. You have to start by believing. Most of our trouble is because we don’t believe. God’s economy seems backward. For example the Bible says give, and it will be given to you; surrender and you will be victorious. Don’t believe what you see, walk by faith and not by sight. He would not tell us to have joy if we couldn’t. He wouldn’t tell us to be patient if we couldn’t. It is in us but as a SEED. Bible says to water that seed with the Word. If you need more faith, patience, whatever, get in Word and find out what it says about it and the more you study about it and apply it the more you will have. The more you don’t react and instead act like Word says the more that seed is watered and the more it grows. Don’t give up. If Bible says you are something, BELIEVE IT. Then water it by living it out according to Word and you will become more and more like it.
How would you like to have a mirror that when you looked in it you saw the perfect person, no flaws, just all you wish you could be? Well, looking in Word is like looking in a mirror. But unlike mirror that shows our flaws the Word shows us who we are in Christ. God sees us as we can become not as we are. He sees the image of His Son when He looks at us. That is the way you have to view the Word of God. I think most people focus so much on the Bible as a book of don’ts. If you would focus more on the do’s the don’ts would take care of themselves.
Take Gideon. He was hiding in a pit afraid of his enemy, grinding wheat for bread afraid. An angel of the Lord showed up and said ‘Gideon, thou mighty man of valor’ Gideon reacted like most of us would. He said, basically, ‘who me? I am least in my tribe and my tribe is least of tribes’. The angel repeated himself and told him to come up out of pit and God would use him to deliver his people from their enemy. (Judges 6-7). God sees us as He knows we can become but we have to walk in it. We have to believe. God is not mad at you. You have right standing with God. Relax and the love of God will bring you into performance. It is about what God did, not about what we do. If it was up to us we would constantly be trying to please Him and waiting for Him to crush us when we mess up. One thing you need is to know who you are in Christ. Look at the next page. This is who the Word says you are in Christ.
WHO I AM IN CHRIST
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:5 I am a branch in the true vine of Jesus Christ..
Romans 8:1-2, 31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me, neither can I be separated from the love of God.
Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and one with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Romans 8:28 I am assured that all things work together for my good.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 I am the temple of God’s Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in heavenly places.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
You should keep a copy of this with you in your car or wherever you can pick it up the most. You should look up a few of these scriptures everyday. You should confess with your mouth out loud what these statements say. Eventually your mind will become renewed and transformed. You will be like the orphan who never knew who he was and one day a rich powerful man showed up and claimed him and gave him a name and an inheritance. This is what Christ did for us. We are not orphans abandoned to survive best we can in this world. He has given us His name. We are joint heirs with Jesus. Romans 8:17 says “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint–heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
We have favor with God. That means it isn’t up to us, God bestows favor on us because of what was accomplished in Christ, not what we did. Read 2 Cor. 5:14-21 out loud. It is about what God did. Get excited about what God has done. Jesus didn’t die so you could have a religion. He died so you could have a deep relationship with Him. God is not about rules and regulations. We need to change our way of thinking. We are the righteousness of God in Christ. Righteousness simply means we have right standing with God. We aren’t slaves to religion and traditions and man’s rules. If we have a relationship we don’t have to be told what to do. We want to do right. We want to live right before God. God loves us. We have right standing with God. Think like this and you will feel His presence. Truth overrides facts. We have the truth of the Word of God. Who you are is not about what you do. That doesn’t mean it is alright to live wrong. God will convict us lovingly if we do wrong but it doesn’t change who we are in God.
Think about this. Rom. 5:12: Death came into world by one man V.15 We are right because of one man, Christ. If we can accept sin came into us because of one man why can’t we believe our sin is taken care of because of one man, Christ? Receive daily what Word says you are and walk in what He has done. Talk back to the devil and to yourself and let them know who you are in Christ, in right standing with God. If you do something wrong ask forgiveness, repent and then stand right before Him. Read 2 Sam. 9, the whole chapter on your own. Story in a nutshell is David is king now and because Jonathan and him were in covenant with each other even though his father, Saul, did him wrong, David looked for someone in his family to bless. God is looking for someone to bless. He will bless someone who is looking to be blessed by God. Most of us aren’t looking for God’s blessing. We are wallowing in who we have convinced ourselves who we are. Mephibosheph was living in Lodebar. He was related to King Saul. Mephibosheph called himself crippled and a dead dog when he could have sat at king’s table, owned land and more. He finally got up and sat at the king’s table though lame. What does that say? It says we can still sit at king’s table with flaws. By at least sitting at his table we show we are making an effort. You live the way you think in your mind who you are.
Secondly, we must not give in to fear. By virtue of him saying to so many people not to fear proves they feared. He constantly said fear not. He knew they feared and he said deal with it. Don’t give in to the spirit of fear. He told Joshua to have great courage and meditate on Word day and night. Joshua 1:1-9 says: “1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ minister, 2Moses My servant is dead. So now arise [take his place], go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites. 3Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you, as I promised Moses. 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon to the great river Euphrates–all the land of the Hittites [Canaan]–and to the Great [Mediterranean] Sea on the west shall be your territory. 5No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. 9Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Go forward. No matter how you feel. Do what God has said to do. Do NOT FEAR. Set your mind ahead of time not to bow down to fear. You will be afraid but when it comes don’t bow down to it. Make up your mind ahead of time not to bow down to fear. You receive from devil through fear, we receive from God through faith. Fear is the devil’s version of faith. It is devil telling you the opposite of what Word says about you. How will you recognize the devil’s lies if you don’t know God’s Word. Do you believe God is on your side? What does it say in Rom. 8:31-39: 31, “What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]
32He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
33Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]
34Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?
35Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?
36Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.
37Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
38For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,
39Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Then why be afraid? Are you listening to what people think? Statistically 10% of people aren’t going to like you no matter what you do. So, don’t worry about what people think. Luke 12:5 Don’t fear people, fear God who can destroy soul and body in hell. Think about it, the same God who has the power to destroy us in hell is saying,”Don’t be afraid. I am on your side.” If He is for us who can be against us. Even if we die trying we will be in heaven! You can think what you want and you don’t have to let people or anything tell you what to think.