Pastor Ricks Test Blog

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The Battle For Your Mind

There really is a battle going on every day. It’s won and lost in our heart and in our mind – so basically in our soul – our mind, our will and emotions. When we bring our soul into submission of the Spirit (who dwells in our spirit) we have harmony with God. I know it can get a little confusing but it’s actually quite simple.

We are not a body with a spirit – we are first and foremost a spirit with a soul, in a body. Some theologians think we are three-part (tripartite) meaning we are spirit, soul and body and other theologians think we are dichotomous (two parts – material and immaterial). Well if we go with the more common one of three-part, it is like this: There’s a soulish part of us that is anti-God and wants to run the show. We start off physically alive, but spiritually dead (thanks to Adam and Eve) and we are trained to live independently of God. When we are born again, our spirit is made alive in Christ and God dwells there by His Spirit. He is IN us! Meanwhile though, we have this body – and the Spirit and soul (or flesh as it is called too) wage war and work their way out through our body in the things we do, and through our mind in the things we think. Clear as mud! HA!

Ok. Here’s the scoop. There really is a devil. He is not wearing a red unitard nor carrying a little pitchfork like the comic strip’s 


, and he’s not an evil little dude or dudette version of you who sits on your shoulder and invites you to do something nasty to your sibling. But there is a very personal wicked and totally active full-on enemy of God who oversees a third of the angels who fell to the earth in rebellion against God (think what that must have been like for Lucifer to convince a third of the angels to go up against the Almighty! Wow.)

Now our battle is against this supernatural being called the devil – in this sense – it is against the principalities, powers and rulers of wickedness in heavenly places  (fallen angels)–which  the devil oversees in the hierarchy or ‘lowarchy’ if you will, of hell. Our skirmishes are not against flesh and blood (meaning people) but against his minions, his hordes, his ghoulies who are right now doing his bidding, pressing on to achieve his goals in ultimate rebellion against God. The strategies of the enemy include waging war “in our members” — meaning our soul – our mind, our will and our emotions. We can choose to be led around by our emotions, by our thoughts and by our desires for base things such as sexual gratification, food and LOTS OF STUFF or we can choose to be led by the Spirit of God whose delight is found in God alone and is fully satisfied in God alone, glorifying and enjoying Him forever.

By the way, a Christian 


 be possessed by the devil, which implies ownership thereof. But they can be influenced or ‘demonized’ as the Bible clearly states.

Good note to self: if you do not pray, you will become prey

The devil seeks to destroy us, (because he hates God) according to John 10:10, which says he comes to steal, kill and destroy. Here’s how he does that. Through fear – he terrorizes us. Through pride or despair – both will do. Through sexual temptation, through doubt and unbelief and through accusation. Those are only a few of the avenues he uses against us. This is why Peter warns us to be alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he 

may devour! Well, he may not

 devour me!
There are two extremes in how most people deal with the devil – ignore him completely & deny he exists or to be overly consumed with him. C.S. Lewis, author of the 

Screwtape Letters, which you should read or get the audio book if you haven’t done so, says in the prelude to that book, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

We are not to be ignorant of the devil’s schemes – don’t let him outwit us – do not give the devil a foothold. You can expel him (by 


 I mean the harassment of demons) from your own life by refusing bitterness, acting in forgiveness, taking away his legal ground and giving him no place to stand (Ephesians 4:26). To be able to say like Jesus, the prince of darkness comes but he has nothing on me… ya that’s our goal. But understand this: we don’t work at this to gain acceptance from God. By His great grace, we are accepted! Therefore we work at this because we want to be more like him! It’s called Grace-driven effort, a phrase coined by someone other than me but I can’t think of who that is at the moment, possibly Dr. Timothy Keller.

Now consider 1 Chronicles 21 when it says that ‘Satan moved King David to number the troops of Israel.”

Did Satan manifest himself in red underwear and tell David he should number the men? No, if he did, David would have said, “get thee hence O underwearer of the underworld!” Nope. What happened was Satan ‘moved’ David – the Hebrew word here means to “prick, or to seduce, to draw away or woo.” Satan introduced some thoughts to David (he can do that just like I may be introducing some thoughts to you now) which got him into a groove of thinking about the troops and war and such and so then it probably occurred to him to count the men, which by the way was forbidden by God as an expression of a lack of trust in God. But David didn’t think they were thoughts from Satan; he thought they were his own thoughts and that he was quite brilliant to boot.

This is how the devil or his groupie ghoulies play on us as well… introduce thoughts to us, influence us, but in such a way that we think they are our own thoughts. “I should steal that, I should go here, or I shouldn’t go there” (church) or maybe “I should punch him out…” etc. He doesn’t come in a tighty red uniform, wave his pitchfork, blow some smoke and fire and speak in a weird voice — OTHERWISE WE WOULD HOLD UP OUR SHIELD OF FAITH AND SLICE HIM TO BITS WITH OUR TWO-EDGED SWORD! No, he is more subtle and strategic than that, just an introduction of a thought, like that in the Garden — “did God really say…?” Just enough to cause some doubt to linger and grow.

In the 

Screwtape Letters, one demon says to a younger disciple…  “When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother’s eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy – if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed.” 

See this is why it is so important to take captive of our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) and make them obedient to Christ. Thoughts come. Arrest them at the threshold. Block them. Handcuff them. Throw them out. Beat them up. Don’t entertain them. Time to leave, thank you very much. Make them obedient. Win the battle for the mind right there and then by taking down every thought and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. Where does that take place? In our heart and in our mind. Bring our soul (mind, will and emotions) into submission to the Spirit. The place of the Spirit is always focused on Jesus. We just need to learn to get there inside ourselves.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “how do you think you will demolish strongholds if you’re not even strong enough to turn off the television?” He has a point. But in our weakness, Christ is made strong. So every time we feel weak, just breathe out the name of Jesus, change your focus, stand strong, renounce the sin, repent and call on Him to strengthen you in the moment. Now live out the truth. Satan’s primary weapon is the lie. So use the truth (your sword) to beat the lie, just like Jesus did.

Go be like Jesus.