Mind - Control Your Mind - Ephesians 6 and 2 Cor.10 - February 28, 2010
Bible Study – Mind – Control Your Mind – February 28, 2010
This is our final study in the series entitled “Battle for the Mind.”
Our scripture is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-17.
This has been an interesting series of study. I have been pondering what we have been studying for the past few weeks. As believers, we have been saved from the consequences of our sin and eternal death. We are born-again into the family of GOD, filled with and indwelled by the HOLY SPIRIT, given the gift of eternal life. Our citizenship is in heaven, we have direct access to GOD 24/7, we may address GOD as Daddy and we are made righteous through CHRIST’S passion. Believers have the presence of GOD in them and the power that comes from GOD through the indwelling HOLY SPIRIT, so why aren’t they more effective? Each believer has to examine his/her life to be able to answer that question. My answer is that my flesh still gets in the way.
Each believer is in the process of sanctification, which is the process of being made into the image of CHRIST. GOD has equipped each believer with the necessary tools to accomplish this. The missing and vital ingredient is our will. GOD gives each believer the freedom of choice. This is the battle for the mind. It is not to make robots out of believers but it is the battle for the very seat or core of our inner being where choices are made. It is believers choosing the mind-set to either follow the dictates of the flesh, Satan, or the dictates of the Spirit, GOD.
Believers live in a world ruled by Satan. Believers become the enemy of Satan the instant they receive CHRIST as their SAVIOR. Satan’s job is to defeat and destroy every believer. That is why CHRIST has equipped every believer with HIS power, HIS assurance and all the things necessary to live in unity with HIM, which is the victorious Christian life. That is why every believer must remain in unity and relationship with CHRIST or else Satan will defeat him/her on earth. Being a Christian is not passive but active.
Believers will not lose their salvation because they have been born into GOD’S family. Just as you were born into your family, there is nothing you can do to change who your parents are. You can change your name and move away to distant lands but your parents will forever be your parents. The same is with GOD. Once you have been born into the family of GOD, through the miracle of the rebirth, there is nothing you can do which will change that fact.
So how are you born into GOD’S family? Ask CHRIST to forgive you of your sins, believe that HE shed HIS blood upon the cross and died for your sins and was resurrected from the dead. The resurrection of CHRIST is proof that CHRIST paid the price for sin and was the acceptable sacrifice for the sins of all who will believe. The victory has already been won by CHRIST.
So why do believers still have to do battle with Satan? Believers are born-again but GOD has chosen for them to remain in their bodies on earth to obediently serve HIM, grow and mature spiritually. Thus believers are housed in their bodies of flesh which have not been redeemed. The process of sanctification is the process of the HOLY SPIRIT working from within to produce and bring under control a believer’s flesh. But again, GOD gives every believer the freedom of choice or mind-set to choose.
Every believer is in a spiritual battle 24/7. Paul gives us a glimpse of the spirit world and Christian warfare in the following scripture.
Let’s read Ephesians 6:10-12:
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics Or schemes, or tricks of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. Eph 1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10
The Apostle Paul had addressed the importance of unity in CHRIST to the Christians at the church in Ephesus. He concluded his letter with a strong command using the word “finally.” In essence he was saying, “Pay attention to this because it is important.” The phrase “be strengthened by the LORD” in the original Greek is passive and imperative. It carried the idea that neither the church [nor Christians] can make itself [themselves] stronger as the result of its [their] own strength. GOD is the only ONE WHO can make the believer stronger and only to the extent he/she is willing to put on the full armor that GOD provides. Believers cannot choose which pieces of the armor they want to put on. They must “put on” the entire ensemble because they are going into battle and do not know what they will encounter during a day. The words “put on” are not an option. As used in this scripture they are a command.
In verse 12, Paul states that believers are in battle. It is a battle for their mind-set. When a believer’s mind-set is on the things above, he/she must suit up for battle. When their mind-set is on the flesh, they are vulnerable and Satan will move in. Many people will comment that, “Surely, you do not believe that Satan is real.” That is what Satan wants people to believe, especially believers. Satan is very real and he is out to deceive and destroy the believer.
Our modern day warriors know the value of dressing for battle and the importance of their dress and equipment because they never know what they will encounter. When our men and women in uniform go into enemy territory each day, they depend on their equipment to protect them and to be available to them at the moment of need. Spiritual warfare is no different. Believers never know when, where or how the enemy plans to attack. Deception is part of the enemies plan to defeat and destroy.
Satan is no different. He is a deceiver and he can disguise himself. The Bible tells us that he can disguise himself as an angel of light - 2 Corinthians 11:14 - 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light.
Paul makes it clear that believers are not fighting against flesh and blood but against – (1) the rulers, (2) against the authorities, (3)against the world powers of this darkness, (4) against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. Eph 1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10
Who are these spiritual foes? They are fallen angels – Satan, demons and evil spirits. Does Satan involve fellow humans to battle believers? Yes. Believers never know where the attack will come from. Many believers innocently wander into Satan’s domain by dabbling in Horoscopes, fortune tellers, séances, tarot cards, reading tea leaves, lucky charms, watching, reading or listening to things that can lure them into compromise and the list goes on. Believers must be ready and prepared at all times to do battle with Satan. When you encounter things that lure you, claim the blood of JESUS and remember the scripture in 1 John 4:4 - 4 You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. That is “Greater is HE (CHRIST) that is in you than he (Satan) that is in the world.” A believer’s protection is the shed blood of JESUS.
This is not to frighten young believers but to alert them to truth and to let them know that victory is in CHRIST. Look to HIM and claim the blood of JESUS if you encounter evil. (We could do an entire study of this but let’s move on.)
Let’s read Ephesians 6:13-17:
13 This is why you must take up the full armor 1 Th 5:8 of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. Ready to go tell others about the gospel 16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
Again, the words Paul used are a command and not an option – “Put on the full armor ---.” Why, because the believer will encounter a formidable foe. Satan is not to be taken lightly. Yes, CHRIST has defeated him but believers remain in their earth suits and are warriors for CHRIST and enemies of Satan. Believers must maintain battle readiness so they can resist in the evil day and having properly prepared, they will not run but will take their stand. If they have properly prepared, when the heat of the battle is over, they will still be standing in victory.
To be properly prepared here is what a believer is to put on:
- Truth like a belt around your waist. The Roman soldier’s waist belt gave him support and held the tools of warfare for him to access in battle. Truth is vital for the believer. This is why believers must know they have encountered CHRIST in a personal way. They have asked CHRIST to forgive them for their sins and to come into their lives. They know that CHRIST is in them by the confirmation of the HOLY SPIRIT. They know the truth because the truth will set them free of doubt. This is the result of being born-again into the family of GOD, building a relationship with GOD through CHRIST and really getting to know HIM, not just knowing about HIM.
- Breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate of the Roman soldier was critical because it protected his vital organs – lungs, throat, liver, etc. Righteousness is vital to all believers. Truth and righteousness go together. Keep in mind that believers are made righteous at the instant they ask CHRIST into their lives. 2 Corinthians 5:21 - 21 He (GOD) made the One (JESUS) who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- Shoes for your feet. The Roman soldier wore shoes with hobnails. Hobnails gave sure footing and prevented the soldier from slipping during battle. The Christian warrior is to know the gospel of CHRIST, which is to know the truth and not to just know about the truth. Knowing truth means that the HOLY SPIRIT has revealed truth to you as you have sought truth through your relationship with CHRIST and reading and studying the Bible, GOD’S Word. Many believers seek truth from fellow believers. They can be good sources but they can be poor sources. It depends upon their walk with our LORD. I found that I had embraced a number of false notions about GOD along the way. False notions about GOD will fail every time and when they fail, believers become discouraged with GOD. The workbook “Experiencing God” authored by Dr. Henry Blackaby and Claude V. King, LifeWay publishers, available at Baptist book stores or Christian bookstores is an excellent workbook to help believers evaluate their relationship with GOD and see truth. When I went through the workbook several years ago, I told GOD, “I was not going from one section to another until HE and I were in harmony with each other. I had issues with HIM and I was sure HE had issues with me.” Be honest with GOD and reveal all your hang-ups with HIM to HIM. That is the only way you will get to truth. GOD can take it. HE already knows how you feel about HIM but when you bring it into the open, then both of you can deal with it. Do it because it will be an awesome experience.
- Shield of faith. The Roman soldier carried a large shield which covered their body. The enemy would dip their arrows into pitch and ignite them and shoot them at the soldier. The Romans had devised their shields such that the flaming arrows would be deflected. Paul likens this to spiritual warfare and Satan and his army shooting flaming arrows at believers. Faith is vital when you are in the thick of battle. It is our faith in CHRIST that is vital. CHRIST has already won the battle. Believers are not to retreat but to stand firm and hold their ground because their faith is in CHRIST’S ability.
- Helmet of salvation. The helmet was vital protection for the Roman soldier. Paul used the word “take” which can also mean “receive.” Salvation is the very core of rebirth. Salvation is from CHRIST. A person cannot earn his/her salvation because it is a free gift as the result of a person asking CHRIST to forgive him/her of his/her sins. Believers’ knowing they are saved is ground zero. Romans 8:16 tells us that – 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,
- Sword of the Spirit. The sword was vital to the Roman soldier. The Roman soldier had a small weapon for hand to hand combat. The soldier also had a larger sword which was used for both offensive and defensive purposes. The Bible tells us that GOD’S Word is a sword in Hebrews 4:12 – 12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. GOD’S Word is a powerful weapon.
By putting on the full armor, a believer is putting on CHRIST and in doing so it is CHRIST who is battling the spirit world through the believer. Paul addressed this in our next scripture.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
3 For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way, Lit war according to flesh 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Some of the Apostle Paul’s critics accused him of walking in the flesh. Paul acknowledged that he, as well as, all believers walk in the flesh and cannot wage war against Satan in the flesh. However, when believers put on their spiritual clothes, they are prepare to do battle in and through the power of the Spirit, which is CHRIST’S power. When believers are fully clothed by GOD, through CHRIST, they are prepared to invade and demolish strongholds, arguments and high-minded things of Satan.
What are strongholds, arguments and high-minded things?
Strongholds are fortresses where Satan has dug in and is well fortified in the hearts and minds of believers and non-believers alike. Flesh attempts cannot penetrate these strongholds. Only the power of GOD can penetrate and destroy. The battle field is the mind, which responds to either the things of the Spirit or the flesh. Believers can get caught up in sin that takes them captive into strongholds such as addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, pornography, the occult, spiritual compromise, anger, bitterness, stealing and the list goes on.
Arguments and high-minded things are arguments against knowing GOD, yielding to HIS will and obediently serving HIM. Being clothed in the armor of GOD allows a Spiritual warrior to deal more effectively with deception and the clever tactics used by Satan. The tools of the spirit-world are revealed and rendered ineffective. The born-again believer must be fully clothed in the armor that GOD provides to allow GOD’S power to penetrate and defeat these strongholds and various arguments and supply the wisdom and strategy that can only come from GOD.
It is wise for believers to enlist fellow born-again believers to join them as prayer warriors when battling strongholds, arguments and high-minded things. This is especially true when you encounter people who have been involved with the occult. When dealing with those involved in the occult, always have at least two believers who are fully clothed Spiritually with you and have a separate group of prayer warriors praying for you and your team as you go into battle.
Keep in mind that “Greater is HE that is in you than he that is in the world.”
Paul ends with “take every thought captive.” When a wrong thought enters your mind, take it captive immediately. Do not let it lie there. CHRIST has already defeated Satan and his army. But this does not mean that you won’t have to be in the battle. Just know that you will be in battles but when they are over, you will be standing firm and even stronger in the LORD because you have seen the power of GOD at work through you.
Be careful after the battle. JESUS sent seventy (70) disciples on a mission trip in pairs to areas where HE was to preach the gospel. When they returned they were excited about the power of GOD. Here is what JESUS told them in Luke 10:17-20:
The Return of the Seventy
17 The Seventy Other mss read The Seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.” 18 He (JESUS) said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash. 19 Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions Gn 3:15; Dt 8:15; Ps 91:13 and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will ever harm you. 20 However, don’t rejoice that Lit don’t rejoice in this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Believers must be careful not to become Spiritually arrogant and self sufficient. Believers must always keep in mind it is GOD’S power working through them. Even Satan can use Spiritual success as an opportunity to capture the mind. Our minds are very active and many thoughts run through them every day. Be carful what you dwell upon. That is why believers must put on the full armor of GOD daily.