The battle for the control of your mind goes on relentlessly, the question is, are you winning or losing?
How many of us have done things that we deeply regretted later? Have said things we wish we hadn’t? Thoughts we wish we could remove, find ourselves confused and uncertain. Circumstances in which we feel inadequate, these things have happened to all of us at one time or another.
But it doesn’t have to be that way; does God intend that we be wide open to and unable to rid our minds of wrong influences? Does God intend that our minds should be prey to all that causes agonizing hours of mental torment, and even sometimes permanent damage?
The answer to these questions is no, but what God does do, He shows us that we can control our emotions, thoughts and actions. God reveals in the pages of the Bible how we can win the battle for our minds.
We know that every action originates in the mind, we think, and then we act. But how many of us forget that there are forces that influence our thinking?
Eve was created with the ability to think, but when she first tested out this great power endowed on her by God, she did not do so independently. Her thinking was influenced. The force which acted upon her mind, very subtly and cunningly was Satan the devil.
Flip Wilson, the black comedian, would use in his routine, “the devil made me do it!” It was intended at somewhat of a joke. But the fact is, Satan’s influence is no laughing matter is it?
The Apostle Paul writes “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1-2). Satan is broadcasting his wrong attitude twenty-four hours a day.
In Job 32:8 and I Cor. 2:10-12 God tells us that “there is a spirit in man.” This spirit imparts the power of intellect to the human brain; it is through this spirit that Satan is able to communicate to all of humanity. The spirit in each human being, unless we determined through God’s Holy Spirit to jam or reject its impulses, is tuned in on Satan’s wavelength, and Satan is powerfully able to influence our minds.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing whose minds the god of this age has blinded who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God should shine on them” (II Cor. 4:3-4).
In other words, Satan has fostered a way of life which we could, if we are not wary, unknowingly follow. Satan’s way is the way of death, and unless we know how to fight that way, we shall lose the battle for life, that is eternal life.
You and I, members of Gods’ true Church, are engaged in a literal life and death struggle. If we are to win this battle, we must be able to recognize just how great Satan’s influence is, and understand the basic steps we must take to ensure victory.
First of all, it is not enough to eliminate the obvious sins in our lives; we must also actively resist the wrong influence of this society. God tells us “Therefore submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7-8). But how do we do this: “draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hearts, you sinners and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (v. 8).
Members of God’s Church are in a spiritual battle, and it requires spiritual help. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against a spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand” (Eph. 6:12-13).
Our fight is a spiritual fight for the control of our minds, but God is a Spirit, therefore He is able to provide the spiritual help we must have. We must have His help, or we will lose this battle, and will lose eternal life God is offering us.
Notice what God inspired Solomon to write: “Keep my commandment and live, and my law as the apple of your eye” (Prov. 7:2).
But why? “For the commandment is a lamp and the law a light, reproofs of instruction as the way of life” (Prov. 6:23). Just what is Solomon saying to us? God’s law illuminates a way of life, and it is for our good.
We must come to understand that there is a continuous battle for the control of our minds and one point of God’s law stands out with greater importance.
“Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying. Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind” (Matt. 22:35-37). Did you catch that last part: “your entire mind?”
Jesus pointed out what should have been obvious, yet it wasn’t; the people of Jesus’ day never grasped that one commandment.
But what about us today, we don’t bow down to false gods, we don’t rely on icons, idols or images. We don’t use profanity; we may not steal or cheat, most of us keep God’s Sabbath, in fact, in general we are a commandment-keeping people. The question is; have some of us been living this way of life, keeping the commandments of God, yet actually failing in the greatest commandment of all?
Why is the first commandment the greatest? Because it is the key to spiritual zeal, character development, the right control of the mind and the abundant life which Christ intends us to live. The source of all these qualities is God. They are spiritual qualities and we can attain them only with spiritual help from our Creator. This first commandment is the key to obtaining the help we need from God. God must have first place continuously, God will not play second fiddle to anyone or anything. Jesus Christ emphasized this commandment when He said “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33).
The word “seek” is in the present continuous tense. In other words we must seek God’s way not only at baptism, but throughout the entirety of our lives. God must remain in first place. But how can we ensure that we are really seeking God first?
The building material of life is what – time? Our life consists of just so much time. God has given us so much time to build character, so this is where we must start in seeking God.
“See then that you walk carefully not as fools but as wise redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15). How do we go about doing that? How do we accomplish this vital goal? We have to begin by realizing that the basic period of time revealed in the Bible is the day.
Remember what Jesus said to the disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).
Now God divided this basic unit of time into two separate parts: daytime and nighttime. What is the purpose of daytime? “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night or darkness” (I Thess. 5:5). This is the time we are to be doing the job that God has given us, so this is really important time.
“God called the light day, and the darkness He called night” (Gen. 1:5). So the night is merely the time of preparation for the activity of the next day. The nighttime hours prepare us for part of the very purpose of man’s existence to enjoy the labor of his hand.
“Here is what I have seen; it is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God had given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor, this is the gift of God” (Ecc. 5:18-19).
Since Satan is the god of this world, what does his people do? The real activity time of this world takes places at night, much of what is glamorous takes place under artificial light. Most people seek entertainment at night, and they don’t stop until fatigue overtakes them, only then do they take refuge in sleep.
The next morning they drag themselves out of bed, shock themselves into wakefulness by drinking coffee, eat a hurried breakfast and reluctantly depart for work.
In order to get the day off right, we need the proper amount of sleep, somewhere between 7 and 8 hours. How is it possible to do the job God has given us, that is to worship God with all our heart and mind, if our minds are not alert, and happy.
How are we going to draw near to God, with a dull, lazy, tired mind? How are we going to resist Satan with this type of mind? If we are going to seek God first, we must do so on a daily basis.
Notice what Paul wrote “Therefore we do not lose heart, even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16). We must spend time with God each day so that we are properly prepared for the battle of the day ahead.
Why is it that we always manage to fit into our busy schedule the many necessary things and the things we like to do? But when it comes to spending time with our Creator, the One we are to love with all our hearts, we only give Him a few minutes of our time.
Knowing we need His spiritual help to overcome Satan’s pulls, how much time do we spend with our Creator, who can give us eternal life?
How much time do we spend eating food, just in the daytime, at least three meals a day, don’t we. Maybe somewhere around a half hour to eat each meal?
What about our spiritual nourishment and spiritual condition is it of any less importance? Is it possible that members of God’s Church spend more time feeding the physical body than we do spiritually? Is our spiritual condition of any less importance? Is it possible to spend less time nourishing ourselves spiritually and get away with it in the long run?
What would happen if we would cut down our physical intake of food, or eat food of low-quality, we would soon begin to pay the penalty? Our resistance level would fall, and we would have less stamina and lack of energy.
In the same way, we weaken ourselves spiritually, if we consistently reduce our spiritual nourishment.
But why do we try to kid ourselves that we don’t have to spend that much time with God; we tell ourselves that we don’t have that much time. In other words the physical crowds out the spiritual.
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22). Jesus is telling us that the misuse of time, taking care or concern for the physical things of this life can prevent us from being fruitful. Can prevent us from loving God with our whole heart.
How many Martha’s do we have in God’s Church? You can read about that in Luke 10:40-41. Maratha wanted Mary to help her in the kitchen to serve the food, but Mary wanted to hear what Christ had to say.
Jesus said in verse 41: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part.”
Now there is nothing wrong with serving, but we cannot allow God to be muscled out by physical activities, that will take us down the wrong road.
Let’s be honest about this; have we really been spending enough time with God? Question: Is time all that it takes, just time, as long as it’s enough? Suppose that you spend an hour or so in Bible study and prayer, does that fulfill God’s requirements?
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats” (Ex. 12:5). In other words this lamb had to be perfect. Only the very best was to be offered for the Passover.
But notice what happened: “And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor, would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably? Says the Lord of hosts (Mal. 1:8).
With this principle in mind what kind of time should we give to God” Shouldn’t it likewise be our best? God doesn’t want us to give Him merely enough time, He wants prime time, and this is for our good.
How often do we give God the dregs, the crumbs, the leftovers, we are fatigued, tired, jaded, just going through a ritual?
Luke tells us in Acts 13:22 that David was a man after God’s own heart. David was a busy man, when did he seek God?
“I rise before the dawning of the morning and cry for help I hope in your word” (Ps. 119:147). “My voice you shall hear in the morning O Lord, in the morning I will direct it to you and I will look up” (Ps. 5:3).
Just from these two verses, it seems that David was excited about the opportunity to seek God and he rose early to do so. David knew when prime time was, David discovered a living law: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You, my soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for you. In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory” (Ps. 63:1).
Notice what David’s son Solomon wrote “I love those who seek me. And those who seek me early shall find me” (Prov. 8:17). The great servants of God sought Him early in the morning. Why is this? Because the mind is most impressionable in the morning. Information put into the mind early in the morning is usually more indelibly printed than at any other time of the day. Thoughts impressed into our minds early are deeply imprinted.
If we put God’s thoughts into our minds by studying His Word first, our entire spiritual resistance level will rise. We will automatically be better equipped to face the battles and temptations of the day ahead.
Satan’s wavelength is broadcasting 24 hours a day. He never ceases his assault on the human mind. Whether we are ready to fight or not, Satan is already throwing all of his forces in the fray. Satan is waiting for you to declare war. If we are not prepared to withstand Satan’s assault we are already fighting a losing battle. The proper use of our time is the time to win. Don’t be too busy to pray or study God’s Word. Don’t be among the many that will stand before their Creator unprepared, embarrassed, ashamed, wishing they could live their lives over again, so they could rearrange their busy schedules to include God.
Be willing to say with Paul: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” it is our eternity that is at stake.