Every spiritual battle begins in the mind.
Our mind is a very powerful tool and can either be our greatest ally in spiritual warfare or can be our greatest foe. We can literally defeat ourselves in our mind.
The enemy knows this, and will use it to his advantage every time.
This is why Paul urged us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. (Ephesians 4:23) It is also why we must daily put on the helmet of salvation. (Ephesians 6:17)
Looking back, I can point to times in my life when I was faced with a very important decision; but instead of going to the Lord in prayer, I hastily responded out of fear and anxiety.
Without fail, I have lived to regret that decision – and sometimes greatly.
Instead of taking the time to lay that decision before the Lord and allow Him to bring peace to my heart and mind, and fill me with His divine wisdom, I gave place to that fear and the question it would bring of “what if”.
That questions is one of the most plaguing questions, and it causes us to look to every solution but Christ!
Worry, fear, and anxiety.
They are the demons that hound our minds and continually battle for control of our soul and spirit; and if given even an inch of room, they will overtake us and multiply inside of us until we’re nothing but a frail shell of our former spiritually strong, warrior selves.
There is nothing that can defeat a Christian like worry, fear, and anxiety.
They will drive us to seek answers, comfort, and fill that emptiness we feel in anything other than God.
Even worse, they trick us into relying on our own strength and wisdom for results: that “wisdom” that so suddenly fills our thoughts with dynamic solutions to our problems.
We suddenly think, “Oh yes! Why didn’t I think of that before?”
And we frantically begin planning a path to victory, never realizing that our “wisdom” and dynamic solutions are not coming from God, but are the strategy of the enemy for our defeat.
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How often I’ve been here!
How often I’ve stepped right into this trap in an effort to gain control of my situation, because I didn’t trust God enough to let go and leave it in His hand.
To be sure, I would have moments of surrender, only to return moments later to snatch it right back because I was too much of a control freak to even let God control my situation.
And it was in one such tempting moment that I found myself last weekend, when God promised me to take me on a journey of intense spiritual warfare – if I would only dedicate myself to learn from Him and surrender control once and for all.
Trust – it is my word for 2019.
Ironically, as 2018 drew to a close, I was such a mess that I wasn’t even going to choose a word for the year. It was just one more thing for me to do.
I couldn’t take one more thing to think about.
Then in a flash, during worship at church, as my hands were raised and tears pouring down my face, the word came crashing down on me from heaven.
I have faith – I have a lot of faith. I can believe for big things and march up and down my kitchen floor early every morning declaring that faith with my fist victoriously pumping in the air!
Oh yes – I’ve had faith for amazingly huge things and have seen incredible answers to prayer.
Trust on the other hand is a whole different ballgame.
Trust is being able to take your greatest fear or your biggest dream and let it go in Jesus’ hands.
It is surrendering control.
Here is where I start to squirm, because I don’t surrender control very easily. Or ever. I am far more at ease with my own competence because I can most often do tasks more quickly and with more efficiency.
It’s part of what makes me a poor team player most of the time.
I’ll delegate and then turn around and micromanage my team to death, if I’m not careful.
Thankfully, I’m aware of this weakness and try very hard not to do this — or just try very hard not to have a team for the jobs I care most about.
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But when it comes to spiritual matters and leaving them in the hands of a Being I cannot see or touch, I get very uncomfortable.
You can’t micromanage God!
And His timing and our timing are at odds with one another.
Yet, I’ve seen the results of my so-called efficiency, and I must say, I’m not very impressed.
But how do we silence those plaguing voices in our mind that swirl around with “what if” while stirring up that sickening fear deep in our gut that spreads across our chest with a vice-like grip and paralyzes us with haunting scenarios?
5 Steps to Win the Battle For Your Mind
If we ever hope to be victorious Christians…
If we ever hope to win even one battle in our life…
If we ever hope to mature as believers…
If we ever hope to successfully engage in spiritual warfare, we must – we must – first march into the battlefield of our mind with a strategy for victory.
And not only a strategy, but we must be resolute.
And not only must we be resolute, we must become filled with all the confidence in Christ – because the enemy does not want to relinquish this one powerful area!
1. Recognize your triggers
We all have that one area that triggers worry, fear, anxiety. Maybe we have a few of them.
It is important to identify those triggers so that we can be prepared for when the enemy decides to use them as a strategy for defeat in our lives.
A good soldier is ready and prepared for the enemy so as to ambush him in a striking defeat!
2. Fight back with Scripture
There is no greater illustration for victory than Jesus’ encounter with the devil while in the desert fasting for 40 days.
Jesus didn’t converse with the devil. He didn’t philosophize with the devil. He didn’t argue with the devil. He used one weapon – and its the only weapon we need.
We will be tempted to conjure up ideas and arguments, or have conversations – thinking that this will give us the upper hand.
But can I tell you something?
That, too, is a trap!
The enemy is cunning and crafty, and he has only one agenda: steal, kill, destroy.
You already have the most powerful weapon available to every Christian. It is a weapon of mass destruction. It is a tool for annihilation. And the enemy does not want you to use it.
So he will trick you into arguments and conversations – anything and everything to distract you from using the one weapon that is guaranteed to defeat him.
Here is a path to victory:
- Find Scriptures on peace, victory, and any topic that deals with the triggers in your life
- Write them down on note cards and put them in a prominent place or keep them in your pocket or purse
- Look at them often throughout the day
- Memorize them
- Speak them aloud to yourself each day
- Meditate on them, and reflect on how they impact your life in practical ways
3. Retrain your thoughts – Stop trying to distract yourself
Are you like me?
When I’m bound up with worry and anxiety, I look for ways to distract my thoughts. I’ll listen to a podcast or chat with a friend on the phone.
Anything to get my mind off of what is plaguing me.
Another way I deal with worry and anxiety is to talk about what is bothering me until I’m blue in the face. I’ll drive that thing into the ground for hours, rehashing it over and over and over.
Neither of these are helpful at all.
What is necessary is for us to retrain our thinking.
Rather than allowing our thoughts to roam from one scenario to another;
Rather than allowing those plaguing questions of “what if”;
Rather than frantically planning and strategizing ways for us to get the upper hand in our situation…
we need to retrain our thoughts to remain focused on God’s Word and discipline our emotions to remain at peace, knowing that
- God allows everything for a purpose
- His purpose is always for good
- He works all things for our good
- He has already won the victory
4. Refuse to give up
Have you tried this before already?
Good! Then you need to stay the course. Change will not happen overnight.
For many of us, patterns of worry, anxiety, pessimism, and critical thoughts and attitudes have been allowed to grow for years.
It takes time, determination, and patience to develop new habits.
And while God most certainly can do a miracle by completely altering our thinking patterns, He most often takes us on a journey because He knows the journey carries with it lessons that are vital for us to maintain the victory once we get there.
If you’ve tried these steps a few times and haven’t yet seen results, don’t give up!
So often we give up right on the eve of our victory. God’s Word is sure. Not only can we rely on it, we can base our life on it, and so we can trust with absolute certainty that given time, determination, and patience, it will transform our mind and we will see victory!
5. Gather prayer warriors
Finally, as you take up your sword of the Spirit, don’t forget the weapon of prayer.
There is tremendous power in prayer, and this powerful weapon is so often neglected in battle.
Reach out to your closest girlfriends and ask them to join with you in earnest prayer for victory in this situation in your life.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve partnered with a friend in prayer, only to see a miraculous answer to prayer days later in ways we could have never anticipated.
Ask your prayer warriors to keep you accountable to renewal of your mind as you seek to gain victory over worry, fear, and anxiety concerning your situation.
As we engage in spiritual battles, we will not only face 5 stubborn pitfalls that threaten to trip us up before we even start, but we will also need to gain victory over our mind.
But we can and will overcome wen we do these five things!
Resources for Spiritual Warfare
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