As we are moving from looking at all the players on the battlefield to the tactical and strategic advantages we have as Spiritual Soldiers for Christ we will focus on the mind and its importance in the battle.
This battlefield training provides just a few practices for our minds. Some of these will prepare us for battle and others will help us to take the battle to the enemy. We must be mentally prepared for the battles we face and understand the minds of those who don’t know Christ. Let’s dive in!
- Know your mind’s place.
Our minds can be a great asset to us on the spiritual battlefield. Clear thinking and being sober minded are some of the hallmarks of the Christian. As we face the lies of the enemy we must know the truth and walk in it.
The Christian mind is a powerful weapon against the flaming arrows of the evil one. From our conscience to our heart, we are guarded by the mind. Paul talks about the power of the Spirit that reveals God’s wisdom to us through a redeemed mind (1 Corinthians 2:10-13).
The Holy Spirit understands our hearts because our thoughts are open to Him. It’s a mystery how the Spirit has the ability and power to minister in and through us. Our heart and mind are linked together in the Bible.
The spiritual wisdom and truth the Spirit illuminates to us through our minds can’t be understood by the natural person (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). The Spirit is deeply connected with our mind and thoughts. His revelations to us are not understood by minds not surrendered to God.
- Renew your mind regularly.
One practice to protect ourselves against the lies of the enemy and the foolishness of the world system is through renewing our mind. What we think about ourselves can leave the door open to Satan in spiritual warfare if we do not know who we are and how God sees us.
As we live throughout the weeks and months in the world we are exposed to every lie, argument, and philosophy of the enemy. If we do not keep focusing on Jesus and what He says about us, following Him and hearing His voice we will fall prey to the enemy.
The Bible calls us to renew our minds regularly (Romans 12:2). Being renewed transforms our minds so we are not susceptible to the thinking of this world. Our patterns of thinking as we live behind enemy lines can be influenced by the world in ways that do not please Christ.
We must discern God’s will in spiritual warfare. Our goal is to know what is good, perfect, and pleasing to God and to practice those things as part of our lifestyle. Knowing God’s will transforms our lives and thinking.
So how do we renew our minds? Much of the renewing of our minds happens by God’s hand rather than our own. This passive verse shows us that when we spend time in prayer, God’s Word, and His presence He can do a work in our minds.
Praying to the Lord keeps us in tune with God’s perspectives and power. We don’t get caught up in worldly values and get picked off by the enemy one by one. Staying connected to Jesus through reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing God’s Word keep Jesus before us.
Many times we read the Bible quickly to check off a list of passages for each day. But we must learn to read the Bible for comprehension and spiritual power instead of anything we are told we must do. We cannot get the power of God from Scripture if we don’t give the Spirit the attention and focus to change our hearts and minds as we read.
When you read Scripture, focus on quality rather than quantity. Don’t worry about getting through so many chapters a day. Try to take a book at a time, or a passage. Read the passage wants to get an idea of the discussion. Read it a second time more slowly and focus on the connections between ideas. Read it a third time to focus on the words and their meaning.
Memorizing Scripture puts arrows in our quiver to shoot at the enemy. Just as Jesus knew Scripture when He was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11) we must face the enemy with the power of God’s Word. He cannot defeat or destroy God’s Word.
But memorizing only helps when we know how to use what we have memorized. We must study the Bible so we know the context and how to use the Scriptures in the most powerful ways during spiritual warfare.
When I begin studying the Bible I start with prayer. I ask the Spirit to guide me in my reading and understanding first. Do as much of your own study and understanding as you can next.
Then use Bible helps from Bible handbooks, study guides, commentaries, and books by Christian authors to help you learn the Bible’s big picture and guide you through the passages and verses of the Bible. Join a Bible believing church and Bible studies.
Meditation helps you to ruminate over Scripture, hovering over the words and concepts, so you can easily remember it in the midst of battle. As we will see when we talk about the sword of the Spirit in the armor of God the Word of God is powerful to break down strongholds.
Christian meditation is different from Eastern meditation. In Eastern meditation people empty their minds and listen to themselves. But we want to hear God’s voice instead of our own. Christian meditation fills our minds and hearts with God’s Word. His words to you become the foundation of your thoughts and actions.
Take two or three verses at a time and repeat them to yourself in your own voice. Think about each word as you speak it. What does it mean in that moment to you and your situation? What is the Spirit speaking to you through these verses? Go over the verses until you can almost quote them. Return to them in your mind throughout the day. Go through them again without the text in front of you.
We also renew our minds by thinking on good and godly things (Philippians 4:8). Paul presents eight different things we can think about that honor God with our thinking instead of focusing it on worldly thoughts. Allow God to change the way you see yourself and the world as you use these tactics to renew your mind and prepare you for spiritual war.
- Put on the helmet of salvation.
The helmet of salvation is one of the pieces of armor you put on every day. We will be talking about the armor of God in later battlefield trainings. But I wanted to mention the helmet of salvation because of its power to protect our thinking.
The enemy will challenge Jesus’ transformative work in us through His salvation. He will tells that we’re not really saved. He will accuse us of all our sins. He will attempt to change our thinking through worldly philosophies and principles.
But the helmet of salvation keeps our minds focused on Christ. We can defend our thought processes against the evil one. I will go into more detail about the helmet of salvation in a later battlefield training. But just remember to put your helmet of salvation on every day to protect your mind from the onslaught of the enemy. Don’t become an easy mark.
- Demolish strongholds against God.
While the first three battlefield practices and tactics keep our minds sharp and protected from the enemy and his fiery darts these last two are weapons for offense. If your mind is not protected by the first three practices you won’t be as effective in these practices.
Paul talks about the spiritual weapons of our warfare that are powerful for destroying the strongholds in this world (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Twice Paul teaches that we do not wage war by the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:12). Our battle is with Satan and his allies.
We don’t attack people. We use the weapons of our mind to attack the arguments and philosophies of this age and world. We must first discern that we are fighting a spiritual battle, not a physical one. Then we must use mental weapons for spiritual success and victory.
These spiritual weapons of the mind break down every argument, opinion, and philosophy that stands opposed to our God and His ways. Because Satan is the prince of the power of the air for now (Ephesians 2:2) he has had the time to set up ungodly systems and philosophies in this world.
We stand against him and his worldly systems by proclaiming the truth of God and demonstrating it with our lifestyles. Everywhere we go we expose the darkness with the light of the gospel. When people suppress the truth we share the knowledge of God.
Defensively, we can patrol our own thoughts and take them captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). As we evaluate our thoughts we make sure that they are godly thoughts instead of worldly ones. And we surrender them at the foot of the throne of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us discern God’s truth from the lies of the enemy and his world systems.
- Bring Jesus’ light to darkened minds.
The Bible describes the minds and hearts of the people in this world as foolish and darkened. By suppressing the truth about God (Romans 1:18) people whose minds are blinded by the enemy have darkened thoughts and futile thought processes (Romans 1:22).
This kind of thinking does not lead to wisdom or godly success. Instead it creates foolishness, and futile thinking produces futile action. They are treading water, pedaling an exercise bike that goes nowhere. They wonder why their hard work produces nothing, why hard earned money goes to waste, and why they aren’t getting ahead in life. It’s because their stinking thinking gets them nowhere.
God gives them over to the futility of their thinking. Everything they do is for themselves and never lasts beyond their lifetime. Their legacies are empty. Humanity under Satan’s control never moves forward.
The Bible further describes unbelievers around us as ignorant in their understanding, futile in their minds, darkened in their understanding, hard-hearted, and callous (Ephesians 4:17-19). This kind of thinking leads to actions that hurt others and don’t glorify God.
In spite of the darkness in the minds and hearts of people around us who don’t know Christ we shine the light of the gospel and expose all of these things to them. We show them that Jesus has a better way for them. And we make Jesus appealing to people. This is a huge part of God’s power through us to break down these dark spiritual thoughts in the minds of unbelievers.
These five battlefield practices for the mind protect us from the lies and attacks of the enemy. But they also give us weapons to take the fight to the enemy. Satan clouds the judgment and understanding of those captured under his rule.
Jesus gives us the ability to expose the truth of who He is and His transformative power to rescue them from the darkness all around. We shine the light of God’s truth on darkened thinking and show the way to freedom. What are some ways you fight darkened thinking of this world?
We have seen how Jesus gives us weapons for mental warfare in the spiritual realm to change the thinking of this world to godly perspectives. Next we will look at the authority of the believer in spiritual warfare. What kind of authority has Jesus given us to fight evil spiritual forces we encounter?