Topic: War of Thoughts
God is resolutely committed to having those of us who are born of His Spirit operate from the position of power, the realm of dominion where everything Jesus has accomplished will be translated into the physical reality by our presence. We are the “little christs” left behind to put to use all that the Lord Jesus had paid for. The Bible says that by the Church, God’s manifold wisdom will be made known to the principalities and powers. This calls for real combat .When we talk of dominion, I’d like to remind you that it means being lord, it means to master, being able to subdue; being able to rule and have control over situations and circumstances. It entails bringing everything to bow to the will of the Almighty.
One of the reasons we are kept here is to ensure that the will of God is done on earth, the way it is being done in heaven. How do we ensure that God’s will is done here as it is being done in heaven? We do it by making sure that we are in tune with what is happening in heaven and then constantly translate that to the men, women and situations around us.
The way that the will of God is being done in heaven, is not known to the natural man. It is we that will receive the pattern of the heavenly and translate it and enforce it; that is why we use the word ‘dominion.’ To dominate means to compel a thing to be the way you want it. You have the mental picture; you have the spiritual insight as to what the reality is, so you are to compel obedience because you have been empowered to do so. We see this expressed when the seventy disciples went out two by two; they came back excited with a testimony, that even the devils were subject unto them in the name of Jesus. All around us are devils, situations and circumstances that are waiting to be made subject to you in the name of Jesus. It is just for you to arise and begin to walk in this authority. However, the dimension we are going tonight is concerning an important warfare that will precipitate dominion in your own life. If you’ve not been able to subdue your own immediate territory, you cannot carry the war beyond your zone. The way of life is, is that you first of all establish yourself on a stable ground before you can rescue others.
When you start a business and it begins to thrive, then the motivation to expand begins to well up in you. That is extending your area of influence, or scope of dominion. But that thing must have taken root where you started from before you can embark on extending your branches. The warfare that must be consistently undertaken to keep you on that platform of dominion is what I am focusing on tonight. The topic once again is:" WAR OF THOUGHTS"
There is a war that thoughts and our thinking pattern wage on our faith. It is important because when we talk of ‘thinking,’ some people consider it a mere psychological word. But when we look at how the Scriptures present this matter, we see that it is rooted in spiritual warfare. How you think influences how you act. The pattern of thoughts that take root in you determines the pattern of attitude and actions that your daily life yields to. That is to say that you are simply a product of your thought life and that is where life’s battles get really hot. The Bible says in
2Corinthians 10:3-5: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.
5 Casting down imaginations and every high thing that, that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,"
This tells us that we are engaged in warfare. If you connect verse 3 to verse 5 by-passing verse 4 which is in bracket (that means it is just by the way), you will have something like this: " For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
This scripture clearly tells us that we are engaged in a war that involves casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The warfare also includes a dynamic process of bringing into prison, capturing every thought and compelling the thoughts to obey Christ. This is a war which the Bible says is not in the flesh.
What are imaginations?
They are pictorial forms of thoughts, thoughts in pictures, it is all activities in the mind and the mind is the most delicate and the most sensitive instrument in creation. How you behave is determined by what is having dominance in your mind.
What your mind is fed with, will dictate how you will act. In other words, once your thoughts are processed in your mind and they take a seat they begin to unconsciously dictate your actions. Your thought determines your action. Your actions determine the reactions of people towards you. It is how you act that will determine how I will react. When you think evil thoughts about Mr. A when he comes in his innocence and says ‘hello’ with a big smile, because of your thoughts about him, your reaction may be cold towards him and when he senses that coldness, he in turn gives unpleasant response. He actually begins to bear the fruit of the seed you sowed into him.
People’s behavior stem from what they are in their thought life; most times it is not about, what you did or did not do. The problem may not be with you; they are only trying to transfer their problem to you. Some have gathered all manner of junks from different sources of opinion and they unconsciously transfer to others.
What your thoughts produce are so important in determining your ultimate attitude and outlook to life and that is why the Bible tells instructs us about this warfare. Imaginations and high things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God should be dealt with in an attitude of war.
They are described as ‘high things because they represent systems, ideologies and opinions that could beat our human reasoning and capable of overthrowing the faith of some people. They can rise and obscure our vision. The high things are described as exalting themselves against the knowledge of God so they stand at parallel, taking the opposite side of what God is saying and competing favorably through the mechanism of reasoning, to convince you that they are superior. When you give place to these forces they begin to modulate your behavior.
We must see it from the point of view of warfare if not; this message may do us no good. I am not just trying to join the battle against psychologists who tell us about positive thinking. I am telling us that taking control of what we think could be real spiritual battle.
It is more than just being nice in your thinking, you are involved in warfare. It is a battle. There are high things exalting themselves against the knowledge of God. Whatever it is that you know about God they try to contradict. These high things cannot be stopped by mere human power and we can not stop them from operating around us.
You have heard times without number that you cannot prevent a bird from flying over your head. Nobody has got the power to stop a bird from flying over his head. These are high things. There is nothing you can do about that, they are high. You cannot say no bird should fly over your roof. If you are not careful, they will even deposit excreta on your head. You cannot stop that. But you can stop them from making a nest on your head. They can parade around, giving their opinions, showing appearance, trying to distract you, even dropping something; but you have the power not to allow them have permanent accommodation on your head. Because they are thoughts, they just fly about. It doesn’t matter how spiritual you are, all manner of thoughts will fly into your mind and begin to show you things: "Can you see this: You will die tomorrow, you will be poor. Don’t you see your mates, they are all wretched. This country is not going to be helpful to anyone..."
These are thoughts and imaginations. Don’t you see that your car was removed the other day? This is simply telling you that this country is no more secure. All the demons from hell have been let loose."
Thoughts are not material things so you cannot stop them from coming, but you can stop them from having a hold. The Bible says the thing to do is “cast down …" because they will definitely come. While you struggle with these thoughts, nobody knows what battle is going on inside of you till you begin to act it out. These things are capable of stopping your blessings and your progress in life. It is war. They sometime come in the same way that God’s voice will come and not too long humanism and traditions of men are introduced just to deaden you. Somebody said sometime ago and I quote: “Don’t allow tradition to freeze your mind because nothing can grow on ice."
If your mind is frozen, it becomes so cold and unresponsive and no ideas will germinate on it. No matter the beauty of an idea, if you plant it on ice, it won’t grow because no seed grows on ice. Some of us have been so programmed by the traditions of this world that our minds can no longer respond to the Spirit we ease, we have become frozen. "Oh, I can’t risk it bla bla bla," If you don’t take risks, you are not qualified to live on earth. Everything about life is risky and the greatest risk of all is to risk nothing at all.
It is those who are afraid to die that lose their lives. That is the meaning of risk. If you want to live, be ready to die. The Bible says that he who will save his life will lose it. Esther said: "If I perish, I perish," she did not perish.
Every great adventure and exploit in life is a product of calculated risk. The situation we are contending with is that believers are not seeing this thing as war. It is not the type of war that you close your eyes and bind the devil once and for all. This is carried on, on daily basis, making sure that your thoughts are conforming to the thoughts of Christ.
"And bringing into captivity…”
Captivity means to capture, to imprison, to sedate and get somebody grounded, to immobilize, or get something inactivated. It means to lock a person up and make him unproductive. "Bringing all the thoughts," no matter the trade name they bear, whether imported from Europe, or from Asia, wherever they are coming from, first of all, put them in detention until their papers are cleared by the kingdom immigration department . The thoughts must screen to ascertain whether they are admissible into the innermost section of the heart, to the recesses where actions are processed for habits. Watch it! The person releasing illegal thoughts may be a religious man or preacher; as long as they are not consistent with Christ they must be expelled. False doctrines could lead a believer into bondage. There are those that had been taught so much about the devil that they have not enjoyed Christ for one day. They’ve been busy fighting the devil all their life and that alone is captivity. Thoughts that the devil is always in control must be brought into the prison and forced to obey Christ. A thought does not have to be religious or psychic to be arrested. You interrogate the thought thus: "Are you ready to come under Christ? Everything you have to communicate to me must come under Jesus. If they are contrary to what Jesus is saying, get out. If they are not in line with this word of God, I set them ablaze," it doesn’t matter who authored those words.
The use o f such words and phrases as "Casting down, strongholds, captivity connote real war - these are military terminologies in the spirit realm.
In Hebrews 4: 12, the Bible says: " For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Again the word ‘Sword’ reaffirms that we are talking of war. ...penetrates to the joints and marrow. Now, it goes on to describe the function of this sword. The Sword accomplishes piercing of the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrows to ultimately get to the region of “the thoughts and intents of the heart”
That is the goal; that is where the word of God carries out the most sensitive battle! The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It is the only weapon for attack, the others are for defense. When you apply the word, it cuts through your reasoning faculty in the soul into the spirit.
The soul faculty is where you find your emotions, how you feel, how you think and how you respond to things. The word challenges the thoughts and intents of your heart. It examines what your heart is harboring and exposes all contradictions. The word of God as a discerner means it breaks down, analyzes and explores. It is from the Greek word which means to critic.
A critic does not just swallow anything, he checks it out. The word explores and analyzes the thoughts and intents of the heart because once a thought grips your heart, automatically; all the muscle fibers in you will go work to act it out. If you are going to hate a man, it begins with the thought. Immediately the thought germinates, the man you used to laugh with suddenly becomes unattractive. Why? The thought has developed to a stronghold so you start behaving what was programmed by that thought.
You may suddenly begin to see all Christians as hypocrites and the next thing is gradual withdrawal from the church and God’s people generally. If you carefully trace the source, you will discover that it was a thought that came in, somebody or the devil may have planted it but you failed to deal with. The word is a discerner of the thought and intents of the heart. Do you know that any time Jesus reached out to people and they begin to behave funny, the Bible records that he knew their thoughts even before they say anything, he will tell them: "Why think ye so in your heart."
Some went on to him asking questions, pretending they wanted to learn, whereas they were out to tempt him and He would ask them: "But why are you thinking evil in your heart. He was interested in their thought because that is where the issue is. The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of your heart are the issues of life." It is in the heart that decisions (positive or negative) are processed. Keep your heart, don’t allow things to just come in and go out as they please. The ones passing by must pass by; the ones coming to stay must be well screened to be sure they have the right intention.
What makes up the real man?
When God wants to shape us, He challenges us to change our thoughts. When in Genesis 6:5, God got angry with man, He said the thought and the imaginations of the heart of man were evil continually. Genesis 6:5 Evil means that it is contrary to Christ. Evil is that which is not consistent with God; that which is not from God. There are a lot of things that may appear good, but if they are not from God, they are evil.
In Isaiah 55:7-8 the Bible says: "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thought, and let him return unto the Lord for he will have mercy upon him and to our God .For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Please note that this scripture does not express God’s opinion concerning the righteous. I have heard preachers say that God’s ways are not our ways. No, what the scripture says here is that God’s ways are not the ways of the wicked and His thoughts are not like the unrighteous.
God is still interested in our thoughts lining up with His and that is why He has made us His righteousness in Christ.
Isaiah 65:2 “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts." When you rebel, that is when you have aligned your thoughts with the thoughts of the enemy. Rebellion begins with your thought.
When somebody says: “No, no, I won’t give to God, I won’t pay tithe, I won’t give offering...” thoughts have been sown.
Note this phrase ‘…after their own thoughts’ in the above scripture. it becomes your thought when you give it resident permit in your heart so when a thought comes to your mind, it does not matter who supplied it or who asked you to carry it for him, you must give an account of what that thought is doing in your custody.
Proverbs 12:5 says: The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
If you are righteous, your thoughts should be good because you have the mind of Christ. 1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Proverbs 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established."
Of what profit is it to be praying, fasting, reading the Bible and doing all that you know to do, and your thoughts cannot be established? If take stock of your life for many years now, you’ll discover that a lot of problems you got into were as a result of wrong thinking and for you to come out of those problems you must change your thinking. You cannot get out of the problem with the same mentality that got you there. And most of us are so fixed in our ways that when new ideas come and they upset our equilibrium, instead of changing, we resist. That alone, is dangerous.
One of the greatest principles for advancement is having an open mind, ready to receive ideas, ready to expand. The brain is a bundle of cranial nerve tissues and a lot of them are still in the raw condition, unutilized because they have not been exercised by thinking. We need to connect with new ideas that will challenge us beyond our present level. Those who have done great things in history are those who dared to think differently. We must learn to think God, think increase, progress and health.
Our thinking pattern must line up with the word of God. It is in our interest to operate this equipment called MAN in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Every product comes with operating manual put together by the manufacturer. This library of 66 books called the Holy Bible is the manufacturer’s book for man. It tells us God’s thoughts for us Jeremiah 29:11 says: "My thoughts towards you are of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end."
If the devil or any man comes to tell you that God is thinks differently about you, ask him what his source is because the Bible is the reference material.
2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God has given us the spirit of love, of power and of a sound mind. A sound mind is one that thinks right and thinks God mercy, compassion. The sound mind does not think evil, it does not think failure, and it does not think defeat. There is nothing in the agenda of God that puts failure in our syllabus.
When God set you up, He prophesied over you. He said: “You shall have dominion, you shall subdue, and you shall multiply. He didn’t say you shall diminish, he didn’t say you shall be rich today and poor tomorrow. No! No! No! You shall multiply. That is his thought and His plan for you. Each day you wake up, say to God: "God, you said I am to multiply, if I was healthy yesterday, I must be healthy times two today. If I am strong today, I must be two times strong tomorrow. If I am wise today, my wisdom is going to multiply tomorrow. If I am riding in the realm of average today, tomorrow I will be riding in the realm of above average." It is for you to believe because there is no other way for you to know the thoughts of God. Everything is in the Bible. We have received the spirit not of bondage to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we can call God, FATHER a very close father. How do you think? What is your thought pattern?
We know how to pray and how to make requests, yet there is another realm of advancement in dominion.
Philippians 4:8 says " Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things
To the Philippians, it was like an epistle of joy, though Paul wrote it from a prison cell chained to a Roman guard, awaiting execution.
When a person says finally, you’d better tighten your seat belt because it is time to land, it is time to possess your possession, and it is time for you to consolidate everything he has been putting across to you in fragments.
In verse 8, he tells us what to do finally, “think...” You are going to think, engage your mind in creative thinking; engage your mind on things that are dynamic. Furnish your mind with ideas that will promote you. Meditate on those things that are inspiring, those things that will make you lighten up.
Finally, if that thing is true, honest, pure, lovely etc. Do these words sound like poverty, sickness, hatred and animosity? No!
What are the things you think about? Are you thinking "Oh at this rate, I will never be able to pay my rent"? "At this rate, my marriage will definitely hit the rocks"? "At this rate this nation will be dissolved in no time at all" What are you thinking about "At this rate I am not going to trust anybody anymore and if I don’t get another job very soon, I’m finished I am going to stop paying my tithe"! Who gave you that information for you to think about?
“Is that good? That verse again says whatsoever things are good, and lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise..." those are the things you are to think on. Ask yourself this question: "What things do I think on?
Psalm119:113 " I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love."
Romans 12:2 "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind" This verse is saying in effect that you should renew your mind, the faculty for thinking and analyzing. Drop the old one and pick up that which belongs to God.
Ephesians 4:23 "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind..."
Thinking is what turns raw the materials of suggestions into the finished product of success or failure. Apostle Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:15- " Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thine profiting may appear to all.”
I am giving my whole being to this Christianity and I want to show my generation that the God I serve means business and that whatever He has said, He has the ability to perform. He is only waiting for those who will believe him beyond lips service to into their thinking tank. Your thinking life is superior to your saying life. It is when a thing has gained a stronghold in your heart that it affects what you say.
Your thought is what produces the action. That is why a Christian could be saying one thing and behaving another. That is a sign of religious spirit, it shows that he does not believe it from the heart, so behaving it becomes difficult. It is difficult to live a life different from your thought pattern. It is the thinking process that gets a matter deep into the heart. Hence to give yourself wholly to a thing you need to meditate on it God says to give yourself wholly and your profiting will appear unto all.
This is no theory. Meditation is a higher form of thinking. The environment we are is important in this war of thoughts. If you are among the mediocre group you will think like them, behave like them and live like them. You won’t go beyond their level. The Bible says evil communications corrupt good manners. God gave you a good heart but it is up to you to determine how you feed and nurture it. We all need a healthy spiritual and social atmosphere. If all you hear daily is failure, defeat, death and so on your thought pattern will grow along that line. If you think what God is thinking concerning you, you’ll see all his purposes in your life manifesting.
Proverbs 21:5 says “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness but of every one that is hasty only to want."
We must constantly vacuum the junks and debris of this world from our hearts and present ourselves for regular spiritual purging by exposing ourselves to anointed preaching of the word of God that will inspire and water the seed of God in us unto fruitfulness.
Proverbs 21:5 is saying in effect, that if you are a hardworking person, diligent and committed both in your secular work and spiritual walk, you’ll discover that your thoughts will be towards plenteousness, increase and abundance. It is wrong for you to be working hard and thinking small.
You can tell yourself some good things like: "This time next year, I’m going to change my car, expand my house etc." The thoughts of the diligent are programmed towards plenteousness. If you are working day and night, the devil has no right to put the label of poverty upon you. No Way! So as you work, let your thoughts be towards plenteousness.
There are people that will look at their wardrobes and give out things because they don’t want to see those things anymore; they want them replaced, and as they remove those ones, they create room for new ones to come in. And surely, God will bring abundance. Your actions will betray your thoughts.
Immediately you open your mouth, what you are thinking about is released. It is from what you say that we can access what you are thinking. How you behave tells us the type of thoughts you are having.
"I don’t want people to think this...." and because of what people will think, you refuse to do what you consider to be right. There are a lot of people who are in their self-made prisons. The lock themselves up there because of what they think people will think. Without even giving people the opportunity to think it aloud, you’ve already concluded and acted yourself into defense and mediocrity. That is part of the warfare. The devil may be imposing that on you just to make sure that you fail.
Proverbs 23:7 "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." As a man thinks in his heart, that is his image, and that is why God is gives you thoughts to think. There are situations that we find ourselves simply because of the way we think, and to get out of those situations, we must change our thinking pattern. You cannot maintain the same thinking pattern and expect to get out of the situation that the thinking pattern got you into.
For you to get out of it, you must change the thinking pattern. You are what you are today because of the thought pattern you have nursed over the years. If you expect a change you must incline yourself to the thoughts of God.
How does God see you? He sees you ruling over situations and circumstances.
Just line up your thoughts with what your designer had in mind when He was putting you together. Do you recall that you were designed for victory? When challenges come and it’s like you are failing in life, don’t let them program a thought of failure into you.
Albert Einstein, one of the geniuses in the field of science responded to the question “how many feet there are in a mile” he said “I don’t know! Why I should bother my head with facts that I can get in a standard reference book in two minutes. I must flush my mind of things that are not necessary, facts that are useless so that I can use my mind to think. The mind is meant for thinking, not a warehouse of facts” He engaged himself in productive thinking even in this age the greatest discoveries are laid out for those who engage themselves in profitable thinking. Those who are ruling the world today are the ones who sit down to think; those who connect to God and inhale the pure air of inspirations. One idea that you paid a price for in thinking, can promote you ten times above your equal.
It is said that ‘change of diet will not help a man who will not change is thoughts’ begin the war today, take proper charge of your thought life. The choice is yours you can start now. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.