Summary: The Bible makes it clear that the nature of the battle we are in as believers is spiritual, but the primary ground upon which this battle is fought is in our thought life. It’s a life and death battle for the control of our minds
The Battle for the Mind
There is nothing easy about living a Spirit-filled life, no matter how enticing some try to make it to be. Living a Spirit-filled life is a battle, which is why Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God.
He says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11 NKJV)
Paul minces no words and lets us know that we are in a battle, but it isn’t against any human foe or human army, but rather it is spiritual and against Satan and his demonic forces.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)
What this reveals is that this Christian life is essentially a life of conflict. Jesus made this clear to His disciples and thus to all of us because we are their direct spiritual descendants. For those who seek to commit themselves to follow Jesus, which is the basic definition of a disciple, Jesus says this blessing as He ends His teachings on the Beatitudes.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV)
Later, Jesus commissions His disciples, sending them out and telling them that they will be open prey, but no matter how hard or difficult it may be, they need to endure through it all.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves … And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:16-22 NKJV)
Now, if you think about it, this really isn’t a very popular recruiting technique, “Become a Christian and experience attacks, trials, and persecution.”
But what I want us to focus upon is how the Bible makes it clear that while the true nature of the battle is spiritual, the primary ground upon which this battle is fought is in our thought life. It’s a life and death battle for the control of our minds, which is why Paul tells us to take off the person who we were in all our sins and put on the new person we have become in all righteousness and holiness, which is through renewing our mind.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:23 NKJV)
It is said that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and this is especially true given the spiritual nature of our battle.
It is said the mind has 12 to 14 billion cells, and each cell sends out tendrils connecting, exchanging, and transmitting information to at least 10,000 other cells. Some have called the mind the ultimate supercomputer. There is more electronic impulses and data going on in one human brain than all the computers and processors on the Internet today. (That is with the one exception of my brain. It’s more like a CB, you know, “Breaker, Breaker, Rubber Duckie here.”)
And while this is a scary thought about our mind being the battleground, we have the helmet of salvation to protect our thought life, and on top of that, we’ve got the greatest weapon of them all, one that Satan and his demonic forces cannot defeat.
What I am talking about is that as Christians, that is, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, we possess the mind of Jesus Christ Himself through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Paul speaks about this in his first letter to the Corinthian Church.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13 NKJV)
And he goes on to say that the natural man cannot receive the things of God, or know the mind of the Lord, and that’s because they are spiritually discerned, but we as believers can, because as Paul goes on to say that “We have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV)
Imagine, being able to know God’s mind on a certain matter! Imagine, being able to think the thoughts to the Lord God Himself. This is actually what we were created with in the beginning, but then sin came into the picture and wrecked the whole thing.