Summary: Explains the importance of the thought life, our accountability for our thoughts, and how to win victory--by winning the battle for our minds.
The Battle for the Mind
I. We are responsible not only for our actions, but also for our thoughts.
A. God has judged people based on thoughts in the past.
Acts 8:22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. [Simon the Sorcerer]
Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. [Noahic flood]
B. Jesus specifically condemns sin of thought.
Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
C. Temptation vs. Sins of thought.
II. We are accountable for thoughts, and thoughts are so important, because action is birthed in our thoughts.
â€œEvery thought is a seed. If you plant Crab apples donâ€™t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.â€ Or we say it more simply: â€œGarbage in. Garbage out.â€
A. Jesus condemned hatredâ€”not only murder because this thought sin leads to the action sin.
Matthew 5:21,22a "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.
B. Paul saw a connection between Eveâ€™s deception (in the mind) and our minds leading us away from Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
C. Where does iniquity come from?
Psalm 73:7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
From the parallelism, we know that the Psalmist is equating the callous hearts, with evil of the mindâ€”the mind is where their wickedness comes from.
D. Quite simply: Who controls the mind controls the person! Your thoughts dictate what you will do.
Romans 8:6,7 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
Example: Watch you thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. [Frank Outlaw]
III. Some characteristics of the thoughts within the mind of the wicked are:
A. They are devoted to earthly things.
phil 3:18b,19 Many live as enemies of the cross. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
B. They donâ€™t think of God.
PS 10:4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
C. They are blinded.
2 cor 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
IV. In order to win victory over flesh and sin, we must win the victory in our minds!
A. Just as Satan had our minds blindedâ€”Jesus opens minds.
Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
B. With salvation comes a new mindâ€”a whole new way of thinking.
Ephesians 4:22,23 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
Romans 12:2a Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
â€œTo be free from evil thoughts is Godâ€™s best gift.â€ Aeschylus
C. This new mind is the mind of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. :9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Our way of thinking is literally elevated.
Let the mind of the master be the master of your mind.
D. This renewing of the mind comes by the power of the Holy Spirit and submission to the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.