Summary: When we get engrossed in thought and lose track of reality, this can be dangerous.
Wrestling with the Mind?
by Joe M. Cherry
A. No one wants to see us fail more than Satan
1. He will do anything that he can to turn us away from God.
a. Jo 8:44 – “He is the father of lies.”
b. Rev. 12:10 - … he is the accuser of the brethren
2. He has subtle ways.
3. One of his biggest weapons is turning us against ourselves.
a. He gets us so tangled up in our own minds that we lose sight of the abundant life God intends for His children.
b. When this occurs, he can leave us to our own misery and move on to another.
B. The World inside our head can be a cruel place.
1. When Julius Caesar’s wife begs him not go to the Roman Senate for fear of death, Caesar replies, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death.”
a. Where does the 1,000 deaths occur? In our minds.
b. Prov. 28:3 - A guilty conscience plays tricks on the mind. “The guilty flee when no one pursues…”
2. Sometimes fear causes is to develop thought patterns that lead to self-destruction.
3. Many walk and function in this world but live only between their ears.
a. We hear people tell them to “get in the game”!
b. Sadly, many of them will live out their life that way.
C. We spend a lot of time lost in our own heads: preoccupation/perception becomes real.
1. Our inward thoughts do manifest themselves in outward actions.
a. After a very bad accident in 1979, for a long time I could close my eyes, think about the wreck, and my whole body would cringe as I relived the impact.
b. Ever argued with yourself? That’s the only way I can win an argument at my house.
c. Many a times I have been deep in thought about a potential problem at work and Tina would ask, “What’d you say” or “Why are you frowning?”
2. We can waste too much in there and miss so many opportunities to enjoy life as a Christian.
a. Don’t think Satan doesn’t take advantage of it.
b. So many fight depression and other mental illnesses.
c. Some live a lifetime of regrets, ridden with guilt and shame.
II. The Lesson – Processing Life as a Christian – Satan gets in our head and temptation turns into lust.
A. Temptation and Lust
1. Temptation usually comes from without.
a. Heb. 2:18 & 4:15 – both vss. Tell us that Christ was tempted as we are.
b. Jas. 1:2 – “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into manifold temptations…” Here the writer refers to the outward temptations which can help to strengthen our faith. Temptation is not a sin.
c. When we learn how to process information as God would have us, life becomes easier to understand and live. We will look a little closer at this in a moment.
2. Initially, lust requires cultivation of a certain thought or concept which happens in our mind
a. James 1:13-15 – “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire (lust) is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” Death is referring to spiritual, not necessarily physical.
b. Matt. 5:27-28 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
c. Lust is a Choice and a matter of the heart.
B. When we sin
1. When we wake up from our sins, we usually do one of two things.
a. Blame others
i. Remember Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine? She’d do something she knew was wrong and say what? “The devil made me do it!”
ii. Adam blamed Eve.
iii. Geraldine didn’t coin that phrase. It originated in the garden with Eve.
b. Continue in sin
c. Repent and move on which requires a change of mind.
i. As we ask forgiveness for our actions, we should also pray that God will help us to purify our hearts and minds as well.
ii. Sin is really only symptom of a heart problem.
2. Breaking the Cycle of Unhealthy thoughts.
a. Phil. 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
b. Paul tells Timothy in I Tim. 6:11 – “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”