WHO AND WHAT INFLUENCES OUR THINKING, OUR MIND?
The New Testament uses the term “world” (Greek kosmos) in at least three ways. It can refer to planet earth or the physical world, as in Acts 17:24, “God, who made the world and everything in it…” Sometimes it refers to humankind, as seen in John 3:16 “God so loved the world.” “The world” also refers to the moral and spiritual system influenced by Satan, such as when Yeshua stated, “… I am not of the world” (John 17:16). This world is hostile to God. Its standards, thoughts, and ways of achieving goals are where we live. While we are redeemed and sanctified by the blood of Yeshua, we continue to live in the world. And this world dictates to us how we should live!
The words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 10 can help us to see the way the world tries to influence our mind:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Although we live in bodies of flesh, we do not fight against people. We do not conduct a war using worldly methods (as unbelievers do). We do not use swords, guns, or marketing strategies of cunning words to spread the gospel of the kingdom of God in the world. We are not fighting against people, but against the unseen rulers, “authorities, and principalities that govern darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly spheres” (Ephesians 6: 12- 13.); who impose their ideas and standards on us by building spiritual strongholds in our minds!
Spiritual strongholds can only be destroyed with spiritual weapons in the hands of believers – the sword of the truth of the Word of God. Faith in the Living God, prayer, and obedience to the Word of God – these are the effective weapons of every true soldier of Yeshua the Messiah. These are our weapons that destroy the enemy’s strongholds.
We are at war against pride, human reasoning, and arguments contrary to the truth. Thoughts and ideas, arguments and opinions, philosophies and false religions captivate people’s minds and are at war with the Gospel and God. Paul says that we must take captive every thought. It is important to completely destroy the fortress of worldly, humanistic thinking and demonic wisdom and come under obedience to Yeshua the Messiah.
The word “devil” comes from the Greek diabolos. This word occurs 61 times in the New Testament. Rick Renner in his book “Sparkling Gems from the Greek” explains:
“The word diabalos is derived from two Greek words: dia, which means through, as when referring to penetrating something all the way through; and balos, which means to throw. When these words are put together to form the word diabalos, it paints a vivid picture of the devil as one who repetitiously throws accusations at the mind, striking again and again until he ultimately penetrates the mind with his slanderous lies and relationship destroying insinuations.”
(Sparkling Gems from the Greek P. 839. Copyright 2003 by Rick Renner. P.O. Box 702040 Tulsa, OK 74170-2040.)
What an insight into the devil’s strategy! All that the devil is looking for is an entry point to our minds to enter in with his words, thoughts, and ideas. After he has sown enough of his ideas, thoughts, and words, a person starts to consider these thoughts and to agree with the opinion of the devil. After this, a person’s thinking becomes damaged with a mixture of lies. This is why throughout the New Testament we are called to resist the devil in faith.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Our Fallen Nature
Our fallen nature is our most intimate enemy. After the Fall of Adam, we have become self-centered, focusing increasingly on ourselves. Humanism says, “I can,” “I know,” “I’m the center of everything.”
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)
A mind set on following “the flesh” concentrates on and desires the things of the flesh. The result of such an attitude is ultimately “death.” However, a mind set on yielding to “the Spirit” will experience “life and peace.” A believer that seeks a daily relationship with Him will find God’s perspective on life and peace.
The main tendency of our flesh is the desire for self-exaltation. The very nature of our flesh says “I keep everything under my control.” But at its core, this attitude is one of rebellion and enmity against God and His commandments. It is because of the rebellious nature of our flesh that even good deeds cannot please God; they are the fruit of selfishness, not the fruit of humility.
The heart of a true child of God asks God where He is leading him or her. Our flesh needs to come to a place of humility and obedience if we want to have more revelation. Our flesh has to die to its selfish attitudes and desires that only lead to sin.
This article is an excerpt from my book “PERSPECTIVE”.