The Power of Your Thoughts, Part One: Understanding the Battlefield of Your Mind
It is vital to understand that the mind – your mind -- is the seat of all spiritual and carnal conflict. It is within your mind that your victory -- or defeat -- begins and ends. It is your mind that determines whether the outcome of your actions will culminate in success…or failure. It is absolutely critical to understand that the flesh – our flesh -- and the spirit – our spirit…are in constant conflict – whether we want them to be or not.
This is made clear in Romans 7: 14 – 19, when Paul explains:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.
These words may seem extreme – but they are a literal truth. Because we are human -- of fallen Adam, flesh and blood -- as long as we live on this earth, our flesh will forever house sin that will never be fully vanquished…because sin is part of our flesh nature.
There is no getting around this fact. We may want to think that because we are saved, we are safe from this “sin that lives within.” But we are not! We are in the midst of an on-going and perpetual war – made even more dangerous because it is going on inside our minds, bodies, and souls, while we are going on about our lives, daily!
This is the conflict and the confusion Paul expresses above – and it is rooted in the fact that the flesh literally has its own mind – and it is a sinful one. And the mind of our sinful flesh purposely sets its desires against the mind of the spirit! This is why it is vital to understand: your mind is a place of constant warring, spirit against flesh – your mind is literally a battlefield.
Paul goes on to share, in verses 20 - 25:
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my MIND and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my MIND am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
In this set of verses, Paul attempts to define and clarify the opposing forces that operate within him, that cause him to be a “wretched man.” He, like us, is aware of an ongoing struggle against the goodness in our “inner being” that finds “delight in God’s law” – versus the other law – “the law of sin at work within my members.” Ultimately, he realizes that it is within his MIND that God’s law must remain pre-eminent…even as the sin law of the flesh – what he calls “this body of death” – tries to assert its evil intentions in order to gain influence over his MIND.
Paul is exposing a vital truth that we must all accept: WHAT CONTROLS OUR MIND, CONTROLS OUR LIFE!
“Control” means to exercise authoritative or dominating influence over; to direct. As awful as it is to accept, it is a very real truth that satanic forces try to control your thinking through your flesh -- which is connected to the five senses.
You experience your physical reality as you “perceive” and “receive” through your five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. God created us with perfectly-orchestrated physical mechanisms for our earthly life -- finely and accurately attuned -- and designed to keep us alive, functioning physically, and able to perceive, receive, react and respond within our physical, natural, material world. But what is a perfect vessel for our natural life, can also cause a lot of problems for our spiritual life. If we are unable to constantly bring our physical senses under submission – constantly control our response to outside input and stimuli – we will lose the battle!
The answer to this dilemma is: in order to change your way of living – you must change your way of thinking!
Basically, your mind is YOU!
It is also important to note that the Hebrew root of “nephesh,” or mind, means “to breathe or refresh one’s self.” Genesis 2:7 shows us this relationship to breath, life, and soul that begins with God’s creating man: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
So there is a relationship between breath, wind, divine inspiration, intellect, and soul. The soul (nephesh) of a man is connected to the breath (nephesh) of God -- housed in flesh, and formed from dust.
This tells us that soon as you become a living soul, your spirit and mind are connected to God. But because we have power to choose -- our will -- we find ourselves engaged in daily battle of deciding between the carnal mind, or a spiritual mind.
“Carnal” means “having the nature of flesh;” sensual, or controlled by animal appetites. Our “carnal mind” is therefore controlled by the flesh – which will ultimately die.
Spiritual means made of wind or breath that is spacious -- “air in motion.” The Holy Spirit is as a current of air from God -- the breath of Our Lord! “Spirit mind” is connected to and controlled by Spirit of Christ…it is the eternal spirit of God that will never die.
Because we have the power to choose, we find ourselves engaged in a daily battle of deciding between life and death. Romans 8:6 tell us straight out: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritual minded is life and peace.”
Paul goes to great lengths to warn us and confirm throughout Romans that there is ALWAYS going to be a struggle -- even with the matchless grace of God!
So, what do we do to overcome and achieve victory as we struggle endlessly in the battle of the mind? We’ll discover that next -- in “The Power of Your Thoughts, Part Two – Breaking the Molds in Your Mind.”
This article is based from Paula's CD-Set, The Power of Your Thoughts.