'Day One' Blog

The Battle For My Mind

double_minded

What’s going on in my thoughts and how is that affecting the way I respond to my life? For several months this question has been on the front burner as a handful of resources have come my way.

  • From James McDonald: Think Differently (video series)
  • From Marita Littauer: Wired That Way (book & personality profile test)
  • From Pricilla Shirer: The Armor of God (bible study)

I solicited none of these, but one by one, within a matter of weeks and from entirely different sources, they found me. It’s not the first time I’ve been inundated with thematic materials. When it happens I pay attention and ask the Lord what’s going on. The final thematic piece came when my husband and I were invited to bring a message to our church from Philippians 4, titled Think On These Things.

For about 4 months, the following bank of scriptures has fueled much meditation and brought me to a few core thoughts I’d like to try to give language to. There’s nothing earth shattering in my reflections at all, but I’m discovering a flow of thought and a thoroughness in God’s instruction that I haven’t seen before.


2 Corinthians 10:3-6; James 1:2-7;
Ephesians 6:10-17; Philippians 4:4-19;
Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 14:20;
1 Peter 4

I should also point out, I’m very aware that many people suffer from mental illness, PTSD and related anxiety disorders. There is a great deal of important discovery these days about the brain’s ability to re-wire, to bring some level of relief. The reflections below are generally addressing a demographic NOT dealing with these type of disorders.

Here’s some of my “take-away” at present:

    • The Real War – The primary battle I wage with my adversary takes place in my mind, period. Often I look outwardly forgetting the true front-line is not “out there” but inward, where my beliefs are housed. The objective is to tear down strongholds and lofty opinions I hold that are in opposition to the knowledge of Christ. I’m to “take them captive” in obedience.
    • Wiring – Science tells us that emotions are housed in the brain. It’s within both the limbic system of my brain and the automatic nervous system that my body knows how to respond to my emotions. Scripture similarly paints a picture of my mind informing my heart. God looks at my heart to know the content of my mind because my heart exposes the truth about what I really hold true. And that’s why my adversary targets my mind. He understands my mind is ground-zero. It’s central-command. As the mind goes, so goes the heart. Science is catching up to what God has laid out in His Word. There is no discrepancy whatsoever.
    • The Field of Battle – There are three things I see as I look out over the vast battle-field that is my mind:
      • There are pockets of land where truth has rooted; places occupied by truth. Free places.
      • There are places where falsehoods have rooted. Strongholds occupy that terrain.
      • There are skirmishes across that landscape where truth and falsehoods are warring for occupation.
    • Manning the Post – Philippians 4 describes how and why a person comes to be “calmly happy” and “reasonable” so that they are known for being reasonable, (vs. 4-5). This person is winning the war in the battle for their mind.
      • First the why: they remember the Lord is near. He is both with them AND He is returning for them. That reality thoroughly influences how they approach their life.
      • The how is found in this sequence:
        • They choose gratitude (vs. 6)
        • They release the things that concern them (vs. 6)
        • God in turn dispenses His peace that stands guard over their mind and heart (vs. 7)
        • God gives them a criteria with which to filter their life “real-time” (vs. 8-9)
        • When they choose to “man the post” of their minds using this criteria, the God of peace is with them (vs. 9)
      • God both guards that susceptible mind and provides critical council as this person weighs what ought to enter the portal. This cooperative effort is a picture of what it looks like to be led by the Spirit of God. The Apostle Paul is emphatic that his God will supply EVERY need according to His riches in Christ Jesus (vs. 19).
    • Off the Job – James 1 describes a person not ”manning the post.” Apparently they needn’t bother asking God for council. It wouldn’t do them much good as they have yet to “choose sides.” That undecided  position renders them unstable in ALL their ways. Conversely, God stands ready to give wisdom liberally to the one who does not doubt.

This battle for the mind is a massive, core conversation for every believer. It’s a war we must acknowledge and willingly engage in for the rest of our lives. We ought to expect that as we choose to “think on these things” we will see more and more of the battle field occupied by friendly forces. We should expect to see strongholds exposed for what they are, dismantled and replaced by truth, so more and more of the landscape of my mind is rightly occupied. The peace of God guards. The God of peace is near to provide council. And I am manning my post.

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.
~Philippians 4:8~

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6 Comments

  • Gail

    1

    Anne Dear....... Oh to be "calmly happy" and "reasonable".........I long to be that person! Hopefully I am headed down that path??? I have many, many, many, many more steps to go!! :)

  • LuAnn

    2

    Anne, it may be simple truth but also complex and deeply revealing. It always amazes me how so often what you write speaks directly to my current experience. That is once again the case. Thank you for dissecting God's truth and helping me to go deeper in understanding God's word.

    • Anne Barbour

      3

      Well, simple by no means implies lack of depth. I will never get over how it feels to be illuminated...to have an epiphany, then look immediately back and wonder how I never saw it before. It always appears to be such a simple thing. Then I have to guard against becoming impatient, wondering how on earth everyone else doesn't "see" it! Always an opportunity to grow!

  • Nancy

    4

    Good message, Anne. The mind is truly a battleground and an area where the enemy loves to attack. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can actively choose where we will fix our thoughts.

  • Wanda

    6

    Thanks so much for these words Anne, I needed them so badly at this season of my life. The battle in my mind has been intense, especially in these last few months. Your wisdom will greatly help. See you soon!

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