The Battle for Your Mind

The following are notes takes during the session.

Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Five Principles We Must Teach Members

1) Don’t Believe Everything You Think

We all have a mental illness. It’s called sin. This means we can’t trust what we ourselves even think.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

We have an amazing ability to lie to ourselves.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

The upcoming generation places great value on authenticity. But it’s important to see that you’re not authentic until you can publicly admit how inauthentic you are most of the time.

Reasons we can’t trust ourselves:

  1. We all have blind spots.
  2. We don’t stop to really think.
  3. We fail to notice important details.
  4. We have background biases.
  5. We jump to conclusions.
  6. We get trapped by categories.
  7. We miss the big picture.
  8. We see what we want to see.

2) Guard Your Minds from Garbage

A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash. (Proverbs 15:14, NLT)

Nutritionists will tell you that there are three kinds of food: brain food, junk food, and toxic food. The same is true with what you see and hear. We need to fill our minds with the right things.

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. (Psalm 101:3, ESV)

How do you guard your mind against garbage? There are two ways from Philippians 4:6-8:

  1. Conversational prayer (“pray about everything”)
  2. Concentrated focusing (“fix your thoughts”)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.... Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:6-8, NLT)

One of the keys to overcoming temptation is not to resist it, but to replace it. It’s “the expulsive power of a new affection” that helps us overcome temptation.

3) Never Let Up on Learning

Growing churches require growing pastors.

The mind of a smart person is eager to get knowledge. The wise person listens to learn more. (Proverbs 18:15, ICB)

Wise men store up knowledge . . . (Proverbs 10:14)

One of the ways you can store up knowledge is to start a godly family library and leave it as a legacy to the next generation.

You should read 25 percent of your books from the first 1500 years of church history, 25 percent from the last 500 years, 25 percent from the last 100 years, and 25 percent from recent years.

Those who get wisdom do themselves a favor, and those who love learning will succeed. (Proverbs 19:8, NCV)

The Five Levels of Learning

  1. Knowledge - “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6, NIV) 
  2. Perspective (Wisdom) - “I don’t think the way you think, and the way you work isn’t the way I work.” (Isaiah 55:8, MSG) 
  3. Conviction - “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5, NIV)
  4. Character - “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NLT)
  5. Skills - “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed. But skill will bring success.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10)

You only believe in the part of the Bible that you actually do. We’re supposed to be doers of the word and not hearers only. The problem today is that we are teaching too much. We’re learning more than we can do. There’s a wide gap between knowing and doing in American Christianity. It’s because we’re teaching too much.

4) Feed Yourself Daily with God’s Word

Another problem is that we’re not teaching people to be self-feeders. We’re not teaching them to study the Bible on their own.

Interpretation without application is abortion. We have huge heads but little hands and hearts and feet.

People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every Word of God. (Matthew 4:4, NLT)

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)

5) Let God Stretch Your Imagination

Nothing happens till somebody starts dreaming. What we need today are great dreamers.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:8)

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17, NIV)

What is your dream for your next ten years? For your church? Your family?

Innovators see what everyone else sees but they ask questions that no one else asks.

Why do we do this? For the glory of God.

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May he be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:20-21, LB)

Conclusion

Some of you are naturally great thinkers. Some of you are naturally great doers. Those of you who are thinkers, you need to do more. Those of you who are doers, you need to think more. It’s not one or the other. It’s both / and.

I want us to have a covenant together. It’s a mental covenant for the mind.

Test every thought.
Helmet your head.
Imagine great things.
Nourish a godly mind.
Keep on learning.

© Desiring God

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