Winning the Private War in the Mind
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Over the years there have been extremely dubious or downright ridiculous teachings about spiritual warfare in the Church at large. Much of it was borne out of ignorance, speculation, superstition or religious tradition. Yet there is a reality to spiritual warfare and it is something God certainly wants us to know about, or else He would not have revealed it to us in His Word. If we just stay with the Scripture, we will be on safe and sure ground. God wants us to understand the warfare, know our enemy and live a life free from his clutches.
In Ephesians 6:12 the Apostle outlines the arena of warfare in which all Christians are engaged. One scholar translated the original words as follows: â€œFor our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies, but against rulers with various areas and descending orders of authority, against the world-dominators of this present darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies.â€ The picture here is of a very highly structured and well organized kingdom with descending orders of authority and different rulers and sub rulers responsible for different areas of their territory.
FACTS ABOUT THE WARFARE
1. The conflict involves all Christians â€“ not some special group like missionaries, evangelists, pastors, etc.
2. By Paul using the analogy of a wrestling match, he infers that this is the most intense battle, with every part of the body involved â€“ it is total conflict.
3. Satanâ€™s kingdom is located in the heavenly regions, and where he is called â€œthe prince of the power of the airâ€ (Eph 2:2). The Greek word â€œaerâ€ refers to the atmosphere immediately BELOW the mountains. In other words, it is right in the arena of manâ€™s existence.
4. Though our conflict is against evil powers located in the heavenlies, the actual battle takes place on the earth in the minds and hearts of people (2 Cor 4:4). 99% of all spiritual warfare takes place in the mind.
5. God has already given us complete victory in this warfare and satan is already a defeated foe. We are called therefore not to defeat him, but to enforce the victory Jesus has already won for us at the Cross (Col 2:15).
Because the warfare is spiritual, God has given us spiritual weapons which are more than able to demolish the mental strongholds satan has in the minds of people. See 2 Cor 10: 3-5.
SIX KEY WORDS IN OUR WARFARE
1. Devil (Greek: diabolos) from two Greek words - ballo â€“ to throw something over and over until dia â€“ he penetrates.
It describes the repetitive action of hitting something again and again until finally the wall or membrane is so worn down that it can be completely and thoroughly penetrated. Therefore, the name â€œdevilâ€ is not only a proper name for this archenemy of the faith, but it also denotes his mode of operation. He strikes repeatedly, until finally he breaks down any mental resistance. When this occurs he strikes with all his fury to penetrate the mind and to take that personâ€™s mind and emotions captive.
2. schemes (Eph 6:11) â€“ (Greek: methodos) â€œwith a roadâ€ (not plural as in the English word â€œschemesâ€ but singular in form).
Contrary to popular belief, the devil does not have a lot of tricks in his bag. The word schemes (methodos) plainly means that the enemy travels on one road, or he has one trick in his bag. Obviously, itâ€™s a trick heâ€™s learned to use well. So where is that road headed? That leads us to our next key word in our warfare: the word devices.
3. devices (designs) (2 Cor 2:11) (Greek: noemata) from the word nous, the Greek word for the mind or intellect.
It is the picture of a deceived mind. This word has been translated as â€œthe wicked schemesâ€ or â€œinsidious plotsâ€ and even â€œmind games.â€ Because of these mind games, Paul told us in 2 Cor 10:5, â€œCasting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.â€
Note the three words: imaginations, knowledge and thought... Again, 99% of all spiritual warfare takes place in the mind.
4. deception (Greek: dolios) â€œto bait with a hookâ€ Deception occurs when a person believes the enemyâ€™s lies. Then the mind games begin to shift from merely the realm of fantasy, to the realm of actual reality. However, as long as you resist his allegations, his words and thoughts will exert absolutely no power in your life. The only power satan has is what we give him through deception, by believing his lies. Though he has absolutely no authority in our lives, he is persistent in his methods, and our mind has to be constantly renewed by the word of God for it to be free. True freedom comes by thinking in line with Godâ€™s word â€“ knowing the truth and the truth making us free.
5. witchcraft â€“ Gal 3:1 â€œO foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (literally, who has put the evil eye on you or brought you under their spell?) It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.â€
Witchcraft seeks to obscure the cross. Yet Paul was able to say â€œyou saw the cross.. He was publicly portrayed among you as crucified.â€
How is this so? The Galatian Christians were not at Golgotha to see the Lord crucified.
Ahhh yes, but years later, the Holy Spirit had erected the cross in Galatia through the preaching of the apostle Paul. Something very supernatural happens when the cross of Jesus Christ is preached. They â€œsawâ€ the cross, because Paul had preached the cross.. and now, the enemy was seeking to make that amazing portrayal cloudy and fuzzy in the hearts and minds of the Galatian Christians. We break the power of witchcraft by the clear preaching of the cross and being reminded of all that was achieved and its implications.
6. stronghold (2 Cor 10:4) (Greek: achuroma) â€“ a prison
The devil (the one who throws repeatedly until he penetrates) desires to build something in your mind, piece by piece, brick by brick, thought by thought, with the purpose of keeping you locked up as a prisoner, through your fears and perceptions of reality. Strongholds are not built overnight â€“ you donâ€™t wake up with a stronghold! It is the culmination of non-resistance to his lies until you are locked up by the devil, where only the knowledge of the truth will set you free (John 8:31, 32). Now that he has failed in his attempt to keep you in his kingdom, he desires to stop your effectiveness as a Christian, locking you up to his fears.
What are some of the lies the devil constantly bombards your mind with?
What does Godâ€™s word say about the issue?
How does the truth of the Gospel expose satan's lies?
â€œFor God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.â€ (or saved brains) 2 Tim 1:7 (KJV)