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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Battle for the Mind # 1

The Battle for the Mind # 1

"I fear lest, by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3).

There is a great battle today over the use and control of the mind, not only in the world, but among the children of God. The Apostle Paul, writing in 2 Corinthians 3:5, says, "For though living in the flesh, my warfare is not waged according to the flesh. For the weapons which I wield are not of fleshly weakness but mighty in the strength of God to overthrow the strongholds of the adversaries. Thereby can I overthrow the reasonings of the disputer and pull down all lofty bulworks that raise themselves against the knowledge of God, and bring every rebellious thought into captivity and subjection to Christ".

1. The fact of a "war" declared by Paul

First note the fact that the Apostle declares that there is a war in which he is engaged. "My warfare", he says, "is not waged according to the flesh." This is in accord with his statement in other parts of his writings, notably Ephesians 6:10-18 and in his letters to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:18, 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:4, 4:7).

2. The battle for the mind described

We see there is an aspect of the war described in this passage which has to do with the mind. "Thereby can I overthrow the reasonings of the disputer." In verse 4 we read of a "pulling down of strongholds." The Apostle seems to infer that the mind is a stronghold "which has to be pulled down, and every rebel thought in it made captive. A stronghold is generally held by an enemy, and truly there is an enemy holding the stronghold of the mind, according to 2 Corinthians 4:4, where it says that the "god of this world" has "blinded the minds of them which believe not."

3. The condition of the mind by nature

In various parts of the Pauline epistles we can gather very clearly the state of mind, when held by the enemy as a stronghold. It is described in some cases as a "reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28), a "blinded mind" (2 Corinthians 3:14), a "darkened mind", causing men to walk in the "vanity of their minds" (Ephesians 4:17-19), intruding into things which the mind cannot fathom, "vainly puffed up" by a "fleshly mind" (Colossians 2:18). In Romans 8:7, the Apostle says, "The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." This is confirmed in Colossians 1:21, where those who are unregenerate are described as "enemies" in the "mind", and therefore alienated from God. We therefore clearly see how, in the natural man, the mind is "darkened", "puffed up" by the flesh, empty and vain in its thoughts, carnal because governed by the flesh, and in all its activities whether apparently "good" or visibly "bad" at enmity with God.

4. The Unregenerate Mind the Stronghold of satan

The strategic center of the mind of man is therefore strategic center of the "war" with the "god of this age", because it is primarily through the mind that he holds captive in his power, and through the mind of those captives transmits his poison into the minds of others, and his plans and schemes for arousing those souls to active rebellion against God.

The mind of the Christian is also the strategic center of the "war on the saints" which satan wages with ceaseless and fiendish skill. And for this reason the mind is the vehicle for the Spirit of God, dwelling in the spirit of the believer, to transmit to others the truth of God, which alone can remove the deceptions of satan which fill the minds of all who are in the darkness of nature. If the Holy Spirit is dwelling in the regenerate spirit have you considered the question of His outlet? If it were only by speech you would be an oracle! But there are no "oracles" on earth now. The oracles of God are the Scriptures. The Word of God is being displaced not only by the Higher Critics, but by many of God's own people by their taking supernatural "revelations" as being of equal authority with the written Scriptures. There are wrecked lives because they have turned from the Word of God to what they call direct revelation. There is a direct revelation by God the Holy Spirit illuminating the Word of God, and putting it into the spirit, but not apart from the Scriptures.

5. The Holy Spirit and the Mind of the Believer

If the mind is the vehicle of the Spirit it is absolutely necessary that the Spirit of God should have full possession of it, with every "rebellious thought" brought into captivity to Christ. The Holy Spirit, dwelling in the spirit, needs the mind as a channel for expression, but it may be so blocked up, and filled with other things that He is unable to transmit all He desires to do. A blocked mind means the spirit unexpressed, and a spirit unexpressed is a stoppage of he outflow of the Spirit of God to others.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 2)

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