The Christian mind has always been a battleground for worldly views and the enemy. How do we recognize these battles and how do we deal with them? Rev Dominic Yeo shares his teachings.
Times have changed. As a result, truth is no longer seen as absolute, and is instead, subjective. Lines defining right and wrong are increasingly blurred and what was once black and white is now gray.
We live in a time where information is so readily available. The Internet has given us the ability to feed our minds with whatever we want, whenever we want. However, this modern-day blessing also comes with huge pitfalls—making us more vulnerable to feeding our minds with information that sounds good but may come from unknown or questionable sources.
It’s becoming an increasing challenge for Christians to feed our minds with things that are right and Biblical. Therefore, it’s crucial we honestly review our beliefs and develop strong convictions against the onslaught of worldly views. The battle for our minds is real and we must learn how to handle our minds to emerge victorious.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The mind is a battleground for Satan, which is why the Bible tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we Christians are unable to discern what the truth is, we will easily fall prey to the world’s lies and deception. What goes on in our minds will become what we do and what we do reinforces who we become.
What are the main battlefields for our mind?
Battlefield #1: Logic & Rationalism
“I am right in my perspective or position because truth is relative.”
Jesus says that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. While there are many universal truths, they are all ultimately subjected to the absolute truth of God’s Word, His nature, and His order.
The foundation in the belief that “truth is relative” stems from logic, justification, and rationalization. It isn’t wrong for us to exercise our mental faculties, but if our mental faculties are the be all and end all of life, where then is the place of faith, obedience and conviction in the Word of God?
Though the Scriptures are very clear on certain issues, people who choose to rationalize can find and twist Scripture to justify their actions. For example, one can justify not tithing by rationalizing that they must be good financial stewards for their family.
Another can justify dating a pre-believer by rationalizing that they are evangelizing to the one they love. For the reluctant giver we ask, “Where is your faith in God to provide?” For the dater we ask, “Does God not warn us about being unequally yoked?” While we may experience His blessings in the midst of our deliberate sin, the reality is that these blessings are a result of God’s grace being poured into our lives.
Therefore, to continue justifying our deeds, to sin when we know it causes Him anguish, exploits the grace of God in our lives. The danger of rationalizing is that it doesn’t show up straight away. However, when rationalizing is fully manifested, the believer is no longer walking in faith. Rather they are being led by the spirit of pride. Proverbs 16:18 warns us that, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
The problem is many of us think we know it all. We feed our minds with all sorts of information from the Internet and unknown sources on social media. We pride our knowledge ‘gained’ to the point where we ignore sound teaching; we choose to trust our mental faculties instead of the Word of God.
“I am okay as long as I don’t sin through my actions.”
Some choose to justify their thoughts with an inward indulgence by repressing the outward expression of those thoughts: “As long as my actions are righteous, I can continue to entertain wrong thoughts.”
Take pornography as an example. Some Christians allow themselves to indulge in these lustful images because they have not engaged in the physical act of sex or masturbation. Therefore, they do not believe they are committing a sin. However, by failing to take authority of this secret sin, they allow Satan to push the boundaries of their minds and confuse their convictions.
It is incorrect to believe that the lordship of Christ is only for one’s spirit-man. The Scriptures explicitly command that we are to, “Be holy just as He is holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) Holiness is not merely a state of being, it is all-encompassing and involves complete integrity of one’s soul, mind, and spirit. If left unchecked, the compartmentalization of our thoughts versus our actions will infiltrate other areas of our life. This is how many Christians, strong ones included, fall into moral failure.
Christian theologian and philosopher, Dr Francis Schaeffer, offers the following summary: ”Christ is Lord of all, over every aspect of life. It is no use saying He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Lord of all things, if He is not the Lord of my whole unified intellectual life. I am false or confused if I sing about Christ’s Lordship and contrive to retain areas of my own life that are autonomous. This is true if it is my sexual life that is autonomous, but it is at least equally true if it is my intellectual life that is autonomous, or even my intellectual life in a highly selective area. Any autonomy is wrong. Autonomous science or autonomous art is wrong if by autonomous science or art we mean it is free from the content of what God has told us. This does not mean that we have a static science or art, just the opposite. It gives us the form inside which, being finite, freedom is possible.”
If we fail to take an all-encompassing approach to holiness, we risk falling into moral failure. Therefore, we must be willing to take an honest look at our beliefs and choose to change before our degraded convictions negatively impact our lifestyle or our relationships with others.
Battlefield #2 Deception Of The Mind
“I will never have enough.” “I will never be like ”. “I am not good enough.”
Ever catch yourself making these negative statements in your mind? While these are common thoughts, when constantly repeated they could become an unhealthy part of our psyche. The Bible makes it very clear that, as believers, we are more than conquerors in Christ. Scriptures also exhorts us to remember that we can do all things through Christ!
Constantly entertaining negative thoughts can bring us one of the following destructive thought patterns: unhealthy competition or an inferiority complex.
Unhealthy competition—A thought pattern where we view the success of others as negative instead of inspiring or motivating. This thought pattern adds undue stress and, if objectives cannot be met, it can climax into a state of depression.
Inferiority complex—A thought pattern where we live in a world of smallness, never stepping into all that God had intended for us. Sadly, too many of us remain “potentials” without experiencing fulfillment because we have allow these deceptive thoughts to cage us in.
“What if this happens? What if that happens?”
This state of constant worry and anxiety seeks to insert overwhelming pressures and concerns (both real and imagined) into our mind, stopping us from stepping out in faith to see God’s power to be at work in our lives. Such deception can cause us to over-think or jump to conclusions about events that may not happen.
Unknowingly, we enthrone our worries and anxieties and dethrone God in our minds. These thoughts will, both mentally and emotionally, suck the life out of us.
“Bad things always happen to me.”
“As a man thinketh, he will be.” This thought pattern is the classic self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. Our thoughts are intricately connected to our behaviors, and deception can blow negative images out of proportion. The reality of life is that bad things can happen even to good people because of sin. However, continually projecting negative consequence denies Christ’s work on the cross. Every power of Satan was broken at the cross. At the resurrection, Christ gave us His victory.
As believers, we must affirm and believe that He has given us victory and freedom.
How can we be victorious in this epic battle for our minds?
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 reminds us: “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. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”
- We need to know the Word of God.
We should invest time in finding Scriptures that deal specifically with the battle for our minds. We also need to constantly pray these Scriptures into our lives to stop negative thoughts from having an opportunity to manifest in our lives. The more intimate we are with the Word of God, the better we will be in our ability to discern the subtleties of this battle. Like a bank teller who handles notes day in and day out, we can sharpen our skills and learn to recognize when a negative thought, is presented to us.
By declaring Christ absolute Lord of our lives and dwelling in His Word, we will be protected from the lies and deceptions of the enemy. The Bible says that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword. When we live in alignment with the Word of God, falsehoods and lies will be exposed. The Word of God will cleanse us from the deceptions and rationalization of our minds.
- We need to demolish every wrong thought and bring it under Christ’s captivity
The Word of God must be the sole authority for faith and practice in our lives. We must use the Word of God to govern our thoughts and actions, to arrest and destroy every wrong thought before they grow uncontrollably. We need to be deliberate in examining our thoughts and act on what Scripture approves, deny, or rejects. We cannot entertain negative or impure thoughts lest rationalization and deception enter our minds.
We must learn to take an honest look at our beliefs and turn them towards Christ, put our pride aside and allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts for areas that are not fully submitted to Him. This is all done in the battleground of the mind, our thought life.
Our thought life must be disciplined by the Spirit and the Word. The apostle Paul instructed the church to renew our minds by the Word of God. This is how we can demolish the strongholds of both rationalization and deception. Once we are guided and led by the Spirit and the Word, there will be a birth of convictions and the strengthening of beliefs, thus demolishing the intended work of the enemy.
One of the most important things that you and I have is the power of choice, to decide what we will and will not do. Unlike the rest of the created order, we do not have to succumb to our natural instincts—we have free will! Exercise your freedom by choosing to believe in the Word of God instead of the words of the enemy.
- We must form godly friendships that can help, support and correct us
We were never meant to walk alone in this journey of faith. This is why my motto in life is, “You never walk alone.” The Christian community is one that will help hold us accountable for our individual growth and development, to encourage us and help us achieve restoration in Christ.
“As irons sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Therefore, if you are constantly struggling with battles in your mind, I encourage you to be accountable to a spiritual leader for prayer and support. The enemy will try to bind you with lies of shame and guilt but you don’t have to fight these battles alone. Once you step out and speak about your struggles, the grip will loosen and you can begin that journey toward freedom.
Galatians 5:1 reminds us that, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Let’s continue to renew our mind, to fill it with things that are right and Biblical. Let’s stand strong in our convictions and turn our thoughts towards Christ, for we know we already have the victory in Him.
About Rev Dominic Yeo
Reverend Dominic Yeo has been serving as the General Superintendent for the Assemblies of God of Singapore since April 2010. He also serves as the Secretary of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, Chairman of the Asia Pacific Assemblies of God Fellowship, and is part of the Advisory Council of the Pentecostal World Fellowship.
Reverend Yeo is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Christian Centre, a church with an average weekly attendance of 7,500. Under his leadership, Trinity has become a local church with global impact through 1,700 lay leaders, a missions program reaching over 40 nations, a social service arm serving the local community, and an accredited multi-disciplinary Christian college.
Having been dramatically transformed by God in his youth, he carries the heart of God and has tremendous relentless belief in people to fulfill their God-given destiny. Known for his visionary and strategic leadership, he trains and provides consultations to churches, helping them to experience transformation and break into new levels of growth. Reverend Yeo also mentors senior pastors in the areas of spiritual and organizational leadership.