Christianity and living the Christian life is a war that goes on between your ears. And is a matter of our thought life more than it is a matter of the devil and demons and what they do. We have to remember that our flesh is fallen; married to Lucifer since the fall and therefore what is natural to man, the will of the flesh is in unity with sin and therefore Satan. That is why it is called the sin nature. It is our nature to sin. You don’t have to train a child to sin, you have to train them not to sin, not to take what isn’t theirs until it’s paid for and so much more. Scripture tells us and we know from our own lives, that a man acts and does in accordance with how he thinks. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Proverbs 23:7.
That is why the battle is in the mind and the devil has worked through the world to influence us to think according to a mindset that is contrary to God and the Bible. We call it a person’s worldview. That is why wicked men who hate God and don’t want to admit there is a God, because they don’t want to be accountable for their actions and lifestyle, and to justify themselves they work extremely hard to train the younger generation to think their way, amoral, immoral, anti-god and try to convince them there is no God and that they descended from monkeys. Heaven forbid that our children should think that there is a God and that He will hold them accountable for keeping the Ten Commandments. After all, that might affect their behavior. Of course it would and that is why the younger generation has no conscience or morals. It has been destroyed by indoctrination and brain-washing.
2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” The Bible doesn’t say “take every demon captive” but “take every thought captive. That is not saying you are not to cast out demons out of demon possessed people. NO, but if you are born again by the spirit of God, then you do not belong to Satan. You might have ways of behaving due to your ways and system of thinking you were trained to have by the world and need to destroy that system of thinking and have your mind renewed by the truth of God’s Word so that you will then act and behave in a different manner, in a way that is godly and acceptable to God.
We have to know that we cannot change our lives by changing our behavior. Dealing with behavior will not change your life. For “As a man thinketh…” You have to change your way of thinking and your thought patters if you are going to change your behavior. You change your life by changing what you think. Then when your thinking is lined up with God’s thinking, God’s Word, then that seals Satan off and he has no entrance into your life. He will come and try to do so, he will throw accusations at you to try and penetrate your mind and thinking because that is how he gets power in a person’s life. If he can get you to think evil thoughts, angry thoughts, hateful thoughts, vengeful thoughts, lustful thoughts, any thoughts contrary to God’s Word, that is how he gets you to act sinfully. You don’t go out and do sinful acts if you didn’t first think and meditate upon them. You don’t go to see a porno movie without desiring it in your mind. You don’t take a gun and go shoot someone unless there are murderous thoughts in your mind.
If you have on the armor of God, if you have on the breastplate of righteousness on and your shield of faith up (which is faith in the Word of God) and your mind filled with the preparation of the Gospel, he can’t get you to do his bidding and dirty work. If the devil can’t penetrate because your sword of the Spirit, the Word of God is sharp and ready then the enemy can’t penetrate your mind and get you to follow his system and way of doing things. The key to the armor of God and putting it on and having it in force in your life is the Word of God, daily renewing your mind to truth, filling your mind with truth and building your faith up with the truth. That is what arms and defends you against the attacks of the enemy against your mind and gives you power to attack him on his own turf. Of course that means that you are obeying that truth that you know, walking in obedience to the Word in your daily life for that is how the Word has power in your life.
Why is it that some who have “come to Christ” are still doing wrong things and have bad habits? It’s because if they are saved, then they have been washed by the blood from their past sins, but that doesn’t renew their mindset and way of thinking and pattern of thinking. That can only be done by the washing of the water of the word Ephesians 5:26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” and the sanctification of the Spirit as He speaks to them and corrects them, Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” They still have an attitude and spirit that was build by a old system of thinking. You can cast the devil out of a person, they can repent and be redeemed, but they are like a fish that has been caught. We are fishermen and we catch fish for the
kingdom of God, but He then has to clean them up. We have to allow the Lord and His Word and His Spirit to then cleanse us by changing our thinking and renewing our minds and correcting us in our daily walk. We have to ask the Lord to teach us “His ways” and show us “His paths” for us to walk in.
It’s like this. You can come and ask for healing and deliverance from cancer. But even if you are healed of that cancer and it was caused by smoking and you refuse to give up the smoking, you can’t blame God if the cancer comes back because you are giving it a place in your life and access to come back by your continued sin against your body. In like manner, we can cast a devil out of someone, bind the devils operating in their life, but unless they change their system of thinking, then Satan will soon have the same access back into your life that he had to begin with. When you were a sinner Satan owned you and he infiltrated you mind and thinking through the world and he filled your mind with landmines that were meant to produce destruction in your life. Once you are born again, his authority and place in your life is removed, but he still has a system of thinking placed inside your mind through this worlds system that has to be broken down and replaced until you renew your mind and have a new way of thinking so that you no longer give access to the devil in your life. You have to be disciplined by the Word and the Spirit to stop getting mad and holding grudges, fighting back and doing and saying things you did before.
It isn’t the first thought that gets you, but thinking on it. It isn’t the first look that produces lust and sin, but the second look. It’s continuing to look that produces lust and sin. It is a process, not one glimpse that maybe you couldn’t avoid or help. James 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” The first look wasn’t what did it, but being then drawn away and giving in to the temptation that entices you and leads to sin. If you nip it in the bud, it will have no power over you. If you immediately yield or submit yourself to God and resist the devil, he will flee (James 4:7) and that will end the temptation and the landmine of Satan to cause you to sin.
I remember when I was a small child and staying at a relatives house, one day I was in a bedroom with the door open and I happened to be looking out the door into the hall when this woman walked naked out of the bathroom and down the hall to her bedroom, right past the door of the bedroom I was in. That didn’t produce lust. Actually I was probably to young anyway, but the point is that it didn’t create a desire in me to see more of her. To me it was kind of grotesque. I wish I could say that was always my attitude in life and that I never lusted but that is just not so. However, I will give you a good example from later in life after I was saved and in love with Jesus.
I remember one time that I was walking down the street and as I approached a voluptuous lady she dropped her handkerchief and bent over in front of me. She had a fairly loose blouse with a large v-neck and no bra on. When she suddenly bent over in front of me, there was no avoiding the immediate view. But then I turned my head away and didn’t continue to look. I didn’t want to see her nakedness, not because she wasn’t beautiful, but because I knew it was no right for me to look at her. These days it is hard to never see that which you shouldn’t because of our society. You can not watch TV and movies and look at magazines that have such pictures, but there are so many women who try to show themselves off that it is hard to totally avoid. But the point is, when you reject the temptation that the enemy throws at your mind, then you overcome. If you give in and begin to think evil thoughts, you will sin. It doesn’t matter if it is lust, anger, covetousness, or whatever. Wrong thinking leads to sin. Taking our thoughts captive and casting down evil imaginations keeps us from sin. It is simple in theory, but sometimes hard to do.
The reality is that the devil works through your thought life. If he can get you to thinking wrong, he can get you to sin. It’s that simple. If someone says something mean or cruel to you or does you wrong, it is natural to strike back, to get upset, angry and it is godly and spiritual maturity to forgive and let it go, like water off a ducks back. That ability doesn’t just come overnight because you came to Christ and were born again, but takes time, like a child growing up and becoming a mature adult. That is why when we come to Christ, no matter our age, scripture calls us babes in Christ. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Peter 2:2). Then we have to grow up and learn the ways of God and become mature by renewing the thinking in our minds and learning to shut the devil out of our thought life.
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Satan understands this and he cannot do anything in your life unless your flesh cooperates with him. Let us look at the verse before and after so we get the whole context. Proverbs 23:6-7 “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” Notice the context. A person can pay you compliments and invite you to dinner to eat and drink and say your welcome here. But that doesn’t reveal who they really are because who they really are is what they are thinking on the inside. We confuse a person with what they say. We are not what we say but what we think. A man, through guile and subtly can deceive and manipulate as so many wicked men and politicians do today. Don’t confuse what they are saying with who they are. Sometimes men will speak peace with their lips, but war is in their heart. Psalm 55:21 “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” Men can be very deceitful. What we are thinking on the inside is who we really are. When someone comes up to you and asks, “How are you today” and you answer “Great, everything is fine” but inside you are thinking, “what a lousy miserable day, why do you ask me such a question, you don’t care anyway and I am sick of this place.”
Now, which is the real you, what you said or what you are thinking that they don’t know. As you think, that is who you are. We must pay more attention to changing the thoughts we think than saying the words we speak. It doesn’t matter what you say and confess if insider your heart you don’t believe it, then you can confess the opposite until you are blue in the face, but it will not change anything in your life. That is why to most, after a while of going through the empty ritual of confessing things they are told to confess, like “I am the righteousness of God” but in their heart they believe they are unrighteous and can’t change, then nothing will. If you are sick and you confess, “By His stripes I am healed” but in your mind don’t believe it or that God will heal you, then you will never be healed. Why?
James 1:6-7 “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James also said “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick,…” (James 5:14-15). The prayer must be in faith and you must believe and the person praying for you must believe. Why? Jesus never said “It doesn’t matter what you believe, be healed” but “According to your faith be it unto you.” Jesus believed, the Apostles believed and they healed everyone who came to them believing, who had faith to believe, whether the blind men who came to Jesus or the lady with the issue of blood or the crippled man that was healed through Peter, the recipient always believed and when their faith’s were united, then the healing came. When two agreed in faith, as touching that which they asked for, it was received (Matthew 18:19).
Now it is good and necessary to speak the Word of God, but it also just as necessary to believe the Word of God that you speak. You must agree with what He said that you are speaking. That is why Romans 10:9-10 says that you must confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and even more specifically it is personal, it means that you confess Him as your Lord, to be saved. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” You must believe what you speak or what you speak will not have the desired result of salvation. Salvation is a by-product of speaking words with our mouth that we believe in our heart. If you don’t believe it, then there will be no result. What we believe will be in line with what we are thinking.
The focus can’t be on just what you say or confess but must be on your faith. Mark 11:23 “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” You must believe and not doubt what you speak, in your heart meaning that you have no thoughts contrary to what you speak otherwise God says you are couble-minded and will not receive anything from Him. That is the most important step of confession and what we confess is what we believe. Too many preachers are just telling the people to confess this and that, confess “I am, I have, I can do” but the focus is wrong because it is on what they confess, not what they believe and that is the most important part of faith. That is where faith is, in your heart, in your thoughts, not in your mouth. They must be in agreement or the confession will be meaningless. That is why so many have confessed to the point of being blue in the face without seeing and results or change. The thing we are desiring and confessing for depends on the weight of confidence in your heart in believing what you are saying and not just saying the words for it is only when they are in agreement that there is true faith and power. Then if what you are asking and confessing is according to the will of God, He will do it.
1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” The one that must precede the other is what you believe needs to come before what you say. What you speak is meaningless if it is not preceded by thinking and believing what you say. When you speak out of what you think and believe, then your words have meaning and power. Then they are real. When what you say out of your mouth are not in alignment with what you think and believe, then your words have not power. “Believers” have focused on what they confess and not what they think and believe. That makes for shallow and empty confessions. Our thought life is the parent of what we believe in our heart and that must be the parent of what we speak in faith in God.
Those who are in churches that teach and practice positive confession, if they are not first truly born again of the spirit of God, I don’t care what they confess, it will never bring reality or change the reality that they are not even redeemed by the blood of Jesus and any spirit they have is only a religious spirit, a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. Confessing, “I am the righteousness of God, I am a child of God, I can have what the Bible says I can have, I can do what the Bible says I can do, I am what the Bible says I am” is a bunch of empty meaningless words when you have never repented of your sins and your sinful life and disobedience to God and unbelief in His Word. I’m sorry; confession will not bring possession of anything spiritual or eternal to one who doesn’t possess the goods to begin with. Teaching a sinner to confess spiritual things is deception and brain washing. There is no basis for the confession being made and it will not change spiritual reality and the fact that one is not saved. You can confess “I’m saved” all day, but that will not make any difference or save you. Most confessions and professions of faith are deceptive and will not and do not bring about changed lives.
You must first repent to be saved. Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” That word repent, the Greek (metanoeo, met-an-o-eh’-o) means to think differently, to have a change of thinking that changes behavior, not something that is the result of temporary emotions, but a decision that is something that comes form the mind and will that is brought about by a revelation of God’s demands. You reconsider your lifestyle, you reconsider your disobedience to God and your independence from Him and rebellion against His Word and authority in your life. When you repent and confess Jesus as your Lord, that means that you surrender to His authority, to make a decision to change your direction and stop living a life of rebellion and instead to live a life of obedience. This takes will and purpose of mind and far more than emotions of being touched by a story.
People in the world go see a movie that is nothing godly at all and cry, they call it a “tear jerker” but does it cause or bring a change in the life and change in direction in life? No, and neither will and emotional “decision” and cheap confession or profession of faith in Christ, without considering His demands upon your life and deciding to change the direction of your life. It takes a real quality decision and it is the only way to redemption. The standard “sinner’s prayer” is cheap grace and not Scriptural for there is no repentance in it. You must repent and be converted in your mind to be redeemed. True faith in Christ leads to a change in direction in life and lifestyle and it is not cheap. Cheap decisions for Christ make for shallow marshmallow Christians with no spiritual backbone, no spiritual gut or ability to stand for Christ, but makes “Christian in name only” converts to man-made religion.
You must have faith in your heart to back up the words of your mouth when you repent of your sin and when you make a confession of faith in God and His Word. That is critical and when they are not connected, it simply won’t work. You can plug a device into a power outlet, but if that outlet is not connected to the power source, it looks like a power source, but it has no power and will produce no results. If the fuse is blown or cut off, your electrical devices simply will not work, no matter what you do or how many times you reseat the connection into the outlet. It is no difference spiritually with your confessions. You might speak words that look and sound good, but if you’re disconnected behind the scenes and there is no faith in your words, then there is no power or benefit. Our confession needs to come out of the overflow of what you really think and believe, then that will start changing your life. Your thought life is the road by which Satan works in and gets access into your life and it is also the road by which God is able to work in your life. You have to control who has access to that highway into your life.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” He mentions three things, strongholds, imagination and thoughts. A thought unchecked will become an imagination or an image in your mind. It’s like when a person speaks a word to you, what happens, you don’t see the word, but an image, a picture. If you own a dog and the person says dog, what comes to your mind is your pet dog, a friend to you. To another who doesn’t have one and maybe is scared of dogs because of a bad experience, they might see in their mind a growling Doberman. In other words the same word brings up different images to different people. If I say “God” the image in your mind will be in accordance with your faith. When the devil speaks a word to you, what do you see? When the devil speaks a word and you meditate upon it, it turns into an image in your mind and as you give yourself to it, it then can become a stronghold in your mind, one that is hard to break down or destroy and get out of your mind.
Anger begins as a thought; then it turns into an imagination and then a stronghold. Then you are filled and controlled by anger and no longer in control for it has gained a stronghold in your life because you yielded to a thought and you nurtured and fed that thought and let it grow and grow until it has the ability to consume and then men kill and do all sorts of wickedness because of anger, taking revenge, striking out at others in many ways, because of a thought of anger that was not rejected and cast down and taken captive, but yielded to and fed.
King David looked upon a lovely woman that was not his wife, then he looked a second time, more than having seen or noticing her, but gazed upon her beauty, then he called for her, then he committed adultery with her. It began as a thought, then he nursed it and meditated upon it and didn’t cast it down with the Word of God, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and so he called for her and gave in more to the thoughts he had and then he took her for his own.
If we want to tear down strongholds we have to deal with our imaginations or images in our mind and if we want to deal with our imaginations we have to deal with our thought life. Though we can portray a godly Christian life on the outside, we have to deal with our inner thought life because that is who we really are and what will ultimately manifest in our lives. So our thought life must be on what God says about us and understand the image that God has for us and meditate upon that image that God has for us to allow that to create a stronghold of faith in our lives rather than allowing the devil to setup a stronghold in our minds of what he wants for our lives. It’s simple, the two are 180 degree apart. Whatever God wants, is opposite what the devil wants. Whatever the devil wants or our flesh wants is opposite what God wants for our lives. We must go to the thought level to deal with our life and actions.
The Greek word for captivity, in “bringing into captivity every thought” (aichmalotizo, aheekh-mal-o-tid'-zo) means to lead away captive. The root word (aichmalotos, aheekh-mal-o-tos) means to lead captive as a prisoner of war and comes from aichme (a spear or sword). It is saying you take your thoughts captive as to conquer or take a captive with a spear, at the point of a spear or sword. Hebrews 4:12-13 says; “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
The only thing that can conquer your wrong thoughts is a sword. Part of the armor of God we are to put on to conquer the schemes, wiles or strategy of the devil (the methodeia, meth-od-i'-ah of the devil) is the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. The only way to take wrong thoughts, thoughts that are of the devil captive; is taking them captive is by the Word of God. You must attack that thought with something greater than that thought. What is greater than a wrong thought of lust, the Word of God! What is greater than a wrong thought of anger, the Word of God! What is greater than a wrong thought of covetousness, the Word of God! What is greater than a thought that you can’t do it, you can’t make it, your family life will be ruined, your job will be lost, you’re doomed to failure, you can never get well from a sickness, or any other negative or bad thought?
The Word of God is more powerful than any fiery dart of the enemy that comes by a though and you can defeat and destroy it, taking it captive as a prisoner of war, with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The Word is greater than any thought that the enemy might throw into your thought life, whatever he is trying to get you to believe, speak the Word of God to him as the Sword coming out of your mouth, to slay that thought and take it captive. Speak the Word to that thought and let the sword do its work and set you free. If you speak it in faith, out of faith, it will work and the enemy and that thought will be defeated. You don’t have to listen to or believe the lies of the devil, but you do have to do your part and use the shield of faith to block his fiery darts and the Sword of the Spirit to defeat and take captive his evil darts thrown at you.
Your mind is the road that Satan uses to get access to your life. So you need a road block to stop him. Or see yourself as a building and then set up a receptionist, a security desk that anyone who would enter the building must first go through. You need to put a security desk in your heart and mind that says, every thought must first check into to my security desk and get clearance before entering into my mind, my house and my life and that security clearance desk is controlled by the Word of God. What the Word says is good, then that can come into my mind and life. What the Word says is bad for me and destructive, then there it must stop and not be allowed entrance into my mind and life. A good verse to start with, to place as a security filter is Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
May the Lord help us to grasp this and to learn true faith in Christ.
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