In her book “Get out of Your Head,” Jennie Allen suggests that the biggest battle that believers face is the battle between our ears.
To her point, I recently read that our brain produces 3,000 thoughts per hour. If we’re awake 18 hours a day, we are processing approximately 54,000 thoughts each day. How are you processing these thoughts?
Are you blindly following the rabbit trail, or are you intentional in guarding your mind? Are you taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ? Let’s take a deeper dive into what Paul is saying about this to the Corinthians.
“Take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
Are you destroying arguments and lofty opinions that are raised in your mind that go against the knowledge of God? If your thoughts don’t line up with the Word of God, if they disagree with who God says you are, you’re currently losing the battle between your ears. This explains why so many people cry out to God, asking “why” when hard times come their way.
The unprepared Christian becomes a defeated Christian.
Be encouraged, though, if you want to overcome, your Heavenly Father has equipped you with the tools you need to fight the battle and WIN! Believe me when I say you can’t fix what you won’t face. If you don’t get this, you won’t stand firm in fearful times.
Here are four ways to get prepared and win the war ahead.
1. PREPARE FOR BATTLE.
It is imperative to recognize we live in a hostile environment with a hostile enemy. One of Satan’s most effective strategies, and therefore one of our greatest dangers as a believer, is the delusion and disbelief that warfare isn’t necessary.
Failure to plan IS a plan to fail.
As Christians, we must not ignore the malicious and deliberate conflict between good and evil continually raging in the invisible supernatural realm. But, don’t be discouraged! God’s strength is more than enough for each individual battle. When we choose to follow Him, there is no need to fear because God is on our side.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:6-7
2. PUSH THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS.
Scripture is clear about Satan’s real and personal existence. He was once the chief angel, the anointed cherub, the star of the morning, who sparkled with all the jewels of created beauty—until he rebelled against his Creator and tried to usurp His power and authority.
Satan first appears in Scripture in the form of a serpent, as he tempted Adam and Eve. Jesus not only spoke about Satan but spoke with him. Paul, Peter, James, John, and the writer of Hebrews all speak of Satan as a personal being. Understand that Satan is real, and he has a game plan. He brought sin into the world, and the whole world now lies in his power. His ultimate desire is to turn you away from God and back to your sinful nature.
In the Bible, we see Satan…
- Opposing God’s work (Zech. 3:1)
- Perverting God’s Word (Matt. 4:6)
- Hindering God’s servant (1 Thess. 2:18)
- Hindering the Gospel (2 Cor. 4:4)
- Snaring the wicked (1 Tim. 3:7)
- Appearing as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14)
- Fighting with the archangel Michael (Jude 9)
Stand firm. In James 4:7, we are called to resist and stand firm, but don’t overlook the beginning of this verse, which says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” Brothers and sisters, if you are not submitted, I can assure you that you will not have the power to resist and stand firm.
Do you lack joy, feeling like a constant failure, always falling back into old patterns with no hope of ever getting out, comparing yourself to others? You are probably in a spiritual battle, getting bruised and beaten because you weren’t prepared.
Let’s take a look at Ephesians, where we see our need for God’s help and learn how to armor up for battle so we can be strong in the Lord.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-20
3. PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD.
To operate in the fullness of Christ and battle with the power and strength of God, a believer must put on the full spiritual armor that He freely supplies. We must put it on daily, wear it intentionally, treat it as the life-long companion that it is, and allow it to equip us to resist Satan and his army.
The Belt of Truth. Being girded with God’s truth allows us to stand firm in every situation and helps us expose every area where Satan tries to spread lies or “half-truths.”
The Breastplate of Righteousness. Many, if not most, of the emotional and relational problems Christians experience are caused by a lack of personal holiness. Put on the breastplate of righteousness and allow it to protect your heart from all condemnation and corruption.
The Gospel of Peace. Today, the church is often guilty of supplying believers with the paper armor of good advice, programs, activities, techniques, and methods—when what they need is to be equipped to follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting to boldly share the Gospel with those whom He places in our lives. Let’s prepare to share the Gospel of peace everywhere we go.
The Shield of Faith. We cross a bridge with the faith that it will support us. We eat food trusting that it is not poisoned. We put our lives in the security of airplanes, trains, ships, buses, and automobiles, confident that they are safe. How much more confidence should we have when we take up the shield of faith? Before a battle, Roman soldiers would saturate their shields in water, ensuring the “fiery darts” used by their enemies would be extinguished upon hitting the shield. I encourage you to pick up your shield every day and saturate it with faith that nothing can overcome you because He is with you. These battle shields were also designed to connect so the armies could advance together as a strong wall, not allowing penetration. Don’t underestimate the power of linking your shield with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Helmet of Salvation. There are three aspects of salvation for the believer. The first is freedom from the penalty of sin, called Justification: “just-as-if I had never sinned.” Second, the gradual process of Sanctification, which is freedom from the power of sin as we continually grow and mature to be conformed to the image of Christ. Last but certainly not least is Glorification, freedom from the very presence of sin. This is eternal life with our Father in heaven, and the moment we will finally meet our Lord and Savior.
The Sword of the Spirit. This is the Bible—the Word of God. 2 Timothy says of the Bible, that it is Profitable, Infallible, Complete, Authoritative, Effective, Determinative, Defensive, and Offensive. It was Jesus’ weapon of choice when He was being tempted in the wilderness. He spoke the Word when the enemy tried to tempt and deceive Him, and it should be stored in our hearts as well in preparation for our daily battles. The Word is capable of not only inflicting blows but also deflecting the fiery darts of the enemy. Every time God’s Word is used to lead a person to salvation, it gives witness to its power to cut through Satan’s dominion of darkness and bring the light of life to a lost soul.
4. PRAY AT ALL TIMES.
In the words of my mentor, Dr. Norman Geisler, all means all, and that’s all that all means.
Pray at ALL times! In his Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan tells of Christian’s weapon called prayer, which, when everything else failed, would enable him to defeat the fiends in the valley of the shadow.
Prayer is the closing theme of Ephesians, and though closely related to God’s armor, it is not mentioned as part of it because it is much more than that. Prayer is not merely another godly weapon, as crucial as those weapons are.
We are to be in prayer at ALL TIMES because prayer is the very spiritual air that the soldier of Christ breathes. It is the all-pervasive strategy in which warfare is fought, and it’s also time spent cultivating a relationship with the Father.
During prayer, you aren’t just listing out your wants and needs, but you are getting still to listen and learn His voice, so when the enemy tries to whisper lies into the battlefield between your ears, you can quickly discern the lie and take the thought captive.
Each time his team loses a game, a well-known professional football coach tells the players in the locker room afterward: “Gentlemen, I told you how to win. You didn’t do what I told you, and you lost.”
Just like an athlete, a Christian can have great skills, the best training, the best equipment, and a good understanding of what he is supposed to do—and yet fail because he does not follow instructions.
If a football player does poorly when he fails to follow his coach, how much worse does a Christian fare when he fails to follow his Lord? Lack of obedience brings a lack of joy and peace. “The only joyful Christian is the obedient Christian.”
Let’s spring into action today and follow these steps to obedience so we can experience an abundance of joy and peace.
- Identify the weakness in your armor.
- Take action and armor up before you become weak and battle-weary.
- Find accountability and link your shields together in faith.
- Submit yourself to God so you can stand firm and resist the devil.
Let this truth sink into your heart today because this is important, and it matters. It mattered enough to be written in the Bible, so it’s a part of your walk with Christ.
Don’t let the enemy win the battle between your ears because you decided to disobey the “coach.” Let’s live a victorious life in Christ.