The attitude we have while we are in the wilderness, will determine just how long we stay in the wilderness. Let there be no mistake about it; there is a war going on in and over our minds. I’ve recently finished a Joyce Meyer study called “Battlefield of the Mind” and she said some things that I truly believe will help you fight back and take back control over your mind and your thinking. The Israelites’ forty year journey was only supposed to be an eleven day trip so why did it take forty years? It took so long because of their attitude and lack of faith.
Lord, I pray that our minds would be renewed and that our eyes would be opened to your many truths. What is going on in our minds dictates what is going on in our life, so we must continually guard our mind and our thinking. The problem is that our minds have run rampant for so many years and our thinking, as a result, needs to be changed. We also need to discover how we can live here and above the mess of our lives. Controlling our minds is crucial in doing this, but knowing God’s word is even more important. Knowing what Satan meant for harm, God will use for good gives us a different perspective on our circumstances. When our mind begins to gravitate towards thinking: there is no hope, nothing will ever change, and I am no good; we must remember that God has a plan and a purpose for our life; a plan to prosper us and a plan to give us a hope and a future. We can’t lose hope because God can turn our messes into miracles and He can turn our tragedies into triumphs. Our attitude determines not only our perception in our circumstances, but also how long we have to walk through them. I love what Joyce Meyer said, “You complain and you’ll remain and if you’ll praise you’ll be raised.” If we can keep our mind full of thinking about good things, the devil won’t be able to fill our mind with bad things. II Corinthians 10:4 tells us, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” The only way for us to show if we know anything about God’s word is to take a look at what we are doing. We can’t have victory in our own lives by osmosis. We need to start having those victories in our own life and using them as testimonies of God’s faithfulness. Feeling defeated leads to depression and depression equates to the devil robbing us of God’s joy. Satan is a liar and a thief, but when we know God’s word and have it written on our hearts, the enemy can’t rob us of God’s promises and he can’t deceive us into believing his lies. What we believe is reality and we must realize that we have weapons at our disposal to defeat Satan and his dominions. We are to resist the devil and he will flee, but we are also to submit ourselves to God. The best way to do this is to show love in all that we do. We need to get up every day with the mindset that in everything we do, that we are going to be a blessing everywhere we go no matter how bad we are hurting or how horrible of a day we had yesterday. If we do this, Satan will not know what to do with himself and he will have to flee. Showing love is a catalyst that leads to joy in our life.
We love to talk about our problems and we all have people in our lives whose problems always seem to be bigger than our own, no matter the circumstances. Sometimes after hearing the same thing over and over, I just want to say, “I think you’ve talked about that enough; move on.” My well of compassion turns into a cesspool of frustration because dwelling on defeat and how bad things are is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. The Israelites did this and instead of receiving manna, God rained down fiery serpents. Philippians 2:14 tells us, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” If we do this, it says that we will shine like stars in the universe. We are supposed to be the salt and the light of this world, but when we complain about our circumstances, we don’t stand out. Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. God hates sin because He knows the pain and suffering it causes and I hate depression because I see it for what it is. Instead of wallowing in our self pity, we should be rolling scriptures off of our tongue declaring victory over our lives and we should be looking for God’s blessing in all of our life’s circumstances. I’ve had some cards dealt to me facedown that turned out to be horrible and painful hands, but the longer we stay upset and discouraged, the more delighted Satan becomes. The devil sets us up to get mad before anything ever happens. As we wake up each morning the first thoughts and words we have should be praise to God for all the good things in our life. If our mind starts thinking of things not of God, we must catch ourselves and tell the devil, “You are a liar and you won’t steal from me what God has promised me.” There are two times when the enemy will come after us: when we are doing something right, and when we are doing something wrong. The Bible tells us that the righteous will be persecuted. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, Satan waited until Jesus was weak and tired, so we must stay clear-minded and alert even when we are at our weakest. The devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. We read in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus was following the Holy Spirit when He was attacked and the first thing the enemy tried to do was to have Jesus question who He was. The enemy knows if he steals our confidence, he has our life, so we must remember that when we are at our weakest, our Lord is at His strongest. The second thing he tried to get Jesus to do was take an action that was not God inspired. How many times in our own lives have we been tempted to do works of the flesh? How many times is prayer the last thing we resort to? The devil talks to us by putting thoughts into our mind, but when we know God’s word, we can reply to Satan as Jesus did by saying, “It is written, It is written, It is written.” When the devil speaks negative thoughts to us, we had better get in the habit of speaking back and I’m not talking about just saying the scriptures in our head; I’m talking about saying them out loud. I’m talking about putting on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. I’m talking about waging war in the heavenlies. A lifestyle of intimacy with Jesus is essential if we are to be involved in spiritual warfare even at the most basic level. Prayer is one of most powerful weapons at our disposal. We should pray, “Satan, we come against you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are armed with the blood and the Word of God, our sword. Right now we pierce you with the truth that Jesus Christ came in the flesh to destroy your works. Greater is He that lives in us and more powerful are those with us, than those with you. Everything we bind on earth is bound in heaven, and with that authority, we cast you down.” This is spiritual warfare, and we must never forget, we operate not in our authority but Christ’s authority, which has been given to us in order to advance the Kingdom of God.
Just because we don’t believe in something doesn’t make it any less real. We may not believe in hell, but that won’t stop anyone from going there. One of the greatest tricks the devil has ever played is convincing the world that he does not exist. I Peter 5:9 tells us, “We are to withstand and resist the devil at his onset, knowing that our brothers and sisters in Christ and enduring the same torment.” We must come against the lies of Satan right when they present themselves. When the devil throws a pity party in our honor, we have the right not to RSVP. We can’t be pitiful and powerful at the same time. We must get in the habit of not worrying about our needs as much and instead we must start to focus on sowing seeds. Real change will begin to happen when we put the needs of others before our own. So never worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Christ instructs us to throw all of our worry on him, because he cares for us. When we cast our burdens upon the LORD, He will sustain us; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
We have many weapons at our disposal; the Word is a weapon and praise & worship is a weapon, but one thing we must remember is that being thankful is a huge part of praise & worship. We do this by thanking God for every little thing that goes right in our life. We must stop thinking about the things that haven’t gone our way and start thanking God for the things that have. We need to realize that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers, but when things don’t go our way, we feel let down or discouraged. God alone knows what is best, but somehow our minds seem to automatically go to what’s wrong in our life. When this happens, we must remember that His ways are higher than our own. Joy will begin to come back into your life if you will give to God what is wrong in prayer and begin to praise God for the things that are right. Like Paul, we all have thorns in our flesh. No matter how holy we get, no matter how much we change, no matter how far the process of sanctification goes in our life; there will always be something we struggle with. I’m not saying this to depress you; I am telling you I believe God leaves something in us to force us to realize and remember our humanness and forces us to stay humble before Him and forces us to lean on Him and press on. God’s strength in our lives pushes back our adversaries and His strength tramples down those who rise up against us. Even when we get over what we are dealing with right now, something else is bound to pop-up in its place; God just hasn’t shown us what it is yet. We need to stop thinking about what’s wrong with us all the time and start thanking God for the changes we’ve seen, the hope that we have, and for the changes we are expecting. It’s time we start believing the word of God! The next time the enemy tries to bring all the wrong things you’ve done to mind, you say, “I may not do everything right, but I don’t do everything wrong, I may not be where I need to be, but I praise God I’m not where I used to be.” It’s one thing to read about the promises of God, to talk about the promises of God, to hear about the promises of God, but it’s another thing to be living in them and experiencing them.
We all go through a wilderness time, but how long we stay there is up to us. We turn ant hills into mountains and it is up to us to either move them or move on. A humbling reminder of our journey can be found in Hebrews 5:12. “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” Ouch… Even though we should be teaching each other, we still have to be spoon fed. We have to let go of the things that have been holding us in bondage. Our lives are a mess because our minds are a mess. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” I Corinthians 2:16 says that we have been given the mind of Christ. The devil can’t have our joy if we won’t give it to him and he can’t have our peace if we won’t give it to him. We’ve got to stop being angry at other people’s bad choices and begin to realize and believe that our past does not dictate our future. We must release our pain, our suffering, our hurt, and any injustice we have felt to God as an offering. When things are out of our hands we can have confidence that they are in His. I love Isaiah 61:7-8; “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.” Our God is a god of justice and He will make everything right and the more screwed up your past is, the more God can bless you if you will let Him. Turning back to Egypt like the Israelites talked about doing repeatedly is not the answer. Beth Moore talks about going back to the land of Ur as going back to our Usual Routine. Why when all of our past experiences have ever caused us is pain and strife do we want to go back into that bondage? Unless we get in agreement with God, He can’t do anything in our life. Two cannot walk together unless they have agreed to do so (Amos 3:3).
We’ve got to stop waiting for someone else to fix our problems. God’s promises are ours, but we have to grab hold of them like we are holding onto the horns of the altar. When you think that you can’t hold on any longer, remember that God’s timing is perfect in everything and He will make all things right. God will not allow anything that is beyond us; even when we can’t hold on any longer, He is still holding onto us. He tells us in Deuteronomy 30:11, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” When the voice in your head says you can’t do it, you say Philippians 4:13 aloud, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” We can’t know if the devil is lying to us if we don’t know the word of God. In our daily routines, we have to slow down so that we can discern things and be able to pray in the spirit about them. We need to be listening for God at all times, not just when we need something. Our faith and our obedience move God and bring Him glory so we need to start keeping our mind tapped into the Spirit. Romans 8:6, tells us, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Our problem isn’t in knowing what God wants us to do; our problem is doing it. Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called God’s children.” Just reading Philippians 4:6 has the power to calm my spirit: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” If we will do this, then verse 7 promises: “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Facing your daily challenges head-on is challenging if you are worried about the past and future. We must cling to God in the here and now. The strength and answers we seek come exactly when we need them. Real faith is: trusting in God and walking one day at a time. I used to be so disappointed with the way my life had turned out, yet I was too afraid of trying it God’s way because I was afraid of being disappointed. Looking back, I realize how crazy my rationalization was; I was disappointed and afraid of being disappointed. Once I truly started living in the spirit, I found true peace. One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 16:20. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Knowing God’s word and His promises empowers us, but not knowing them cripples us. Having a deceived mind produces a deceived life. Deception in essence, means that the devil tells us a lie and we believe it or the devil works through someone else and we believe them. Matthew 24:4 instructs us to not allow anyone to deceive us nor lead us astray. We are to be as gentle as doves, but as wise as serpents. One of the most deceptive things we can do is think that we know everything, but if we don’t know God’s word, we won’t know if we are being lied to or led astray. Praise God that if this is where we are at, it is not where we have to stay. We’re not a failure when we fail; we’re a failure when we quit trying. Our reasoning and our rationalization causes more confusion than anything else in our lives. I used to try to figure everything out and my mind stayed in constant overdrive, but the more I tried to figure things out, the more I was confused. We need to be open to what God wants to teach us. We must set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. We serve the Prince of Peace, not the author of confusion.
When we remove areas of strongholds in our lives, we must guard ourselves for the retaliatory strike. Matthew 12:45 tells us, “Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” When a stronghold is broken in our lives, we must make sure that we fill that void with Godly thinking and Godly living. When we do this, God becomes our shield and He repels the fiery darts of the enemy’s attack. Life may not be fare, but God is. He will take things that were meant to harm you and He will use them to your advantage. God wants us to dream a new dream so that He can connect the dots of our life. What we see as a set-back is a set-up for something better. When we are down to nothing, God is up to something. God dreams and the devil schemes and God’s dream for you is bigger than you could possibly imagine. I’ll close with John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” Trust God and you won’t be let down.