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Restoring the WAY of the Kingdom... Preparing people for the return of the KING!
Reclaim Your Mind from the Devil
So you've made the biggest decision of your life. You have given your life to Jesus to become a "Born Again Christian." First of all, Congratulations and welcome to the family. May your journey be fruitful and enjoyable. Millions of persons have made the choice to follow Jesus, but unfortunately, for various reasons, not all stick with their decision. Will you stick with yours? You will if you make the necessary mental adjustments to do so, but, depending on the circumstances of your decision to accept Christ, it may not be as easy as you were led to believe, but I'm writing this so that you don't lose hope and give up. Read on.
In the beginning, when many people give their lives to Jesus, their train of thought goes something like the following:
"Yahoo -- I'm not going to Hell! Man, I'm so excited and relieved. All of those things I did in the past that I was so ashamed of have been forgiven. I'm Clean, really clean and forgiven! Whew! Thank God, finally free... I don't have to be afraid of sin anymore and I'M NOT GOING TO HELL!!!....
Then some time passes and the initial jubilation of their momentous decision wears off. Reality resets itself. Now their thought processes may go something like this:
"I know I'm a Christian and Christians aren't supposed to sin, but it's only been a few weeks since I gave my life to Jesus, yet I don't feel any real difference in my life. Why am I still being pulled into the same old bad habits again? How come, I still have urges to do things I know are not pleasing to Jesus? I just can't seem to shake my addiction to illicit sex, drugs, alcohol... I thought, it was supposed to be easy to resist sin now. I thought I wouldn't want to sin anymore. What's wrong with me? Am I really saved???"
Suffice it to say, that if the above train of thought is not dealt with, the eventual outcome for the new believer is a return to his or her old way of life with no visible evidence to say that they had ever given their life to Jesus. Is this you? Does it seem that giving your life to Jesus has all been in vain? Have all of your old bad ways come roaring back with a vengeance and now you are wondering what it means to be saved anyway? Well don't despair. You are not alone. I'm sorry to say that this is not an uncommon experience for many new Christians, but the good news is that it can be rectified if the appropriate steps are taken. The solution is really quite simple and it is this:
Once you become "Born Again", you must Reclaim Your Mind from the Devil and give it over to Jesus .
§ Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil's strategies. This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. God's Word Translation
§ The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people's defenses, that is, their arguments and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ. God's Word Translation
§ Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God's compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you. Don't become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect. God's Word Translation (Emphasis mine)
What does all this mean for you, the new believer? It means that you are fighting an incredible battle against entities from the unseen spiritual world, but more importantly, the battlefield itself is your mind , the very place where all of your thoughts, ideals and beliefs, intellect, reasoning, values, dreams, desires and perceptions abide. All of these can be and are being used against you as weapons, by manipulative whisperings from supernatural dark entities whose ultimate aim is to get you to renounce your decision to live for Christ. In other words, THE VERY THOUGHTS OF YOUR OWN MIND ARE THE WEAPONS THAT THE DEVIL IS USING TO DESTROY YOU!!! What hope do you or does anyone have against such deviousness? Continue reading if you want to salvage your salvation.
One of the first things you must understand as a new Christian is this: Your mind and your body are your interface with the world around you. The mind in conjunction with the body is the means by which you interact with everything; they are your link to the physical material world. The human mind is the most powerful learning computer ever created, but it is in need of information, (programming if you will) so that a person can function normally. As a new Born Again Believer, you must be careful not to take in bad information/programming. If you do, you can end up doing things based on this bad information that are contrary to what you know to be right and good. If for example, for years you have been programmed to eat a diet high in fats and sugars, you may know that is not good for your body to continue in such a dietary nightmare and wish to change. But because this kind of diet tastes good to you, you are hesitant to change over to a healthier diet. Furthermore, your body will resist any attempts by you to change to a healthy diet because it (your body) has become accustomed to the old way of eating. It is comfortable and likes things the way they are. Even if you make it up in your mind that you need to change your diet, you will often find yourself vacillating, doing things that contradict your new determination and you may become frustrated to the point that you give up and continue in your old way, your old mindset. To win this war, you must not only conquer your body's cravings and desires for the old and comfortable, you must first and foremost conquer and discipline your own mind, reestablishing something formerly known as "will power." You will have to uproot your old bad learning and replace it with new good learning about healthy eating. Then you will have to discipline your body to accept the change you seek.
Eliminating your old sinful life is no different, and it too can be just as difficult. The Apostle Paul spoke of his battles against self in Romans 7:7-25 and from his observations; we can see how difficult conquering our old mind sets can be. But know this, by the grace of the Holy Spirit of God who indwells every Christian, the battle can be won, but the fight must be waged in the battle field of the mind by uprooting the old ways of thinking that you have lived with all your life. You can only do this by replacing the old learning with the new, which are the principles and precepts of the Kingdom way of thinking. You must fill your mind, your thoughts and emotions with the Word of God, your primary and most powerful weapon. To further ensure your victory, you will have to be crafty and totally change the way you operate. Before you were saved, you lived for the devil and you were under his constant influence without ever quite realizing it. Because of this, you must now force yourself to do things differently and learn to perceive the world around you from a Godly perspective. The devil knows you and all of your habits so he will have an upper hand on you if you try to continue living as you did before you gave your life to Christ. Renewing your mind can be difficult and time consuming, but success can be had if you do the following:
1. Be determined to change . You should never give up or quit. After all, changing from your old way of life which had you on a path to eternal damnation was the primary reason you sought to become a child of God.
2. Be Patient (it is a fruit of the Spirit). Cultivate it in abundance. You will need it.
3. Study your old way of life before you gave it to Christ. Identify the things which can cause you to be drawn back to those old ways and habits and make sure you ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify those old sinful patterns. He will give you strength to deal with them.
4. Discipline your mind . This is after all where the battle is being fought, and where your salvation walk is being made difficult. And excellent admonition from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians 4:8 can be most helpful here: "... whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Amplified Version The devil and his associates will find it very difficult to operate in such a mind. They don't like goodness and holiness.
5. Discipline your body . Take good care of it by getting exercise, good nutrition and proper rest, but more importantly, CONTROL IT, DON'T BE CONTROLLED BY IT . Believe it or not, your body can be one of your biggest hindrances to achieving success in conquering old mindsets.
6. Analyze the things you do for entertainment. Most of what passes for entertainment today is really very contrary to a healthy and holy lifestyle and can pull your thinking into "dark" areas. As an example, a new Christian may have had a problem in the past relating to sexual lusts. Such a one, should consider carefully what they watch on television; be selective in what types of movies to go see; avoid the beach scene, etc... He or she shouldn't go clubbing and drinking or hanging out at wild parties where temptations of all sorts abound. Good wholesome entertainment alternatives can be had if one would but look for them. Note: You may have to adjust your old perceptions about what qualifies as good entertainment but just as you learned to appreciate worldly ways to be entertained, you can also learn to appreciate the Christian ways.
7. Find the FUN in your Christian Walk. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus when He was on Earth believed in having fun. So should all Christians. Begin to attend various Church activities, go to Christian family gatherings, etc... Go to Bible Studies, Church Conferences, and Christian Themed Parks. Look for the wholesome family oriented movies at your local theater. Find the fun in the Christian way of life. A Christian is only bored by choice, not because there are no fun choices to be had.
8. Minimize associations with old unsaved friends, some of whom want to see you fail anyway. They're old familiarity with you can easily persuade you to do things which are not pleasing to God. Start developing relationships with other Christians who share your new values.
9. Make full utilization of the grace of God . Without God's grace, all of your best and most valiant efforts will ultimately be futile. His grace alone empowers and strengthens us, making us victorious against every obstacle and stronghold in our life.
10. Develop an active relationship with God . Make this your number one priority. By spending more time in Bible reading, in prayer and meditation and in fasting, you will begin to establish a relationship with your Savior and Creator, which is an absolute requirement for every believer in Christ. Without having a relationship with God, Salvation and being Born Again loses all meaning.
Doing all of the above involves a change of lifestyle. You are embracing the Christian way of life now and killing off your old life with its un-Godly concepts and viewpoints, completely... You are starting a fresh new life in Christ. Let the mind of Christ supersede your mind and let God order your thoughts daily.
Remember, it all begins in the mind. Re-take control of it first and your salvation walk will become easier and much more assured. Reclaim Your Mind from the Devil.