I’m convinced that the battle that goes on between our ears is often our fiercest and most debilitating! Stress, anger, jealousy, fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness, sadness, rage…etc. Almost ALWAYS, these feelings are amplified in our minds when we dwell on or think about the issues that sparked the feelings to begin with.
There is a book titled Battlefield of the Mind and I don’t think that another title would as adequately convey the warfare that most of us go through on a daily basis. There is a battle that is daily waged against us and that battlefield is OUR MIND!
Recently, my wife was quietly observing me as I was contemplating an issue that was causing me some stress. She laughed at me and said, “What are you thinking about?”… I immediately snapped back into reality and asked her “Why would you ask that?” Her response was, “You were over there looking like you were about to kill someone”…then she mimicked my facial expressions. It was funny to watch her mock me…It was equally as funny to think that what was going on in my mind was actually having outward physical manifestations that I was unaware of. Isn’t it interesting that what goes on in our minds can actually influence the physical…?
Our minds are constantly bombarded with opportunities to dwell upon what is WRONG with our world. I am one who has had to war against this attack extensively over the past few years. Often times, it has felt like a “minute by minute” war instead of “day by day” for me. I have learned what 2 Corinthians 10:5 is talking about when it says:
5 “Refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ”.
Another translation says to “Cast Down Imaginations and every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing every thought into captivity”. There is a daily war waged inside of me to cast down the thoughts that are contrary to what the Word of God says in any given situation.
That IS the battle! One of my dearest mentors will often say, “What happens in the mind will happen in time”… Think about the truth of that statement! Nothing in our power to control, happens physically in our lives without it beginning with a thought… When you stub your toe, your mind screams #$%+! before you mouth ever does! When we become offended, often times we have already decided “if someone did that to me, I would NOT put up with it…”. People don’t usually set out in a marriage with the mindset of cheating on their spouse. But over time, meditating on how things “aren’t going right”, or how “so and so treats them better”, or how “somebody done somebody wrong”… all of a sudden, those thoughts that have been prioritized and dwelled upon become a more “acceptable” possibility…and in time what was meditated upon becomes the physical reality… Small mental allowances turn into huge physical and spiritual issues…
Whether or not we like it, we are directly influenced by external stimuli. What we see, what we hear, who we hang out with, the environment we hang out in, the books we read…etc. It is not even arguable to say that that what we meditate upon has no impact on us. It does…ABSOLUTELY!
I believe that we should always be intentionally aware of what influences we are allowing in our lives but even more so when we are in a season of Spiritual, Physical or Mental warfare. Sometimes that means shutting off the TV, changing the station on the radio, powering down the computer. Other times it means staying home on Saturday night or changing the environments that we are normally used to immersing ourselves into. Sometimes it means actually distancing ourselves from people who have negatively influenced us, and intentionally direct our focus on something that will benefit our current situation.
It’s an issue where we must realize that doing “what we’ve always done” has been the breeding ground for some of our dilemmas. And if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get what we’ve always had. Now, here’s the kicker…Sometimes, what we have been “doing” hasn’t been “wrong” or “sin” BUT it has still played a part in what is currently afflicting us. When that is the case, sometimes it’s necessary to let go of something that “isn’t wrong” to embrace what “IS RIGHT”. Only you can be the judge of what that is or isn’t or if that even applies to your situation.
Have you had difficulties getting rid of some emotional baggage? Have you found yourself increasingly depressed or discouraged? If so, I ask you, “What have you been meditating on”. When you are all alone and it’s just you and the walls, what are you spending all of your time thinking about? If it has been negative thoughts, negativity is naturally going to be a byproduct in your life! REDIRECT YOUR FOCUS!
We all have problems and issues that we struggle with. But there is a way to redirect your focus and to intentionally recalibrate your outlook. Rather than focusing on what is wrong, take the time to focus on what is RIGHT! Think about the things that you have in your life to be thankful for. Consider the facts surrounding your circumstances…Maybe you hate your job, but be thankful that you are making money. Maybe you are not happy with you current living conditions, but you can definitely be thankful that when it rains or snows that you are not living out in the elements like a large majority of the world. Maybe you are frustrated because you are currently on welfare…but you can still be thankful that you live in a country where that is an option. I mean, honestly, a large majority of the world are drinking out of contaminated rivers and using the bathroom anywhere they can find or dig a hole. We should be thankful that nearly every place we go has a water fountain with clean water or a toilet with SOFT TOILET PAPER and not rocks to take care of your bidness! (and a side note: if you are ever in Afghanistan, don’t skip rocks at the river…just take my word for it)
There are ALWAYS things to be thankful for that we can meditate upon BESIDES our negative circumstances to help us proactively recalibrate our focus and ultimately realign our lives with Gods Word and His desires for us… Remember earlier I said, “What happens in the mind will happen in time…” Well, I believe that goes for positive things as well. I believe that we can actually attract favor and blessing by having an appreciative heart and by thanking God for the “good” things in our lives. There is a scripture in the bible that says that we reap what we sow… I believe that if we sow seeds of blessing, thankfulness, goodness, mercy, praise…etc…then we will begin to see those things manifested in our lives as well. Those seeds start with our THOUGHTS!
I believe that this is precisely why the bible addresses what we SHOULD meditate upon. There is much wisdom to be had in this one scripture:
8For the rest, brethren, 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]
I love the bracketed addendum at the end of this scripture in the Amplified bible… [fix your minds on them]… What an interesting use of words… “FIX your mind”
In this scripture it’s understood that it is referring to “focusing your mind” on them…but the word “fix” can also mean “to repair”: “Think on and weigh and take account of these things…[Repair your minds on them]”. There is some serious depth to that thought… And a great source of true, and worthy of reverence, and honorable, and seemly, and just, and pure, and lovely, and winsome, and gracious, and virtuous, and excellent, and praiseworthy issues is THE BIBLE! So when you are attempting to “refocus”, the bible and other books concerning overcoming what you are dealing with (like Battlefield of the Mind) might be some good material to focus on!
I believe that there is a freedom experienced by those who learn to do this and make a lifestyle of it. Ultimately, walking in victory through the battlefield of their mind… I’ll admit, I’m not quite there yet…but I’m much further than I used to be. Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll be further than I am today.
If you can dig it, Say WORD!