The war that is being waged against us is a battle for our mind and the ammunition used to attack us are lies. Paul explains this to us in 2 Corinthians, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (10:3-5)
When the waves of emotions come and we start to allow ourselves to process them instead of running from them, the truth of this reality will come into focus as we begin to uncover the lies that are attempting to keep us stuck and losing our battles over and over. Jesus himself called Satan, “The father of lies,” and said that there was no truth in him. (John 8:44) This liar is determined to defeat us in the same way that he attempted to take out all the great overcomers that have come before us. What is incredibly hopeful about this battle that we face is that we are told that there is divine power to extinguish these arrows and we do that when we replace the lies in our mind with His truth.
This process of identifying the lies that are in our mind and replacing those lies with truth is known as spiritual warfare. I will never forget the first time that the Lord taught me about this. I was going on a retreat with a Bible study group and it involved camping…outdoors, on the ground, in nature kind of camping. While I love nature and being outdoors, I am not a sleeping on the ground kind of girl. I knew that there was zero chance of me getting any sort of sleep but I still hiked up several pounds of sleeping gear and an IPod filled with podcasts and music that I hoped would keep me sane through the midnight hours. I don’t remember every part and piece of this night but I remember my headphones blaring as I listened to Joyce Meyer talking about the battlefield of the mind, I recall a lot of singing in gratitude, and I also think that there was a very annoyed Bible study group by about 4 am calling out from their tents for me to be quiet. I still cringe a little on the inside when I think about how loud and annoying I must have been that night as I was totally oblivious that other campers could hear my jam session with Jesus.
The next morning there was a group gathering where we talked about what the Lord was speaking to us about during the retreat. I was so excited to share all that the Lord had taught me that night and I read aloud a list of truths that I had written in my journal that spoke about what the Lord had to say about ME. The real me. The me that He declared me to be before the foundations of the earth. The beauty that he saw. The power that I had being one of his very own. So many of these things I knew in my mind having gone to Christian school as a kid, but that night I began a journey of believing them in my heart in a way that would change me forever. A transformational process started in me that night that in church circles they call “sanctification”.
In John 17, Jesus prayed his final prayer for us before going to the cross and actually prayed this for us. One of the things that he asked the Father to do was to sanctify us with his truth. Jesus knew that this is what we needed to be able to overcome and make it to the other side. During my night as the proverbial princess and the pea, attempting to camp, the initial stages of this process began in a way that won’t ever stop until I cross over into eternity. The way I define this process is that all the truth that I have in my mind is becoming a reality in my heart in a way that changes the way that I live, process my emotions, and ultimately view both my life and who He is. When my heart is transformed it changes my actions and the responses to situations that arise in life.
In example from my life recently, in what I will call a ‘healing session with the Lord’, He uncovered a lie that I have been battling that helped me change my emotional response to fears that kept creeping up and totally overwhelming me. At almost 9 months pregnant I was having moments of extreme fear that my baby would be still born. It felt totally irrational but I couldn’t stop the waves of emotions either. This was to be my 5th and final pregnancy and I had only one successful, healthy birth at that point and knew that I couldn’t endure another loss. I messaged a friend to say a prayer for me amidst one of the waves and afterwards I felt an incredible peace in the situation but couldn’t figure out where these uncontrollable feelings kept coming from either. I asked the Lord what was going on and I saw flashes of pictures in my mind of times when I had big promises made to me by my earthly father but he hadn’t followed through and had let me down. I could see the lie almost flashing across the screen, “You can’t trust your Father. Promises mean nothing.” Almost instantaneously I could hear the whisper in my heart in response, “I am your heavenly Father and I will never let you down.” I allowed myself to feel all the feelings that those memories brought up, I forgave my Dad for those moments of being human, and every time those thoughts came up again I would roar in my heart, “Papa God is not going to let me down.” The big ugly cry sessions stopped after that and my emotions ceased being hijacked by intense moments of uncontrollable fear.
While this is one lie and one example of spiritual warfare in response to a mental battle that I was facing, this is what we face daily and the reason that we are told to renew our minds with truth. We disarm the enemy when we take the word of God, stand on it, and declare it when what we see with our natural, human eyes don’t match up. This is how we, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” As we do this we are putting on the mind of Christ, are transformed into His likeness, and become the overcomers that we were created to be.