This is a very important message!
Divine Mental Health.
Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” But if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. With that in mind, as we lay the foundation for the year, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
We have covered the first three thus far. Today we are looking at the fourth: Leveling up internally. In this section, I will cover the following:
1. Being anxious for nothing
2. Receiving unshakable peace
3. Joy and peace in believing
4. Relaxing your mind and getting physical/psychological rest
5. The highest form of faith is rest
Yesterday I talked about victory over stress. I will flow in that same vein today, with a message about mental health.
So what does this mean for you today? It means that your thoughts impact (good or bad) every area and aspect of your life.
Solomon said, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV). The Easy to Read Version reads: “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.”
The main passage we will break down today is this one:
(2 Cor 10:3-5 KJV).
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
1. There is a battle going on for your attention.
a) Both God and satan are after your attention.
God wants you to willingly give Him your attention. But if you fail to do so, He may attempt to get your attention, simply because He loves you. He is watching you go down the wrong path, and He attempts to get your attention long enough to lead you to make a course-correction. Satan, on the other hand, does not love you at all. He wants to see you fail. He also wants you to give him your attention. If you refuse, satan will most certainly attempt to get it. There is a battle then, in your mind, for your attention. If you don’t understand this, you can lose your mental health; you can literally lose your mind.
b) Don’t force God’s hand – willingly give Him your attention.
Of all the thoughts floating around in your mind, you actually have the power to focus and to purposely give your attention to whatever you choose. When you give your attention over to something, the object of your attention comes into focus. This is where you can become a powerful tool in the hands of either God or satan.
c) Don’t be ignorant of the battle for your attention.
— If satan can get your attention for five seconds, he can have your mind for five minutes.
— Satan knows what you like, and he will orchestrate tempting situations designed to grab your attention in order to lead your mind astray. He is also a master at painting images upon the canvas of your mind that project fear and failure. If you don’t control these thoughts, they can lead you into a downward spiral.
— God can also grab your attention if He needs to, but don’t make Him. Be cognizant of the battle for your attention and willingly give it over to God every day and throughout the day. When God has your attention He is able to paint pictures upon the canvas of your mind that project success and victory. You want these thoughts. They lead you down the path to your destiny.
The point here is that, as Paul says, we must be cognizant of “every thought.” This is how we win the battle for our mind!
2. Thoughts can create strongholds.
a) We Start off with a thought.
Our minds are constantly flooded with thoughts from either (1) ourselves, (2) the adversary, or (3) God. We must learn to discern which thoughts are which so we can know which ones to receive and which ones to reject. This is critical because thoughts lead to actions. Every action, good or bad, starts with a thought. One quick way of knowing a thought did NOT come from God is when the thought is contrary to God’s Word. The Spirit of God will never lead you contrary to the Word of God.
b) Our thoughts create Images (imaginations).
We do not think in words. Words are containers for images. For example: if I say, “Please do not think about an elephant, with his big ears and long trunk,” invariably you already pictured that elephant. Thoughts from either God or satan will create images of success or failure. God wants you to see yourself successful by His grace, and satan wants you to see yourself as a failure, today, tomorrow, and forever. Thoughts from God paint images of Godly success upon the canvas of your mind. When you open your heart to the thoughts of God, He is able to paint a picture of His plans for your future. This is why we must take every thought CAPTIVE.
c) If not controlled, ungodly images can create Strongholds.
Uncontrolled and unchallenged thoughts allow ungodly images upon the canvas of your mind’s eye. If this process is allowed to be repeated, the ungodly images will ultimately lead to ungodly strongholds. These strongholds can be very difficult to escape from. The word Paul used here for “stronghold” is the same word used for “fortified city.” In Biblical times enormous walls were built around cities to keep everyone inside the city safe and to keep unwanted visitors out. If you don’t capture and reject ungodly thoughts, you will find yourself trapped behind a stronghold in your own mind. These strongholds can lead to depression or addiction.
A person battling the negative thoughts of depression or the one addicted to pornography, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sexual immorality, gossip, etc., is a person who allowed ungodly thoughts in unchecked, and now they are dealing with a stronghold. They are literally trapped behind a fortified city, a prisoner in their own mind. When a person gets to this point, it is hard for Godly words to get over that negative wall.
Here’s the good news: the opposite is also true. Godly thoughts can create Godly images, and if you allow the process to repeat itself long enough, the images will ultimately lead to a Godly stronghold. You can have a Godly fortified wall around your mind, to the point where it is hard for negative or ungodly thoughts to get in. This is where you want to be. The more you get the Word of God down in your heart, the more Godly images will be produced, and the more susceptible you will be to Godly influence.
3. There is a spiritual battle going on for your mind.
a) The war for your mind is spiritual.
— Paul taught us that we do not war after the flesh. This is not a flesh-and-blood fight.
— The devil wages a spiritual war on the battleground of our natural minds.
— The only way to win a spiritual fight is with spiritual weapons. Natural pills can only deal with the “fruit” of the issue. It takes the power of God — Paul called it weapons that are mighty through God — to deal with the true “root” of the issue.
b) The mind is very powerful – don’t RELIVE the pain.
— The mind has the power to remember an event in a way that is so vivid that you can literally re-live the moment.
— When you remember something the mind is so powerful that you can actually make REAL in the present those things that happened in the past.
— The devil attempts to use the power of the mind against you. He will replay the mistakes of your past over and over and over again, upon the canvas of your mind, in hopes that you relive the pain over and over and over again.
c) Let it go.
— If the devil can get you to re-live the pain of your past over and over, he can keep you from focusing on your future.
— God has forgiven you of the mistakes of your past. It’s now time for you to forgive yourself and move on.
— Don’t allow satan to cause you to re-live negative moments. When he reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future.
*** Finally, don’t judge your future by your past. Judge your future ONLY by the plans God made for you before the world began!
4. Do you realize how important your thoughts are?
a) Your mind is the control center of your life (Proverbs 4:23). If you can control the way you think, you will be in control of the way you live.
b) God has given you the grace to take control of every thought because He wants you to be in control of your life.
c) God gave you feelings to enjoy life. Feelings are a blessing when they are under control. You were designed to control your feelings, not for your feelings to control you!
d) It’s your mind and it will focus on whatever you make it focus on. Believe it or not, you are actually in control!
LEVEL UP in your MIND this year!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I take control of every thought. By taking control of my thoughts I take control of my life. I tell my mind what to meditate on. I direct my will to make decisions that line up with Your purpose for me. I no longer allow uncontrolled thoughts to lead to uncontrolled feelings. I don’t live by feelings, I live by faith. I focus my thoughts on You and Your Word. I enter this day declaring that my mind is alert, my body is awake, my thoughts are sharp and in check, my focus is clear, my purpose is before me, my God is with me, and success is inevitable. I refuse to allow negative thoughts to run roughshod over my life. I will never again allow feelings to control me. From this day forward I tell my feelings how to feel. Living this way, I LEVEL UP in 2021! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith, in Jesus’s name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!