Winning the Battle of the Mind
By Dr. Z
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5
If there is one area of the Abundant Life that is most overlooked and neglected, it's the battle of the mind. And understandably so. We can see whether or not we're gaining weight. We can see our bank account balance. We can see whether or not our job or work is thriving. On the contrary, we cannot see, touch or even feel our thoughts. They are completely in our head. Literally. And this poses a problem for many people because, when push comes to shove, they lose sight of the fact that they are in control of their thoughts and lose the battle in their mind.
It is important to remember that the mind is the battlefield that is under attack on two fronts: 1) by satan and 2) by our own carnal nature. Few people can boast what Paul did when he proclaimed, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
He was truly a man who learned how to “cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Unfortunately, many people are victims of their mind – not only slaves to old carnal nature passed down from Adam and Eve (the “flesh”), but also to the mind of “sin and death.” They know nothing of all of the “mind of Christ.”
There is much to be said in the Bible about having the mind of Christ, and keeping a positive mental outlook on life. These are absolutely vital to enjoying mental abundance. And when it counts most, it would be wise to draw from 4 key action steps found in the story of Christ's Transfiguration. If we follow our Lord's footsteps, we will gain the necessary deposit to draw out when we need it most. And winning the battle of our minds becomes a choice!
1. Travel up the Mountain
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
Next to having the dove land on Jesus during His baptism signifying being filled with the Holy Spirit, this mountaintop experience was probably the most important moment of His Life. We're talking absolutely life-changing for anyone, let alone the Son of God! Yet, it wasn't a “gimme.” It was something Christ determined in his heart to do, and He was willing to take to the time and energy to go up the mountain.
Here's how it all played out:
- Just a few days before going up the mountain, Peter declares Jesus as the Messiah.
- Jesus then emphasizes to His disciples that He needs to die at the hands of the Jews, be buried and in 3 days be raised from the dead.
- This seems to take Jesus' ministry in a different direction, to a greater level of determination even.
- Next, the scripture tells us that He takes Peter, James and John up a mountain for what turns out to be arguably the most momentous moment in His earthly life.
- While He was transfigured, the two greatest prophets from the original covenant appeared to Jesus; Moses and Elijah.
- Peter, overjoyed and overwhelmed by the moment tried to convince Jesus to stay up there up a while.
“Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
- As Peter was speaking, God Almighty revealed Himself in a bright cloud, covered them all, and spoke.
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
- Terrified, the disciples fell on their faces, but Jesus reassured them and touched them.
“Get up,” he said. “Don't be afraid.”
- When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Then, after talking a bit with His disciples while walking down the mountain, the next verse tells us that Jesus was met with a demon-possessed child. Back to work in the demon-possesed valley, just like that…
2. Be Transformed by the Mountain
We know for sure that this mountaintop experience left an indelible mark on Peter, James and John as evident by Peter using it to prove the truth behind his testimony!
“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
But what about Jesus? How did the mount of transfiguration affect Him?
I cannot prove my suspicion, but I am highly of the opinion that this life-changing event not only fed the disciples what they needed during the spiritually lean times, but also Christ. In fact, I believe that Jesus referred back to that moment to help Him through some of the more difficult challenges that laid ahead.
Because of the agony in the garden.
3. Remember the Mountaintop
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
~ Luke 22:39-46
You gotta wonder what the angel did to “strengthen” our Lord. It must have been powerful because it ultimately helped Him accept His God-given purpose to let the weight of the world's sin fall on His shoulders through one of the most heinous and cruel acts imaginable. I won't be surprised if Christ tells me, when I ask Him in Heaven, that the angel encouraged Him with words of life to help Him win the battle in His mind.
How else would He be able to “Cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ?”
As a man, Jesus was subject to all that men and women endure on Earth. I'm sure that the angel could could have done some Jedi mind trick in the garden to help Him overcome the mental anguish that He was enduring, but that's not how Jesus did things.
- Remember the 40 days in the wilderness? No food, no water and His only weapon against the devil was the Word of God and His unwillingness to disobey.
- Remember His conversation with Pilot, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
In addition to telling us Jesus had to learn obedience through what He suffered, scripture tells us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”
And this means that Jesus dealt with and perfectly overcame the battle of the mind!
Again, I cannot prove this, but I just wonder if the angel in the garden reminded Jesus of some of His mountaintop experiences like overcoming the 40 days in the wilderness or being transfigured on the mountain or healing all of the sick people that came to Him during the previous 3 years. He didn't need food or water or sleep to “strengthen” Him.
- He needed hope!
- He needed encouragement!
- He needed a boost in His faith!
And that's exactly what He got! Hallelujah!
4. Live in the Moment
We must make a intentional effort to not get addicted to the mountaintop “high.” For sure, these experiences are exhilarating and are absolutely Abundant Life-changing events, but they are typically few and far between and are given to us for a purpose. In other words, they are NOT an end to themselves, but a means to an end. We are not meant to live on the mountain.
What good would Jesus have been to the world if He would have taken Peter's suggestion and stayed up there? Same with us! We have a mission on Earth to fulfill. We have all of eternity to enjoy the “mountain,” and we need to keep busy down in the valley to help bring as many people as we can with us! If that weren't important enough, God gives us mountaintop experiences to fuel and fan the flame of faith to empower us to endure the inevitable “agonies in the garden” that lies ahead for us as well.
- Remember them.
- Catalogue them.
- Thank God for them.
But don't let them define you. Stay content with what you have and if our Heavenly Father sees fit that you need another mountaintop experience, so hallelujah! If not, hallelujah anyhow!
What mountaintop experiences have YOU enjoyed and how have they helped YOU get through some of the valleys in life?
- Romans 7:25
- Romans 8:6
- Matthew 17
- II Peter 1:16-18
- Luke 22:39-46
- II Corinthians 10:5
- Matthew 26:53
- Hebrews 4:15