Home > Let's Talk > Personal Growth > The Power of the Mind
by Jennifer Price.
There is a common quote that states, “Private victories lead to public victories.” Private victories are the ones that happen in your mind and heart—the inner man. What goes on inside of us eventually will show up on the outside. Therefore, what we think determines the course of our lives. The thoughts you allow into your mind daily affect everything about you and your ability to understand God’s truth. In fact, the condition of your mind and heart will either enlighten the truth inside of you or darken your understanding of it.
It all begins in your mind.
There is a battle going on daily for your mind. The devil wants control of your thoughts because he knows if he has your mind, he has your life. Every thought that comes into your head will affect you either positively or negatively. There is no such thing as a neutral thought. And God designed our brains with the ability to either accept or reject each thought. The Bible says to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ. This implies that we need to be aware of what we are thinking about. Don’t go through your days empty-headed allowing any thought to dominate your mind. Too often, we let our minds wander and accept any thought that flies into our heads and then rehearse it and ruminate on it the rest of the day. By evening, we are worn out and out of faith. Practice this long enough and you will find yourself in a cloud of confusion, reasoning, and questioning—exactly where the devil wants you to be!
1 Peter 1:13-15 tells us to
“gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.
We need to be conscious of our thoughts and ask the Holy Spirit to help us recognize the lies. Take control of what you are thinking and test it against what God has said. If it doesn’t line up with His truth, reject it and replace it with God’s Word. Then rehearse and meditate on this truth instead! Do this consistently and you will begin to reclaim your mind.
Now, in order to be able to distinguish the lies from the truth, you need to know what God has said in His Word. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The key to lasting change in your life is to continually renew your mind in the Word. Saturate your mind with God’s truth daily and it will wash away the deception and lies the devil has planted there. You will become clear-minded and aware, able to understand the things of God and to have the insight He wants to impart to you.
Look at what Jesus said about meditating on His Word:
“And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [by force].” (Mark 4:24-25)
The continual renewal of your mind in the Word cannot be more important to your growth as a believer! Your mind is your first line of defense against the devil’s schemes. And renewing your mind is what will strengthen and quicken that line of defense.
The Mind-Heart Connection
Brain research shows us that your mind and heart are constantly communicating. As a thought enters your mind, your heart receives messages from your brain, meaning your heart is affected by what you think. Negative, destructive thoughts will pollute your heart, while life-giving thoughts based on God’s truth will purify it. God is very concerned with the condition of our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” What is in your heart will determine who you become. And your thoughts determine what is in your heart. In fact, each thought you allow into your mind triggers your attitude, your emotions, your words, and ultimately your actions. Can you see the importance of taking control of your thoughts? You cannot change and grow without taking back the territory in your mind!
Let me give an example of how a thought can affect your attitude, emotions, your heart, words, and actions. Your friend makes a comment that rubs you the wrong way. The devil sees this as an opportunity to get in, get more control, and start sending the lies your way. “Who does he think he is?” “She’s one to talk!” “How dare she say that to me?” “He’s always so critical!” These thoughts of pride and arrogance will affect your attitude and emotions toward this person. When this person comes up in conversation, you might roll your eyes or make a rude comment. Now the destructive thoughts have affected your words. Next time you see this person, you might avoid them or give them the cold shoulder; now your actions have been affected. And your heart has become hardened towards them while harboring unforgiveness. Your physical body is also affected negatively resulting in maybe headaches or sleeplessness. However, you could have stopped these thoughts as soon as they entered your mind by repenting and rejecting them in Jesus’ name—then replacing them with the truth. Resolve your hurt and disappointments in God. Give them to Him, for He is your defender and will work on your behalf in any situation if you do things His way and respond the way He has instructed. This is crucifying that flesh that wants to rise up and respond incorrectly; this is meekness (restrained power) and humility (submission); this is honoring God and choosing to do it His way instead. And believe me, when you honor His Word, He moves mightily on your behalf!
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. II Chronicles 16:9a
You can see from the example above how destructive thoughts lead to a hardened heart. And guess what? A hardened heart results in a weak, unbelieving, and confused mind. Listen to what Ephesians 4:17-19 says:
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
Because of the hardness of their hearts, they became ignorant, alienated from the life of God, had their understanding darkened, their minds became futile, and they became past feeling and given over to sensuality, impurity and greed.
Now take a look at the dictionary definitions of some key words from these verses above:
…due to the hardening of their hearts…—to make hard or harder (rigid, stubborn, bitter) to make unsympathetic or callous
…because of the ignorance that is in them…—without knowledge, unaware or uninformed, oblivious, unconscious, unknowing
…being alienated from the life of God…—withdrawn, estranged, to become indifferent or hostile, to remove oneself, dissociate, to cause to be withdrawn
…having their understanding darkened…—confused, difficult to understand things, obscure, concealed or secret, being without knowledge or enlightenment, in a state of ignorance
…in the futility of their mind…—having no useful result, ineffectual, fruitless, unavailing, useless, vain, having no useful or effectual result, frivolous and trifling
…have given themselves over to sensuality…—preoccupied with the gratification of physical appetites, suggesting sexuality, not spiritual or intellectual, physical, worldly, sensory, having no moral or spiritual interests
Can you see a process happening here? It starts with a hard heart (which is the result of wrong thinking). Then your mind becomes ignorant or without knowledge, oblivious to the things of God. Next, you become alienated from the life of God or withdrawn from Him. This leads to a darkened understanding or a confused mind. The truth just doesn’t make sense to you. Therefore, your mind becomes futile or useless and ineffective. Finally, you are consumed with sensuality and fleshly lusts. A mind in this state is not set on things above, but on things of the earth. The truth goes in one ear and out the other! A person with this mindset is in bondage and does not have the peace, love and joy that God intends him/her to have. Remember, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” So, the answer to breaking out of this state of mind is to know the truth by renewing your mind in the Word—rehearse it, roll it over in your head, memorize it, study it, meditate on it, say it aloud, write it out, and pray over it! Little by little (it is a process), your mind will break out of that ignorance, alienation from God, the darkened understanding, the futility, and the sensuality.
Abiding in Him
In John 15, Jesus says,
“Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
When His words abide in you—your mind and your heart—you will bear much fruit. God doesn’t use perfect people; He uses those who are available. That is, those who determine to abide in Him and to have His words abide in them, by letting Him rule in their mind, heart, words, and actions. Renew your mind in His Word and it will cleanse and wash away the filth and impurities of this world’s influence on you, leaving a clean slate for Him to write on your heart. Clear your mind from the things of this world and sever your heart’s attachments to it. Then fill your mind with God’s truth and promises. Bathe in them daily and they will overflow to your heart and onto others. Submit yourself to what God has said and His way of doing things, even if your mind can’t make sense of it. Don’t reason, just obey! And have faith like a child when doing so. The more you cleanse your mind in the Word and obey it, the more clearly you will hear the Holy Spirit and see God’s leading in your life. You will become an available vessel for Him to use the way He planned before the beginning of time!