A Word From Our President
Are you aware that a violent battle is raging around us twenty-four hours per day?
In 1965, Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote a book about this battle called The Invisible War. It is the battle for your mind, and that battle is vicious. It is intense. It is unrelenting, and it is unfair because Satan never plays fair. The reason why it is so intense is that your greatest asset is your mind.
As a counselor and a chaplain, I have seen the face of mental illness. I have seen what it is like when people are unable to hear God because their minds are broken and cannot seem to connect to God even when they want to connect to God. I know whatever gets your mind gets you. So one of the most important things we need to learn and teach others is how to guard, strengthen, and renew our minds, because the battle for sin always starts in the mind.
Philippians 4:6 gives us two ways to guard our minds from garbage: conversational prayer and concentrated focusing.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”Philippians 4:6
How do you know when you have the peace that “surpasses all understanding”? When you give up trying to understand fully why God does what he does and simply trust him. This peace “will guard your hearts and your minds.”
The first way you guard your heart and mind is “in everything” to pray. Notice that he says to pray about everything. If you were to pray as much as you worry, you would have a lot less to worry about. Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. This kind of prayer is like a running conversation which means we are not on our knees. We don’t close our eyes. I have trained myself to do this. I talk to God all the time. I’m talking to him while I’m writing to you. So pray about everything. Maintain a running conversation.
Secondly, Paul says that we should fix our thoughts on specific things.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things.”
How do you do that? By concentrated focusing. This is one of the keys to overcoming temptation: don’t merely resist it; replace it. Whatever you merely resist persists. The more you hit a nail, the harder you drive it into the wood. And when people say “I don’t want to think about this”, what are they doing? They are thinking about it! And whatever gets your focus gets you. James tells us that “sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” James 1:15 Don’t just resist; replace. Change the channel. Refocus. In the words of Thomas Chalmers, it is “the expulsive power of a new affection” that turns your mind away from the things that the Devil wants you to focus on to the things that God wants you to focus on.