Battle for the Mind – Why?

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Unfortunately the audio recording didn’t work on Sunday, so here’s my transcript…

The issue
Turn with me to proverbs 23:6-8
Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.

Your footnote will probably say “for as he thinks within himself so he is.” We are what we think.
The proverb is about a stingy guy who though he is offering you food, is thinking how much was it. His thinking makes him stingy. Outcome of that people don't want to be with him and you'll vomit up what he does give!

As you think, you are! What floats around in your mind will affect the way you behave on a daily basis.

Temptation leads to Thought which leads to Action
We get tempted (that's not sin, it's just temptation) but as we think about it, it turns into a desire which is, and then action

Our thinking leads to our attitude – and in life attitude is everything!
Do you like those shows where the get ordinary members of the public to go through spy selection, or special forces selection. You think the big guys will get through, they are strong. But they don't. Often it is the little guy with the keep at it attitude. One of the instructors said he is always looking for the weakness, even though ether are many strengths and then he pushes that. those that have right thinking, right attitude don't crumble under their broken ego, pride or insecurity.

Many of us live with wrong thinking which leads us to make dumb choices to protect ourselves.

You may have been hurt in a relationship and you start thinking I will never let anyone get close again and so they don't. Wrong thinking leads to wrong attitudes leads to loneliness.
Many years ago I did CWR's counselling training and they talk about the “tapes we play in our head” – wonder what they call it now!
1. Negative mental filter – think the worst not the best of situations
2. All or nothing – everything is black and white – every, always, never
3. Catastrophising – You send out the wrong letter to a client at work, and this turns into “I will now lose my job, and then I won't be able to pay my bills, and then I will lose my house.”

2 Timothy 1:7 tells us we haven't been given a spirit of fear or timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.
Self discipline is often translated sound mind or self control
The Holy Spirit wants to help us deal with the root of many our issues, which is uncontrolled thinking.
Here's some of what the uncontrolled mind looks like…

Stress and anxiety

Sexual temptation. David & Bathseba's sin didn't start with the action. It began with a thought and ill disciplined mind.In 2 Sam 11 David should have been at war leading his troops, adrenaline surging and mind razor sharp focused. Instead he was wandering around the palace, wasting time in idle thought and behaviour. He ended up doing the ancient equivalent of goofing around on the internet looking at porn, hang around on his rooftop, ogling naked women.

Cynicism is the British disease. Something that British Christians need to be transformed. We re brought up cynical and it is reinforced in the media. It affects how we think, how we analyse situations and the way we respond to others.

is similar to cynicism and very damaging. We can speak negative things to our kids and it takes root in their thinking. And you end up developing a habitually negative pattern of thinking, especially about yourself.

Self -pity
Low self image can lead to frequent pit parties. The trouble with those as Irene once told me is that no-one wants to come and no-one brings resents! God has never said anything that will make you fell self pity or lead to a low self esteem – so were does it come from? An unrenewed mind!

Some have huge problems with anger – they may be able to hold it in, but it is still there – big and ugly Do some it spills over into verbal and even physical abuse, but it all starts with an uncontrolled mind.

We can have fear from trauma in the past -I was bitten by a dog as a toddler and have aways been a bit wary of dogs. An uncontrolled mind allows that trauma to run riot walking all over every day experience.
Perhaps its fear of death = Her 2:15 tells us the gospel frees us who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Then there is parental domination, parental expectations (could do better), pressures from the world like materialism, passivity, FOMO and media

That's the bad news!
The good news is that the Spirit can help us have sound controlled self disciplined minds!

Before Christ

Romans 1:18-27 – thinking is the root issue of sin. Our wayward thinking leads to sinful actions.
In that passage people have changed the truth about God for thinking he doesn't exist and not thanking him. That leads to darkened thinking and foolish hearts. Then God says okay have it your way – live that way and bear the consequences. that's how his wrath for sin is played out in the here and now.

Ephesians 4 challenges believers to no longer live as the Gentiles of, in the futility of their thinking They are darkened in their understanding and separated form the live of God because of the ignorance in their hearts.

I read an article in the Guardian about sexuality, where the author was arguing that now gay marriage is legal, we should start to normalise other sexual behaviour – and bring the kinky and more into the mainstream. It came up with a new word for me, decrying heteronormativity – dishonouring heterosexual marriage that leads to children as normal behaviour.

Ephesians 2:3 says we all of us lived among them at one time gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.

That kind of thinking Ephesians tells us makes objects of God's wrath.
Then it says BUT, one of the most important “BUT”'s ever But because of His great love for us God who is rich and mercy….

Before Christ our thinking meant we lived futile, darkened lives and were objects of wrath. BUT, BUT, God loves us and did something about it.

We couldn't because our thinking so often leads to futility. So God did it. Jesus came and died for us…

Coming to Christ
When we believe Jesus died for us and rose again to pay the penalty for our foolish thinking, saying and doing. When we do that some instant and dramatic things happen
i) Justified Rom 3:24 – legal term for being declared not guilty and not just that, positively righteous.
Last year, The police have told Cliff Richards that “he will not face further action” – he's free, but not as free as justification makes us. It's not that we won't face further action when the judgement happens, but that we have been declared not guilty and righteous!
ii) New nature – 2 Cor 5:17 tells us that the old nature has gone and we have a new nature
iii) Our spirits that were dead because of sin have been made alive in Christ Jesus
iv) John 1 tells us that we have been given the right to be children of God.
All instant, all the very second we put our trust in Jesus

When you respond, or responded to the Gospel – you got a new spirit within, a new nature, a new heart and a new song. BUT nowhere does it say you got a new mind! A process of transformation is needed.

We can think of ourselves as three parts
Spirit – new one that is alive in Christ
Mind will and emotions that needs transforming
Body – will get a new one when Jesus returns.

The light of God has penetrated our lives -we get the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know him better. We begin to understand truth, Scripture comes to life and God writes his Law on our hearts and minds. Jesus promises as we know the truth it will set us free.

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at the process of transforming our minds, renewing our thinking, so we can live free of things that hold us back.

Opportunity to respond to Jesus.
Commit to renew your minds

Come back next week to learn how we can take every thought captive!



Andy planted the Gateway Church in Sept 2007. He and Janet love to gather different nations together to grow in Christ while eating good food! He also helps to shape and serve a couple of Relational Mission's church plants in mainland Europe. Andy and Janet run regularly, largely to offset the hospitality eating! He also runs a popular WordPress plugin Church Admin