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Posts Tagged ‘Battlefield of the Mind’

seed-germinatingOf course, we all have our temptations. But each one starts as a little seed, a glimmer of an idea. And it’s in that moment that we can either flick it away while it is still small and manageable, or we can pour nutrients on it and cultivate it. Sin only has the power we give it. That’s why James calls it a conception: takes two.

“. . . each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  [James 1:14-15]

Joyce Meyer teaches eloquently about temptation and sin in her book, Battlefield of the Mind. For most sins present themselves in relatively innocuous or unoffending ways.  A person doesn’t wallow in pornography the first day; instead, it might be a mistaken hit on the computer, a magazine casually opened, a movie at a party, an invitation by a friend, and so on. The images then are planted in the brain and if they are viewed and viewed within, they gain capacity and potentiality for more. And where the brain goes, the body will follow. The battle begins in our thoughts and how they handle what we see, touch, smell or hear.

If, like me, a person has an addictive personality, a bent toward repeating and embracing habits, then it’s even more critical to avoid the first exposure to that element. But, the trick is recognizing it when it appears.

Whether it’s food or alcohol or drugs or pornography or violence or abuse, all of the helping organizations and systems start with fasting. If you are addicted to sweets, why are there cookies in your house? If addicted to alcohol, why would you stock up on vodka or beer.

So often, we open those doors with our mind’s ability to justify the exposure: “I’m just buying this for my friends; it’s a social thing; I can handle it,” and so on. This is the area when an idea is truly conceived and can give birth to the actual sin. Like a small baby that sin might begin, kind of cute and manageable. But it does grow up and like all children, develops an intolerance to your objections.

James is giving us a clear formula for the path that temptation takes within.

Once the seed has burrowed in, roots deep, it’s another process all together. But today, Lord, give me eyes to see (hear, feel) the scattering of seed temptations in my life. I give you permission to be the great vacuum cleaner and carry them away.

Let me, instead, put my mind here:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. [Philippians 4:8]

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fortressThe Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?  [Psalm 27:1]

A stronghold is a fortress or castle, a fortified refuge, a secure citadel. In Western culture, this is not a strong concept.

Contemporary forts and military installations may have guards at the gate, but really, it’s not that hard to get onto the property. However, if other military bases are similar to the Aberdeen Proving Ground which is nearby, there is an area that is completely secure, most locals call it “behind the fence.” It’s not that the entire base doesn’t have fencing, but this area is specifically top secret. It is next to impossible to get in there without proper identification. It is secure, it is a citadel and it is inside the larger complex.

In some ways, I think the stronghold of God is the same way. It’s within me. My body may suffer from external harm: I can be injured and I can become ill. But, the soul, my very Spirit, is “behind the fence.” It’s part of the covenant I have with the Christ. This was the agreement God made with human: invite Christ in and a fortress is built.

The only time this stronghold is breached is when I open the doors and windows myself, when I allow danger too close, when I engage with thoughts or activities that can hurt me. Joyce Meyer has a series called “Battlefield of the Mind” and it is one of her best. This is the area that is partially our responsibility. There is  an amusing commercial sponsored by an exterminating company in which a giant bug comes to the front door of a home. The home owners open the door and are stunned at the insect’s presence. There is a choice: let him in or close the door.

This day, I want to be aware of the fortress of Christ within me, the Presence, the strength that is available to me if I trust the walls of Spirit, if I keep the door closed to harm.

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