Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.” Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb.” After 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb, Edison could have agreed with the negative thoughts and given up. We are all thankful that he had the mental strength to endure.
Learning to Meditate
In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells us, “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 (meditate on) these things.” Paul is exhorting us to deliberate, evaluate, and compute over and over what is good and pure. He knew that we are only as free as our mind, because what we meditate on is what we become.
The Ultimate Battleground
Self-analysis is a very helpful to learning. Take a minute and ask yourself, “How free is my mind? Am I regularly taking thoughts captive or are they going unchecked? What’s the fruit of these thoughts?” The answers to these questions will expose the level of freedom you are living in. Whatever your mind is fixed primarily on will have greatest influence over you. Our lives are not just affected by our thoughts, they are defined by them. You become what you think you are. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).
The key to triumphant living is learning, in every circumstance, how to make God’s thoughts our thoughts. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
To be transformed by the renewal of our mind, we need to know that any thought that leads to anxiety is not from God. Any thought that causes us to doubt God’s love is not from God. Any worry about the future or thoughts that cause us to fret over the past is not from God. These thoughts come from the enemy of our soul.
Protecting Your Mind
The mind is the main battlefield of our lives
“The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5). We are in a war against thoughts and taking thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. Any thought you don’t take captive will take you captive. Paul tells us that it is a warfare of the Spirit, and bondage comes when our thoughts are not taken captive. He exhorts us to take every rogue thought and put the “spear point” of the Word of God against it. Anything that does not line up with the truth of the Bible must go. This is the original language Paul uses when he tells us to take captive every thought to obey Christ. To obey means to listen under. Every thought that comes into our minds we put a spear to it and make it listen to what Jesus has to say. This is how we live free.
We are the gate keepers of our minds
The devil does not decide what you think. God does not decide what you think. You decide what you think. To live victoriously, we need to decide to submit our minds to the truth of God and make Jesus the Lord of our thoughts. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Without submitting to God, we don’t stand a chance against the devil. But once we submit to God, we have every chance of defeating the devil.
The Word is a Weapon
According to Ephesians 6, the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. The strength and power of the Word can be hard for us to understand. Its magnitude and overwhelming power is so nuclear that Jesus used it when attacked by Satan himself. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Jesus said to him. Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’ ” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). Jesus defeated Satan by quoting scripture. The Word defeats the devil even when we are having a bad day. The Bible is more powerful than anything we can understand.
Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “…the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” The devil is very interested in the Word gathering dust on your coffee table. He understands that when the truth comes in, it is living and active to heal and kill. The Word will locate our wounds and heal them and will also locate the strongholds of the enemy and destroy them. “He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction” (Psalm 107:20).
Biblical Meditation as Spiritual Warfare
One of the most powerful promises in the Scriptures is found in Psalm 1. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3). To meditate means means to ruminate or to murmur to oneself. Biblical meditation is simply reading scripture, putting it in your heart, and pulling it back up at times throughout the day. If we meditate on the Word of God, everything will prosper. That is because the Word of God is the software our minds were created to run on. This is what the devil stole from us in Genesis 3, and what he is wants to keep us from using. The Word of God reprograms our brains. When you are meditating on the Word of God, you are downloading a new software for your brain.
Meditating is taking a text and making it practical. You find a scripture that matches your need. You read what you need. For example, if the devil comes against you with condemnation and he is met with, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). You come against me with condemnation, but I come against you with scripture. Here are a few more examples:
Instead of criticizing others: I speak in a way that is helpful to others. (Job 16:4-5) I cover all offenses with love. (Proverbs 17:9)
Instead of being fearful: I do not fear when the heat comes; my confidence is in the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:7-8) I am kept safe because of my trust in the Lord and I will not fear man. (Proverbs 29:25) Instead of feeling hopeless: I put my hope in your word, for you are my refuge and my shield. (Psalm 119:114)
Instead of inferiority: I will not covet what others have. (Exodus 20:17) I am chosen by God to do the good works that He has prepared for me to do! (Ephesians 2:10)
Instead of insecurity: I am secure because nothing will separate me from the love of Christ. (Romans 8:38) I am complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
Instead of jealousy and envy: I am complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10) I am assured that all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28)
The mind is the ultimate battleground of good and evil. Any thought you don’t take captive will take you captive, and any thought you have not taken captive has you captive. We we are the gatekeepers of our minds. Use the spiritual weapon of the Word of God by meditating on it day and night. In all that you do, you will prosper.
Chris (M.Div., Faith Evangelical Seminary) serves as the Lead Pastor of City Central Church and is deeply committed to seeing the Church empowered and restored. His call as a pastor and teacher is the training, equipping, and restoration of the saints. In addition, Chris serves as the director of Freedom Immersion trainings, which has taken him around the country and around the globe. Chris resides in Tacoma with his wife, Jena, and their four children.