About that battle in your mind
My mind can be a friend or an enemy. Recently, the latter seems more realistic.
Every day, there’s a brutal battle in my brain. A battle between feeling and conviction. Obedience and disobedience. Love and hate. Or better yet, allow me to place a generic face on our enemy—Satan himself. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
This battle ticks me off!
Chances are, you can testify. Perhaps you sit in the office, wishing you could focus on the work at hand. Maybe you stay home each day and face a handful of lies. “You’re lazy. Get out and do something.” It could be that you’re retired, fighting hopelessly the obsessive voice in your mind, telling you that the medical condition will never cease. Then again, maybe you’re a teenager. The battle seems to drain you of self-control, rob you of identity, and leave you with nothing but regret.
Did I mention this battle ticks me off? Well, it does. And I’m not the only one.
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me” (Romans 7:18-23).
Yes, even the Apostle Paul struggles with a battle in his mind.
He goes on to say, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin” (V. 24-25).
It’s aggravating, I know.
While Paul is describing the battle in his mind, he mentions the solution—Jesus Christ. But I am reminded of a battle Jesus faces in his own mind. In fact, it occurs during the week we are in the midst of celebrating—Holy Week.
“Then, accompanied by his disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, ‘Pray that you will not give in to temptation.’ He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:39-44).
Jesus is most certainly the solution to our battle between flesh and spirit. But he also shows us an example. Make no mistake about it, Jesus comes to earth both fully human and fully God. And we know how humans think sometimes.
Yet Jesus fights the enemy with prayer. Kneeling before God, he prays fervently—full of enthusiasm and passion—with drops of blood to show his unshakeable focus on God’s will.
So how do we fight the enemy in our brains?
Pray. But don’t just pray. Pray passionately and frequently.
Today, the one who prayed drops of blood takes our prayers of desperation to God. Why? Because Jesus prayed about his battle, received strength, and accomplished God’s will—dying on a cross to intercede on our behalf.