Dealing With Strongholds In The Mind

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Series: Renewal of the Mind

Sun am 24th August 2014 – Pastor Kobus Swart

Phil. 4:6-7; (Mark. 12:41-44); Phil. 2:5-8; (Prov. 16:18); (Rom. 12:2); 2 Cor. 5:17-19;
2 Cor. 10:4-6; 
Rom. 8:28-29; Matt. 6:9-13; 2 Pet. 1:3; Matt. 16:13-20; (Matt. 10:40);
(Ex. 3:13-14); (John 18:4-6); Prov. 23:7

The essence of who we are is usually reflected in our thought life. Thoughts affect your brain chemistry and soon it can impact your emotions and even your physical body. We all go through stages in life, challenges and pain. If we are not careful, especially in negative challenges, our thoughts can cause us to go into depression. That is why we have to guard against what our thoughts absorb. We have to practice what the Word says.Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).

As we absorb signals from our thought life, mindsets can form, which in turn can affect our habits. Certain cultures act in certain ways because they have absorbed certain practices throughout their lives which eventually form a mindset, which is never easy to break. We must be careful of multi-tasking. It is very common amongst the new generation. It has been proved that it causes damage to the brain. We must rather focus on one thing at a time and do it properly and the brain will be effective. For example, Jesus noticed when a lady put a few coins in the offering (Mark. 12:41-44). Do you know how important it is for us to live in the moment and notice things/people around us? Be focused on the moment. We even come together and we greet one another but we do not notice.  Somebody may be here with a deep cry. People come into church meetings with the deepest pain and they leave unnoticed; nobody picked up what they were going through. Sit with a person as if it is the first time. Notice, engage the moment. That is what is called mindfulness. It is a simple process of noticing. Too often we do not taste what we are eating; we do not hear what we are hearing because our thoughts are somewhere else. Savour the moment!

What is a stronghold? It is a house of thoughts. Too often we pretend that everything is alright. One of the hidden reasons for that is pride. We do not want to admit that all is not well. One of the first strongholds God has to remove in us is pride. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:5-8). The key word here is humility. Pride goes before a fall (Prov. 16:18).

Repentance is not a once-off experience; it is an ongoing experience in God. That helps me to be open to the constant renewal of my mind (Rom 12:2). What is the true meaning of repentance? It literally means taking on another mind – think differently! Based on the truth of the word of God, we have been recreated in Christ. That must change certain statements coming from our mouths. Adopting a new mindset about myself means, for example, that if I am in Christ it is wrong to say that I am a sinner. We can sin, (= missing the mark) but that does do not give me back my old identity. I am not a sinner; I am part of the new creation in Jesus Christ. I am changing the old mindset for a new mindset of who I am. We have to help each other to strengthen the correct mind about ourselves and our identity in Christ. I am not a failure. How do we help with this change from the old thought life to new mindset? Mindfulness therefore, can also mean my mind is full of God and God’s thoughts about me.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (=strongholds of the enemy). We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete (2 Cor. 10:4-6). If you cannot bring down or dismantle certain strongholds in your mind, you cannot grow spiritually.  I am trusting God that a proceeding Word will take wrong thoughts captive, and break mindsets that have locked you up. If you are open to the living proceeding Word you will leave every meeting changed, free to be who you are in Christ.

All negative experiences contribute to strongholds in your mind; it can make you a negative person. You will see the negative in everything that comes your way. Fill your mind with peaceful experiences, peaceful words; peaceful ideas. Guard your thought life and what can help you is to worship.

The governing mindset in my life must be the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt. 6:9-13). Pray that prayer with new understanding. Jesus was in heaven on earth (John. 3). He is the pattern Son and you and I can be like that. We have been given everything pertaining to life and Godlikeness (2 Pet. 1:3). Why then are we still subject to negative thoughts that form strongholds that govern our emotions and our physical health?

The new mindset is reflected in the “I am” mindset. Jesus said “Whoever receives you receive Me” (Matt. 10:40). When Moses was asked, “Who sent you?” He said “I am” (Ex. 3:13-14). In the garden of Gethsemane when asked if He was Jesus the Nazarene, Jesus simply responded “I am” (John 18:4-6). It is a sense of identity.

God is love and we have to put love on display in the world. As He is, so are we in this world (1 John. 4:7-11). As He is, I am. As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Prov. 23:7). Purify your thinking; bring God into your thought life; see your new identity in Christ.