2 Cor. 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
The most powerful organ in our whole body is our brain. It is the center of our emotions, thoughts and will. If we can keep our mind clean then our actions will be clean also. The destructive things that we do are a result of a corrupt mind. Sanctifying or purifying our mind will result in a pure life. Other than when we are sleeping our mind is always working. Our mind is either thinking good thoughts or evil thoughts. If we can purify our mind and control our thoughts we will be able to control our actions. This foundation is very important in our battle against addiction because if we do not think it, then we will not do it.
Normally, when the Bible refers to our “heart” it is actually referring to our “mind.”
Matthew 15:18-20 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
Mark 7:20-23 “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
In the passages that we just looked at it is obvious that Jesus is speaking of our mind. Jesus is pointing out that all sin begins in our mind and then flows outward – “all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” If we are able to control what comes into our mind then we will be able to control what flows out of it.
Sins of the mind:
We probably sin more with our mind than any other way. With our mind we can think lustful thoughts, mean thoughts, covetous thoughts, we can get angry, we can have pride, we can worry, and we can be depressed. These are all sins of the mind. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” If a man looks at a woman in a lustful way, he commits the sin of adultery in his heart (mind). Even though he has not done the physical act of adultery, he has sinned in his mind.
The devil attacks our mind:
Thoughts get into our mind through our senses – primarily through our eyesight, hearing, sense of touch, and smell. The devil knows this very well. He will try to put sinful thoughts into our mind through our eyes, ears, and actions. The devil puts evil thoughts into Eve’s mind by telling her lies and then presenting the forbidden fruit so she could look at it. We can protect our mind by not allowing negative things to enter in. If we are constantly watching bad movies, reading inappropriate material, listening to carnal music, and experiencing sinful activities then our mind will be very corrupt and we will not be able to control it. Our mind definitely will think on the things we are feeding it.
The difficulty in sanctifying our mind:
It is not easy to sanctify our mind. First of all there is so much evil all around us that it is constantly getting into our minds and affecting us. We can also allow evil thoughts into our mind through TV, music, movies, internet, video games, etc… When our mind becomes saturated with evil, it begins to generate corruption. It becomes very difficult to fight off the bad thoughts that are within us. Secondly, there is no accountability for our mind. We can think evil thoughts and nobody, other than God, knows what we are thinking. No one can correct us when we think a wrong thought. There are no test kits that can determine when someone is thinking wrong thoughts. Humanly speaking we are on our own when it comes to controlling our thought life. The last reason it is difficult to sanctify our mind is that we may not see the consequences. We can have a tendency to think that a thought couldn’t really hurt anyone. We may indulge our lives with a lot of filth and not understand how it may affect our actions in the future. It will take a lot of faith, discipline, conviction, consistency and work for someone to control their thoughts.
What we see affects what we think, and what we think affects what we do:
We can see in the Bible that what we allow into our mind will affect our thoughts which will affect our actions.
(Job 31:1) I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
Job was being tested by God and put through trials. Job’s friends basically thought that Job had sinned and God was punishing him. In his own defense, Job stated that he made a covenant (promise) with his eyes so that he would not think upon women in a lustful way. He is saying that he is innocent. He controlled what he saw, and as a result he would not sin with his mind. Job is saying if he can control what he sees, he can control what he thinks about.
(Psa 101:2,3) I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
David determined to walk within his house with a perfect heart. Because of this he knew that he could not set anything wicked before his eyes. He knew that whatever he sees he will think about. Unfortunately, later on in his life, David did not apply this principle to his life. While he was walking on top of the Castle roof he saw a woman who was taking a bath. He should have protected his eyes, but he did not. Instead of turning away he continued to look, then he lusted, then he committed adultery with her which led to murder. David was never the same again. It started with a look which got into David’s mind and before you knew it David acted on what he saw.
(Phil 4:8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If these are the things that we should think about, then this list covers the same things that we should allow ourselves to see and hear. If we allow only the things on this list to come into our minds through our eyes and our ears then we will be able to have a purer mind which will result in a purer life.
Evil thoughts can have many consequences. It can lead to depression, worry, violence, addiction, sexual sin, and suicide. All actions are preceded by thoughts. If the thoughts are evil, then the actions will be evil.
God knows our thoughts:
The Bible is very clear that God knows what we are thinking.
(Psalms 94:11) The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
(1 Corinthians 3:20) And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Jesus also knows our thoughts:
(Matthew 9:4) And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
Get rid of the bad thoughts!
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 the Bible says: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
When a bad thought gets into our mind we need to get rid of it. We need to confess it and forsake it as quickly as possible. We need to think the kind of thoughts that are in obedience to what Jesus wants us to think!
How to control our mind:
-Control what we allow into our mind through our senses. Does it match up with the list in Philippians 4:8 where the Bible tells us what our mind should think on?
-Understand that there are severe consequences for thinking wrong thoughts. Wrong thoughts lead to wrong actions.
-Understand that God knows our thoughts. No one may know, but God knows. We should try to please God in our thought life!
-When we think a wrong thought, we need to confess it and get it out of our mind right away.
-Clean our mind with the Word of God:
(Psa 119:9) Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Neil T. Armstrong
“Think of your mind as a coffee pot. You desire the water inside to be pure, but unfortunately you have put in some coffee grounds. There is no way to take out the coffee once it is has been put in. So the water inside is dark and polluted. Sitting beside the coffee pot is a huge bowl of crystal clear ice that represents the truth of God and the reality of your identity in Christ. You are only able to put in one or two cubes a day so it may seem a little futile at first, but over time the water begins to look less polluted. Finally, you can hardly taste or smell the presence of the coffee. The process works provided you stop putting in more coffee grounds. For most people this will be a two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back process in winning the battle for their minds. Slowly it becomes three steps forward and one back, then four and five steps forward as every thought is taken captive in obedience to Christ. You may despair with all the steps back, but God isn’t going to give up on you. As you learn more about who you are as a child of God, and the nature of the battle that is gong on for your mind, the process gets easier. Eventually it is 20 steps forward and one back, and finally the steps are all forward with only an occasional slip in the battle for the mind.”
Controlling our mind is the key to controlling our actions. If we sanctify our mind we will be able to control our addictive behaviors a lot better. The mind is very powerful and it is not easy to control, but it can be done!
We should pray along with David:
Psalms 139:23, 24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
- When the Bible refers to our heart what is it actually referring to? ___________________________________
- List three sins that the mind can do?
- How do thoughts get into our mind?___________________________________________________________________
- List three reasons why is it difficult to sanctify our mind?
- Does God know our thoughts?________________________
- Give three ways we can control our mind:
Memory Verse: 2 Cor. 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”