Chapter OneThe Mind
Is the Battlefield
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only
with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the
powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of
this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in
the heavenly (supernatural) Sphere
From this Scripture we see that we are in a war. A careful study of
this verse informs us that our warfare is not with other human
beings but with the devil and his demons. Our enemy, Satan, attempts
to defeat us with strategy and deceit, through well-laid plans and
The devil is a liar. Jesus called him . the father of lies and of
all that is false (John 8:44.) He lies to you and me. He tells us
things about ourselves, about other people and about circumstances
that are just not true. He does not, however, tell us the entire lie
all at one time.
He begins by bombarding our mind with a cleverly devised pattern of
little nagging thoughts, suspicions, doubts, fears, wonderings,
reasonings and theories. He moves slowly and cautiously (after all,
well-laid plans take time). Remember, he has a strategy for his
warfare. He has studied us for a long time.
He knows what we like and what we don't like. He knows our
insecurities, our weaknesses and our fears. He knows what bothers us
most. He is willing to invest any amount of time it takes to defeat
us. One of the devil's strong points is patience.
TEARING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh
and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and
destruction of strongholds,
[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and
every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away
captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed
2 Corinthians 10:4,5
Through careful strategy and cunning deceit, Satan attempts to set
up "strongholds" in our mind. A stronghold is an area in which we
are held in bondage (in prison) due to a certain way of thinking.
In this passage, the Apostle Paul tells us that we have the weapons
we need to overcome Satan's strongholds. We will learn more about
these weapons later, but right now, please notice that once again we
see that we are engaged in warfare, spiritual warfare. Verse 5 shows
us clearly the location of the battlefield on which this warfare is
The Amplified Bible translation of this verse says that we are to
take these weapons and refute arguments. The devil argues with us;
he offers us theories and reasonings. All of this activity goes on
in the mind.
The mind is the battlefield.
SUMMARY OF THE SITUATION
Thus, so far we have seen that:
1. We are engaged in a war.
2. Our enemy is Satan.
3. The mind is the battlefield.
4. The devil works diligently to set up strongholds in our mind.
5. He does it through strategy and deceit (through well-laid plans
and deliberate deception).
6. He is in no hurry; he takes his time to work out his plan.
Let's examine his plan more clearly through a parable.
Mary and her husband, John, are not enjoying a happy marriage. There
is strife between them all the time. They are both angry, bitter and
resentful. They have two children who are being affected by the
problems in the home. The strife is showing up in their school work
and behavior. One of the children is having stomach problems caused
Mary's problem is that she doesn't know how to let John be the head
of their home. She is bossy-she wants to make all the decisions,
handle the finances and discipline the children. She wants to work
so she will have her "own" money. She is independent, loud,
demanding and a nag.
About now you may be thinking, "I've got her answer. She needs to
She does know Him! Mary received Jesus as her Savior five years
ago-three years after she and John were married.
"Do you mean there hasn't been a change in Mary since receiving
Jesus as Savior?"
Yes, there has been change. She believes she is going to heaven even
though her bad behavior causes her to feel constant condemnation.
She has hope now. Before she met Jesus, she was miserable and
hopeless; now she is just miserable.
Mary knows that her attitude is wrong. She wants to change. She has
received counseling from two people, and she gets in almost every
prayer line asking for victory over anger, rebellion, unforgiveness,
resentment and bitterness. Why hasn't she seen more improvement?
The answer is found in Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this
world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external,
superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire]
renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so
that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable
and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable
and perfect [in His sight for you].
Mary has strongholds in her mind. They have been there for years.
She doesn't even understand how they got there. She knows she
shouldn't be rebellious, bossy, nagging, etc., but she doesn't know
what to do to change her nature. It seems that she simply reacts in
certain situations in an unseemly way because she can't control her
Mary can't control her actions because she doesn't control her
thoughts. She doesn't control her thoughts because there are
strongholds in her mind that the devil set up early in her life.
Satan begins to initiate his well-laid plans and to sow his
deliberate deception at a very young age. In Mary's case, her
problems started long ago, in childhood.
As a child Mary had an extremely domineering father who often
spanked her just because he was in a bad mood. If she made one wrong
move, he would vent his anger on her. For years, she suffered
helplessly as her father mistreated her and her mother. He was
disrespectful in all his ways toward his wife and daughter. Mary's
brother, however, could do no wrong. It seemed as if he was favored
just because he was a boy.
By the time she was sixteen, Mary had been brain-washed for years by
Satan who had told her lies that went something like this: "Men
really think they are something. They are all alike; you can't trust
them. They will hurt you and take advantage of you. If you're a man,
you've got it made in life. You can do anything you want. You can
order people around, be the boss, treat people any way you please
and nobody (especially not wives or daughters) can do anything about
As a result, Mary's mind was resolved: "When I get away from here,
nobody is ever going to push me around again!"
Satan was already waging war on the battlefield of her mind. Play
those thoughts over and over in your head a hundred thousand times
or more over a period of ten years, and see if you're ready to get
married and become a sweet, submissive, adoring wife. Even if by
some miracle you should want to be, you won't know how. This is the
kind of mess in which Mary finds herself today. What can she do?
What can any of us do in such a situation?
THE WEAPONS OF THE WORD
. If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in
accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.
And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
Here Jesus tells us how we are to win the victory over the lies of
Satan. We must get the knowledge of God's truth in us, renew our
minds with His Word, then use the weapons of 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 to
tear down strongholds and every high and lofty thing that exalts
itself against the knowledge of God.
These "weapons" are the Word received through preaching, teaching,
books, tapes, seminars and private Bible study. But we must "abide"
(continue) in the Word until it becomes revelation given by
inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Continuing is important. In Mark
4:24 Jesus says, . The measure [of thought and study! you give [to
the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge]
that comes back to you I repeat, we must continue using the
weapon of the Word.
Two other spiritual weapons available to us are praise and prayer.
Praise defeats the devil quicker than any other battle plan, but it
must be genuine heart praise, not just lip service or a method being
tried to see if it works. Also, praise and prayer both involve the
Word. We praise God according to His Word and His goodness.
Prayer is relationship with the Godhead. It is coming and asking for
help or talking to God about something that bothers us.
If you want to have an effective prayer life, develop a good
personal relationship with the Father. Know that He loves you, that
He is full of mercy, that He will help you. Get to know Jesus. He is
your Friend. He died for you. Get to know the Holy Spirit. He is
with you all the time as your Helper. Let Him help you.
Learn to fill your prayers with the Word of God. God's Word and our
need is the basis on which we come to Him.
So, our weapons are the Word used in various ways. As Paul tells us
in 2 Corinthians, our weapons are not carnal (fleshly) weapons; they
are spiritual. We need spiritual weapons because we are fighting
master spirits, yes, even the devil himself. Even Jesus used the
weapon of the Word in the wilderness to defeat the devil. (Luke
4:1-13.) Each time the devil lied to Him, Jesus responded with, "It
is written," and quoted him the Word.
As Mary learns to use her weapons, she will begin to tear down the
strongholds that have been built in her mind. She will know the
truth that will set her free. She will see that not all men are like
her earthly father. Some are, but many are not. Her husband, John,
is not. John loves Mary very much.
The other side of the story involves John. He, too, has problems
that are a contributing factor to the situation he and Mary face in
their marriage, home and family.
John should be taking his position as head of the family God intends
for him to be the priest of his home. John is also born again and
knows the proper order for family life. He knows that he should not
allow his wife to run the household, the finances, the children and
him. He knows all this, but he doesn't do anything about it except
feel defeated and retreat into TV and sports.
John is hiding from his responsibility because he hates
confrontation. He prefers to take a passive attitude, thinking,
"Well, if I just leave this situation alone, perhaps it will work
itself out." Or, he excuses himself from taking real action by
saying, "I'll pray about it." Of course, prayer is good, but not if
it is merely a way of avoiding responsibility.
Let me clarify what 1 mean when I say that John should assume his
God-given position in the home. I don't mean that he should her come
on like "Mr. Macho," ranting and raving about his authority,
Ephesians 5:25 teaches that a man should love his wife as Christ
loved the Church. John needs to take responsibility, and with
responsibility comes authority. He should be firm with his
wife-loving but firm. He should reassure Mary that even though she
was hurt as a child, as she releases herself to God through trusting
Him, she will gain confidence that not all men are like her father
John should be doing a lot of things; but like Mary, he also has
"mindsets" that open the door for the devil to hold him captive.
There is also a battle going on in John's mind. Like Mary, he was
verbally abused in childhood. His domineering mother had a sharp
tongue and frequently said hurtful things to him, things like:
"John, you're such a mess; you'll never amount to anything."
John tried hard to please his mother because he craved her approval
(as all children do); but the harder he tried, the more mistakes he
made. He had a habit of being clumsy, so his mother told him all the
time what a "klutz" he was. Of course, he dropped things because he
was trying so hard to please that it made him nervous, and so he
defeated his purpose.
He also experienced some unfortunate rejection from children with
whom he desired to be friends. This type of thing happens to most of
us at some time in our lives, but it devastated John because he
already felt rejected by his mother.
And there was a girl whom he really liked in his early high school
years who rejected him for another boy By the time all of these
things had tallied up in John's life, and the devil had worked on
him, building strongholds in his mind for years and years, John
simply had no courage to be anything but quiet, shy and withdrawn.
John is a low-key type person who simply chooses not to make waves.
For years he has been having thoughts directed into him that go
something like this: "There is no point in telling anyone what you
think; they won't listen anyway. If you want people to accept you,
you just need to go along with whatever they want."
The few times he tried to stand his ground on an issue, it seemed
that he always ended up losing, so he finally decided that
confrontation wasn't worth the effort.
"I'm going to lose anyway in the end," he reasoned, "so why even
WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me
[the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the
Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the
captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as
delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],
To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day
when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound].
With John and Mary's conflicting problems, it is not too hard to
imagine what their home life is like. Remember, I said there was a
lot of strife in it. Strife isn't always open warfare. Many times,
strife is an angry undercurrent in the home that everyone knows is
there, but nobody deals with. The atmosphere in their home is
terrible, and the devil loves it!
What will happen to John and Mary and their children? Will they make
it? They are Christians-it would be a shame to see their marriage
fail and their family ruined. Actually, though, it is up to them.
John 8:31,32 will be a key Scripture passage in their decision. If
they continue to study God's Word, they will know the truth, and
acting on the truth will set them free. But they must each face the
truth about themselves and their past as God reveals it to them.
The truth is always revealed through the Word; but sadly, people
don't always accept it.