Last week we wrapped up our Limitless series, where we learned how our limitless God works through us to do incredible things. Today, we’re going to examine a vital step in readying ourselves for God to work through us.
The Bible tells us that when we become Christians, we are a new creation; when we accept Jesus, we are eternally and internally changed. However, not everything changes right away– often our appearance, attitudes, and habits stay the same. In order to change these to align with what God wants us to do and be, we must first think like God.
- Read Isaiah 55.6-11.
Our thoughts determine our ways. We will never see change in our lives without first changing the ways that we think. In order to do this, we must mold our thoughts to God rather than trying to mold God to fit what we want. When it comes to life transformation and developing a victorious Christian walk, it’s the thought that counts.
Ephesians tells us that there is a spiritual war going on, and that there’s a real and constant war within us. This war is a battle for our thought life. Often, we lose this battle because we let our minds become weakened and discouraged by the lies of the enemy. John 8.44 tells us that Satan is the father of lies, and as such, he’s continually trying to hold us captive by his lies. Using the circumstances, people, and experiences in our lives, he leads us to believe lies about ourselves and our world, and these often lead to sinful actions and emotional responses.
Question: What are some of the lies that the devil has trapped you into believing? How do these impact your emotions and behavior?
2 Corinthians 10.4-5 states that “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
A stronghold is a lie that a person has accepted as truth; it is an area in our lives in which we’re held in bondage due to a certain way of thinking. When we believe the devil’s lies, we become prisoners of deception.
Many of us as kids were terrified of the monsters that we believed were hiding under our beds or in our closets. When we gave into this belief, our emotions—fear and anxiety—and our behaviors—hiding or crying out for help—left us paralyzed. Similarly, the Israelites in Numbers 13 gave into fear after spying out the Promised Land in Canaan. When the spies surveyed the land, they found all that God had promised:abundant fruit and lush landscapes. However, they also found giants—giants that they wrongly believed were too big to overcome. They relied on their own abilities, falsely believing that success was up to them rather than trusting God to win their battle. It was never about their own abilities but about relying on the God of the impossible. When God has declared that we will do something, He will empower us so we can do it. The Israelites’ false belief caused them to be defeated by fear. Because they accepted a lie, they ended up dying in the desert.
Question: In what areas of your life have you told God that you can’t do something because of your own weaknesses? What would it look like for you to rely on His strength and abilities instead of your own?
We don’t need to remain prisoners of Satan’s lies. Because of the grace of God, Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, and the Holy Spirit’s work within us, we are free from the lies and strongholds of the devil. Through the power of Christ, we can win the battle for our minds. We do this by Identifying the lies of the enemy in our lives, rejecting these lies, and replacing these lies with God’s truth.
Identifying the Lies of the Enemy in Your Life
We can’t overcome lies in our lives if we don’t know what they are. Thus, the first step in winning the battle in our minds is to identify the lies that we’ve accepted as true. Some of the enslaved thinking that the devil traps us in is negative thinking (viewing the glass as always half empty), fearful or anxious thinking (being characterized by worry), discontented thinking (never being happy), and critical thinking (constantly judging other people).
Question: Where are you prone to enslaved thinking? How does your thought life characterize your behavior?
Rejecting the lies of the Enemy in Your Life
Proverbs 4.23 (CEV) says “Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.” Our lives will always move in the direction of our most dominant thought. Because of this, we must make sure that our main thought is aligned with God’s truth.
We constantly have thoughts going through our minds—both those that are true and those that are lies– going through our minds. However, it’s up to us to assess which of these thoughts are from the enemy and must be rejected. If a bird flies over our heads, there’s not much that we can do to stop it. However, if a bird tries to build a nest on our heads, there’s plenty that we can do to stop it. Likewise, we don’t always have control over which thoughts pop into our heads, but we do have control over which thoughts stay there.
James 4.7 tells us that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. We rest in the assurance that Satan has been completely defeated by Jesus Christ on the cross, so we as Christians don’t need to fear him. Satan often acts bigger than he is, but like a scared chihuahua, we only need to stand up to him with God’s truth, and he will back down. When we reject the lies of the enemy, they no longer have the power to define us.
Question: What can you do this week to intentionally reject Satan’s lies?
Replacing the Enemy’s lies with God’s Truth
Our thoughts can’t simply be rejected; they must be replaced by something. Only God’s truth can push out the lies in our lives.
The Greek word for transformed is “meamorphoo”, which is where we get the word metamorphosis. Just as a caterpillar goes through internal change to become a butterfly, so we must change from the inside out in order to experience God’s transformation. The Greek word for renewing is “anakainosis”, which means to to make fresh or to make better than new. We renew our minds by embracing and trusting God’s ultimate truth rather than clinging to our beliefs. Our lives can only be transformed when we submit to the process of renewing our mind with God’s Word—the Bible.
This isn’t a one time event. It isn’t enough to memorize a Bible verse or two. Instead, we must be in God’s Word daily. Like a polluted stream that is only clean once all of its dirty water has been replaced with fresh, so our minds can only be transformed when they are completely cleansed with God’s Word.