Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer



I have been reading “Battlefield of the Mind ” by Joyce Meyer. It’s such a good book. Even after reading the first 3 chapters, I began to see why people are the way they are and how they can get better—why I am the way I am and how I can get better. I have ordered several books to give out to people because it is so good and so important that people know these truths. I want to share what I have learned from her book, not only to benefit others, but also to help to engrave it in my mind more. The best way to learn something is to rewrite and teach it.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Wow, that is powerful. Our mind is powerful. Joyce says in her book:
Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life. If, on the other hand, we renew our mind according to God’s Word, we will, as Romans 12:2 promises, prove out in our experience “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” for our lives.

Our Weapons

Joyce illustrates that we are in a war, our enemy is Satan, the mind is the battlefield, and Satan works diligently to set up strongholds in our mind. The three weapons we can use to defeat Satan are Praise to God, Prayer to God, and reading God’s Word—the Holy Bible. Now I have heard many say that because the Bible was written by man, even though it was inspired by God, then it is flawed. These same people read books that were inspired by Satan and written by man. This is only an excuse to not read the Bible—an excuse that Satan has cleverly given to man. Satan wins if we listen to this lie. If we use this as an excuse to not read the Bible, it is the same as not eating food because it was prepared by man. God provides food for us, we prepare it, therefore, it is unfit for consumption? This is true for some food, such as food additives that are dangerous and deadly, (which by the way are man-made in a lab) but if you eat healthy organic food, then it will nourish your body, just as God’s Word nourishes our mind and soul.

Jesus is on our side

Joyce states, “Everyone is without excuse because Jesus always stands ready to fulfill His promise to set the captives free. He will walk us across the finish line of victory in any area if we are willing to go all the way through it with Him.” In other words, we cannot lose when we have Jesus. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, though, but it will be worth it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Every temptation God will provide the way out. Satan knows that if he can control our thoughts, he can control our actions.

As Vital as a Heartbeat

Joyce describes in her book that it is vital to get your thinking in line with God’s Word, just as it is vital for our heart to beat in order for us to live. She says, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” “Your life will not get straightened out until your mind does.” And God is there for you, so just ask for help. We don’t have to put forth any effort to use the wrong thoughts since we have been used to it for so long. We have to purposely choose right thinking. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”. Our thoughts become our words.

Don’t Give Up

It will take some time to get in a habit of thinking right instead of wrong. When you fail, it doesn’t make you a failure, it just means that you don’t do everything right.
This paragraph really jumped out at me:
When discouragement or condemnation tries to overtake you, examine your thought life. What kind of thoughts have you been thinking? Have they sounded something like this? “I’m not going to make it; this is too hard. I always fail, it has always been the same, nothing ever changes. I’m sure other people don’t have this much trouble getting their minds renewed. I may as well give up. I’m tired of trying. I pray, but it seems as if God doesn’t hear. He probably doesn’t answer my prayers because He is so disappointed in the way I act.”
Joyce, have you been reading my thoughts? Discouraging thoughts equals discouragement. You become what you think. So change those discouraging thoughts to something like this:
“Well, things are going a little slow; but, thank God, I’m making some progress. I’m sure glad I’m on the right path that will lead me to freedom. I had a rough day yesterday. I chose wrong thinking all day long. Father, forgive me, and help me to ‘keep on keeping on.’ I made a mistake, but at least that is one mistake I won’t have to make again. This is a new day. You love me, Lord. Your mercy is new every morning. I refuse to be discouraged. I refuse to be condemned. Father, the Bible says that You don’t condemn me,. You sent Jesus to die for me. I’ll be fine—today will be a great day. You help me choose right thoughts today.”
Phil. 2:13; 1:6
Something I never knew was negative thinking that Joyce brought to my attention is refusing to be hopeful in avoidance of being hurt. For instance, I’d rather expect the worst so that when the worst comes, at least I was expecting it. If I expected the best and the worst came, then I would be hurt or discouraged. Or as Joyce put it, “If you don’t expect anything good to happen, then you won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.”
“For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.” Prov. 23:7. Even when something bad is happening, expect God to make something good out of it. Romans 8:28
I like how Joyce puts this:
Even a person who is really positive won’t have everything work out the way he would like it to all the time. But the positive person can go ahead and decide to enjoy himself no matter what happens. The negative person never enjoys anything.

Doubt

Joyce tells about a time when she started doubting her belief as a Christian, and she wondered why all of a sudden the doubt started coming. She explains that our mind wants to understand everything and when that understanding is not given by God (through faith from the Holy Spirit), the mind refuses to believe what it cannot understand. If a believer knows something in his heart, his mind might war against it, therefore, causing doubt. When this happens, we need to pray against these mind-binding spirits and decide to believe.

Meditating On God’s Word

The more we meditate on God’s Word, the more we will get from it. In other words, you get out of it what you put into it. If we want to succeed, we need to meditate on God’s Word day and night. Think about what you are reading in the Bible, don’t just read it. Ponder on it. Meditate on it. Think about what you are thinking about. If you are aware of your thoughts throughout the day, you will realize that there is a pattern that coincides with how your life is going. Satan wants us to think that we are unhappy because of our circumstances around us, but the misery is actually coming from what is going on inside us—our thoughts.

Busy Minds

God speaks to us gently, in that still small voice inside our hearts. When our minds are too busy to hear God, we miss hearing His wisdom and revelation. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:15 that he prays in the Spirit (speaking in tongues) and with understanding(his own language). When we pray in tongues, our spirit is aiding our mind. When we pray in our own language, our mind is aiding our spirit. The mind and spirit work together. Isaiah 26:3 tells us that when our mind is stayed on the right things (the Lord), it will be at rest (perfect peace).

Wandering Minds

Joyce tells us in her book that “An inability to concentrate indicates mental attack from the devil.” However, a lack of concentration can also be caused by vitamin deficiency and extreme fatigue. If you have trouble paying attention in church, Satan must really not want you to hear the message to go through all the trouble of distracting you.

Wondering Minds

I have never thought of wondering as being a bad thing, but when you are constantly wondering about everything, (“what if . . .”) then it will leave you indecisive which leads to confusion, which prevents you from receiving the answer to your prayer or need from God, because you are not using faith.

Confusion

Minds are logical and if it doesn’t make sense in our mind, then oftentimes we simply don’t believe it to be true. Whether it is a teaching, a Bible scripture, or something God leads us to do, if we only follow it if it logically makes sense to us, we are not using faith. Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to rely on reasoning. In her book, Joyce says:
If we know in our spirit that a thing is wrong, we should not allow reasoning to talk us into doing it. Also, if we know something is right, we must not allow reasoning to talk us out of doing it.
What comes to mind when I read this is all the excuses that man comes up with to do wrong things. For instance, “It’s normal for a man to want to look at pornography, therefore it’s okay for me to because I’m a man.” No, it’s not normal for a godly man—it is wrong. If a man allows control from his flesh, then he will want to do those things, but if a man is Spirit-filled, then he will not want to. I’m so blessed to have a husband who is Spirit-filled. Also what comes to mind is accepting homosexuality as a choice, rather than a sin. The Bible clearly defines homosexuality as a sin, but many people are trying to make excuses. For instance, they are saying that because the Bible talks about having several wives, concubines, slaves, etc., then times have changed and we need to accept homosexuality as a new way of our culture. The Bible also says that because the hardness of people’s hearts, God allowed certain things, but it is still wrong.  In the old testament, He had allowed divorce because of the people, but Jesus said that to even look at a woman in lust was committing adultery in his heart.
Also what comes to mind are the excuses for not reading the Bible. “I don’t have time,” “I don’t understand it,” “It’s written by man, so it must be flawed,” etc. We must make time. God will reveal to us wisdom and knowledge when we read the Bible. Who wants to miss out on wisdom and knowledge? There’s a difference between head knowledge and revelation knowledge. Head knowledge is from man. Revelation knowledge is from God.

Doubt and Unbelief

Doubt and unbelief are the reasons I purchased this book. I asked some Christians if they had ever struggled with these things because I was struggling with it when my mom was not getting healed from her ALS. They told me about this book, so I bought it. I want to share this story from the book that had a big impact on me:
There was a man who was sick and who was confessing the Word over his body, quoting healthy Scriptures and believing for his healing to manifest.While doing so, he was intermittently attacked with thoughts of doubt.
After he had gone through a hard time and was beginning to get discouraged, God opened his eyes to the spirit world. This is what he saw: a demon speaking lies to him, telling him that he was not going to get healed and that confessing the Word was not going to work. But he also saw that each time he confessed the Word, light would come out of his mouth like a sword, and the demon would cower and fall backward.
As God showed him this vision, the man then understood why it was so important to keep speaking the Word. He saw that he did have faith, which is why the demon was attacking him with doubt.
God has placed faith in our heart, but the devil tries to negate our faith by attacking us with doubt.
The difference between doubt and unbelief is that doubt causes a person to waver between two opinions, whereas unbelief leads to disobedience. Disobedience is disregarding the voice of the Lord.
God looks on the heart of man and not the flesh. And if the heart is right, God can change the flesh.
When you are facing a storm, look to God. Satan brings storms into our life to intimidate us. Just as Peter walked on water, then became frightened because of the storm, therefore, he started to sink (Matthew 14:24-32). When you’re caught in a storm and can’t decide what to do, go somewhere quiet where you can look into your heart, then you’ll know what to do. Joyce tells us that “under the Old Covenant, the Sabbath was observed as a day of rest. Under the New Covenant, this sabbath rest spoken of is a spiritual place of rest. It is the privilege of every believer to refuse to worry or have anxiety.” She also says that “it is impossible to have joy and peace and live in unbelief.”

Anxiety and Worry

This is was a biggy for me. I have had always been worrisome and anxious. In fact, until recently I realized that a lot of my “depression” was actually anxiety. Anxiety and worry are both attacks from Satan. He uses them to distract us from serving the Lord. Joyce says, “It is absolutely impossible to worry and live in peace at the same time.” Peace isn’t something someone gets from something. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Since we cannot benefit from worrying, why not give it up? Joyce says, “Life is intended to be of such high quality that we enjoy it immensely. Satan attempts to steal that life from us in many ways—one of them being worry.” Matthew 6:25 (KJV) tells us that there is NOTHING in life (no thought) that we are to worry about. Joyce says, “Don’t spend today worrying about tomorrow. God’s grace is on you to handle whatever you need for today, but tomorrow’s grace will not come until tomorrow comes—so don’t waste today!”
To help battle against anxiety, use the Word. The Bible is loaded with Scriptures to counter Satan’s attack, just as Jesus did in the desert.
1 Peter 5:6, 7 tells us to cast our cares upon God. When we try to take on our struggles by ourselves, we are being proud. Joyce says, “The proud man is full of himself, while the humble man is full of God. The proud man worries; the humble man waits.” Our first response to every situation should be to lean on God. It’s the only way we can get through it.
Normally, when a person thinks about peace, they think of a peaceful place that is quiet and there are no problems—no storms. But to have God’s peace during the storm, is true peace. God’s peace is spiritual. Jesus didn’t come to remove the storms in our lives, but to give us a different outlook to the storms of life.
When facing financial struggles, remember that as long as you are doing your part (tithing, praying, trusting), then God will do His. He will take care of you. Don’t worry—trust God, for He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). I have often heard before that worrying is a lack of trusting God, which is true.

Judging Others

Everyone is guilty of judging others in some degree. But we can choose to not judge, and with God’s help, we can conquer this battle. Joyce says, “God is the only One Who has the right to condemn or sentence, therefore, when we pass judgment on another, we are, in a certain sense, setting ourselves up as God in his life.” When we judge others, it’s saying that we are better than them, and it opens many doors for the enemy to come in. Often when something happens to us, it’s because we judged someone else for the same thing. For example, my husband told me a story about a man who thought childbirth was easy, so he had no compassion for his wife when she went into labor. Then he developed a large kidney stone that caused him to look at childbirth differently. If anyone thinks something is easy and gives someone else a hard time about it, chances are, they will get to experience it first hand to rethink their opinion. Matthew 7:1, 2 tells us that we reap what we sow. If someone passes judgment on us, we should ask ourselves if we are reaping or sowing. Many times we are reaping in our own lives what we previously sowed into someone else’s life.
Romans 14:4 shows us that each of us belongs to God and we answer only to Him, not each other. Satan keeps busy assigning demons to place judgmental, critical thoughts in our minds. We all have opinions, but not all opinions need to be shared.
Romans 2:1 tells us that the things that we judge in others, we do ourselves.

Suspicions

Being suspicious of someone who I had no reason to be, is what brought me to start reading this book. I purchased it for one reason, then started reading it for another reason. This book has really helped me a lot. I was suspicious of someone not because of what he had done, but because of what someone else had done to me in the past. I had no reason to suspect him, but since I had been hurt before, I automatically had my suspicions. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (AMP) says, “Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person.” It teaches that being suspicious of someone for no reason, is not showing love. By meditating on the components of love and realizing that love always believes the best about someone, is a good way to battle the suspicion. I realized that Satan is putting these suspicious thoughts in my head to try to tear apart the relationship. By realizing this, it has helped me tremendously. Faith and trust bring joy and life into relationships.
There is a difference between being suspicious of someone, and having spiritual discernment for someone. Suspicion comes from Satan, discernment comes from God. That’s why it’s so important to be filled with the Holy Spirit, keep reading God’s Word, keep praising and praying. I have shared this story before, but I’ll do it again because it fits so nicely in this topic. There was a man whom everyone was excited about because he was healing so many people. Nothing but good things were being told about him. But I had an uneasy feeling in my spirit about him. I decided to research him to see if I could find anything out. Come to find out, he was teaching doctrines of demons—telling people that we need to believe in the Angels instead of Jesus. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with discernment about this man. My pastors and the ministry that my church is under also had this discernment and wanted to investigate. When they found out what he was doing, they sent out a message to avoid this man because he was clearly not serving God, but Satan. It tore our church apart because there were many people who wanted so badly to follow this man, that they were blinded by the truth. This man did serve God at one time in his life, but I believe that his pride came over him and caused him to follow Satan, knowingly or unknowingly. And until he clearly shows the fruits of the Spirit and his teachings are biblical, and I have good spiritual discernment about him, I will not have anything to do with this man, his books, or his teachings.

Passivity

When I first read this word, I thought of being passive (peace-maker) verses aggressive (fighter). But passivity can also mean being lukewarm, lazy, inactive, lack of desire, etc. When your mind is an empty space, it is easy for Satan to inhabit it with wrong thoughts (Read Luke 11:24-26). Ephesians 4:27 says, “Neither give place to the devil.” A good way to keep your mind from having wrong thoughts is to think right thoughts. You can cast down evil thoughts, but they will continue to flood your mind until you fill your mind with right thoughts.
You can be sinning by what you do, or what you don’t do. A relationship can be destroyed by saying cruel things, but it can also be destroyed by not saying kind things, especially if the receiver has a love language of Words of Appreciation. (Read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.)
Lack of motivation, only doing what you want to do and not doing what needs done, is brought on by Satan. Joyce says, “When a believer is inactive in any area in which he has capability or talent, that particular area begins to atrophy or become immobilized. The longer he does nothing, the less he wants to do anything.” The way to battle this passivity is to start “exercising” in the areas that you have this problem in. The more you “exercise”, the stronger you will become. Likewise, the more you do nothing, the weaker you become. When you begin to work hard at overcoming passivity, the more you begin making decisions for yourself to get something done rather than allowing Satan to keep you from doing it. Then you can enjoy the freedom that comes from it. Passivity is very difficult to overcome because there are no feelings to lend support, but overcoming passivity begins in the mind. Ephesians 4:23 (AMP) tells us exactly how to do this: “be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
You cannot change your behavior without first changing your thinking. This goes for everything: addictions, lust, etc. If you have a problem loving your spouse, look at what you are thinking. If you are daydreaming about a fantasy that will never be, then when you face reality, you will be disappointed. Change the way you think, then the way you feel will change. Colossians 3:1,2 basically tells us that if we want a good life, we must set our mind on good things.

Mind of Christ

I have often heard people say it is impossible to be like Christ because He is God and He is perfect, but we have been given the Mind of Christ. Ezekiel 36:26, 27 says, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
 Constantly keep a check on your thoughts and if something you are thinking is full of death, then you know it is not the mind of Christ. Here’s an example that Joyce gives us:
“Let’s say I’m thinking about an injustice I suffered because of another person and I begin to get angry. I start thinking about how much I dislike that individual. If I am discerning, I will notice that I am being filled with death. I am getting upset, tense, stressed out—I may even be experiencing physical discomfort. Headache, stomach pain or undue fatigue may be the fruit of my wrong thinking. On the other hand, if I am thinking how blessed I am and how good God has been to me, I will also discern that I am being filled with life."
Here are some great ways to keep mind of Christ:
  1. Think positive thoughts.
  2. Be God-minded—Meditate on Him and His ways and works as a regular part of your thought life and you will have victory. Starting early in the morning is a good way to begin enjoying life.
    Isaiah 26:3, Psalm, 17:15, 63:5-6, 77:12, 119:15, 143:5, Heb. 1:3, John 16:7, Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5
  3. Be “God-Loves-Me” minded—If we don’t meditate on His love for us, how can we experience it?  The love of God is meant to be powerful in our lives and take us through even the most difficult trials. Don’t think about the kind of person you used to be before Christ, think about what God has done in you.
    1 John 4:16, Romans 8:35-37, 5:8, 1 John 4:18, 2 Cor. 5:21
  4. Have encouraging thoughts—how can you encourage others with words if you have not first had encouraging thoughts about them? Everyone has enough troubles without us tearing them down.
    Romans 12:8, Eph. 4:29.
  5. Have thankful thoughts—doors open to the enemy when we complain. You will lose your joy when you complain. Thank God every day and you will find your heart filling up with light and life.
    Psalm 34:1, 100:4, Heb. 13:15, Eph. 5:18-20

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  6. Have Biblical thoughts—The Lord reveals secrets to those who are diligent about reading the Word.
    John 5:38, 1:14, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2-3, Proverbs 4:20-22, Mark 4:24, 4:22, James 1:21, Romans 8:6, Phil. 4:8, 2 Cor. 10:5

Overcoming Depression

Millions of people suffer from depression and Joyce believes that it is not possible to be depressed without being negative—unless the cause is medical.  Even if it is medical, being negative makes it worse.
Depression comes from two sources: 1. our mind by our negative thoughts and 2. from a chemical imbalance in our brain. Sometimes all it takes to heal depression is taking B vitamins, sometimes all it takes is to start exercising.  I am not a doctor, but I have studied in the medical field and learned what the doctors learn when they go to school about the basics of what causes depression and what happens when we lack in certain vitamins. Sadly, too many medical doctors would rather push a pill to make more money than to actually cure the patient.
Sometimes taking B vitamins helps. Sometimes 5-HTP helps. And sometimes just changing your way of thinking helps. Prescription drugs are dangerous and they do not cure anything. If the depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, then the body needs the right supplements to CURE itself. Antidepressant Drugs tell your brain to produce Dopamine or serotonin and they have many side effects, including death. If too much Dopamine is produced, Parkinson's Disease develops.
People should not just try anything that is given to them. They should look into it. For instance, St.John's Wart which is known for helping to deal with depression is DANGEROUS in some situations, so it’s best to stay away from it. St. John’s Wart has risks:
Infertility: There are some concerns that St. John’s wort might interfere with conceiving a child. If you are trying to conceive, don’t use St. John’s wort, especially if you have known fertility problems.
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): There is some concern that St. John’s wort might worsen symptoms of ADHD, especially in people taking the medication methylphenidate for ADHD. Until more is known, don’t use St. John’s wort if you are taking methylphenidate.
Bipolar disorder: People with bipolar disorder cycle between depression and mania, a state marked by excessive physical activity and impulsive behavior. St. John’s wort can bring on mania in these individuals and can also speed up the cycling between depression and mania.
Major depression: In people with major depression, St. John’s wort might bring on mania, a state marked by excessive physical activity and impulsive behavior.
Schizophrenia: St. John’s wort might bring on psychosis in some people with schizophrenia.
Alzheimer’s disease: There is concern that St. John’s wort might contribute to dementia in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Anesthesia and surgery: Use of anesthesia in people who have used St. John’s wort for six months may lead to serious heart complications during surgery. Stop using St. John’s wort at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications for depression (Antidepressant drugs) St. John's wort increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications for depression also increase the brain chemical serotonin. Taking St. John's wort along with these medications for depression might increase serotonin too much and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take St. John's wort if you are taking medications for depression.
Pray to God and ask HIM what you need to battle this depression. If He leads you to take supplements, take them. If He leads you to change your thought life, do so. If both, do it. If you'd rather go to a doctor to see what he thinks, go to an osteopathic doctor because they actually look into it to see why you have depression, then treat it accordingly. Medical doctors only want to push pills. Osteopaths are also called Naturopathic, Holistic, or Natural Doctors. Many chiropractors also practice holistic healing. There are also health food stores with qualified personnel that can help. I have two health food stores in my area and one of them is better than the other because the people who run it know their stuff. They don't just sell it.

Also, if antidepressants aren't working, it's because what they are "fixing" is not the cause of the problem. If your depression is caused by the circumstances in your life, then it is your thought life that is the actual cause. Satan wants us to think that the circumstances is what causes our unhappiness, but it is actually our mind. You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."
People can have peace in the storms of life only if they have the peace of Christ. I urge everyone to read Battlefield of the Mind. It is full of wisdom, knowledge, and truths of the Bible that set us free.

Here are some steps that Joyce gives us in her book to overcome depression, based on scripture:
  1. Identify the nature and cause of the problem (Psalm 143:3).
    It is an attack from Satan.
  2. Recognize that depression steals life and light (Psalm 143:4).
    Depression oppresses a person's spiritual freedom and power.
  3. Remember the good times (Psalm 143:5)
  4. Praise the Lord in the midst of the problem (Psalm 143:6).
    Only God can satisfy. Often when people get depressed, it’s because they need something, and they seek it in the wrong place, which only adds to their problems.
  5. Ask for God's help (Psalm 143:7)
  6. Listen to the Lord (Psalm 143:8)
  7. Pray for deliverance (Psalm 143:9)
  8. Seek God's wisdom, knowledge, and leadership (Psalm 143:10)

    Negative feelings come from negative thoughts.

    2 Cor. 10:4-5