Most people are afraid.
A cowardly man shows his fear. The self-sufficient, strutting extravert often is only hiding deep anxieties and a feeling of inadequacy.
Now, let us snap on the glorious light of our text 2 Timothy 1:7. "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."
Study this verse carefully. The word, "fear" is from the Greek word meaning cowardice, timidity, fearfulness. That evil, choking atmosphere is not of the Holy Spirit who indwells each true child of God.
Instead, we have power, dynamic, the inner force to do God's will. Notice next in our text that we have love - that very characteristic that we so greatly admire in others and desire for ourselves.
Finally, 2 Timothy. 1:7 indicates that God has given us a sound mind. Here is that "calm, vigor of mind" which many seem to lack. An end to the racing imagination and burning passions! Away with the modern, so-called mind-expanding drugs! They are really mind-enslaving. The victim cannot command his own understanding and will. God, in contrast, gives a man back his full self-possession and breaks every band that encircles and drives the mind. The sound mind God gives is one of restraint and discipline to please Him.
Let us now make a general Bible study on the mind, and may it lead each one to seek the help of the Lord Jesus Christ in this important area of his life.
I. GOD VALUES AND UPLIFTS THE MIND
Now, let it be very clear that God searches and knows our hearts. "This is what the Lord says: 'That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind.'" Ezekiel 11:5.
Consider how God values our rationality. The intellect is a manifestation of God's image in man. No other creature of earth's nature has a mind like this. What an endowment!
Thus, at the moment of regeneration, God's Spirit goes to work on the mind. See Colossians 1:21. Before the Lord Jesus Christ rules over us, we pose as a sort of rebel god over our own lives. Then, after we believe in the Savior, the Spirit writes God's laws upon our renewed minds, Hebrews 8:10; 10:16.
Next there follows the on-going sanctifying process as God continually lifts the mind. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind," Romans 12:2. This is God's perfect plan.
Let us now state two important propositions. 1. It is with the mind that we understand the things of God. 2. The mind is supposed to control the will, or volition. Enlightened obedience is what God wants.
II. SATAN VALUES AND ATTACTS THE MIND
These two, self-evident facts are readily seen to be the devil's very points of assault. In the first case, he works to deceive the understanding. Study 2 Corinthians 3:14; 4:4 where he is said to hide the truth. Then turn to 11:3
where he attempts to pervert the truth.
Satan's other approach will aim at inflaming the passions, lust, ill-temper, and intemperate affection. Soon the passions will take over the will from the numbed mind. Such a victim will not act according to his better judgment. He may understand the will of God, but he will not do it.
The enemy of our souls will try also to get a man into such a fitful mental state that the mind wheels and spins out of control. The mind needs, however, to be sharp and disciplined ("a sound mind"), in order to sit at the controls of the will. The Christian must be able to choose his actions according to a controlled mind and enlightened thoughts. This is why Satan strikes right there to confuse and baffle.
What are the results of the devil's work? A rebellious intellect. A lazy, wandering mind. A confused sense of values. A wild imagination. (Let it be added that when the mind becomes a tool of the passions, an evil imagination results. That is sin. Then, when the mind and the body both become tools of the passions, an evil deed results.) A muddled memory.
No matter what other explanations may be offered for this list of bad mental conditions, no one can rightly deny that Satan can and does produce them in all too many instances.
An enlarged picture of this problem is seen in our Lord's deliverance of the poor man of Gadara. The Bible shows this man hounded to full insanity by evil spirits. Jesus Christ cast out the enemy from the man's life and the amazed neighbors "found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid." Luke 8:35
III. HOW TO RECOVER AND KEEP THE MIND FROM THE ENEMY
Meeting the living Christ brings a spiritual awakening. The mind is freed, refreshed. It rises up and takes over life's control-center once more. The volition, or will, is again under our intelligent direction. We are no longer
driven about intensely. All compulsive urges are gone. There is peace.
Now, make a study of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and 2 Timothy 2:25, 26. Notice in the former how Satan strikes "against the knowledge of God." Again, in the latter, it is "the acknowledging of truth" which leads to recovery from bondage. Therefore, it is important that an afflicted Christian review basic truths. The truth sets free, (John 8:32). Meditate on: 1) the supreme honor won by the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 2:9-11. 2) The sufficiency of the atonement to remove ALL sin, I John 1:7. 3) Our certain victory in the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 8:37. Confess and claim these definitely, deliberately. Cease magnifying and expressing your own confusion, weaknesses, doubts.
Next, seek enlightenment on your inner problems. Remember, there is a difference between resisting something attempting to lay hold of you and in seeking deliverance from something that already has a strangle-hold on you. All believers have things to reject, many have things to eject. The enemy of our souls may be given ground within our lives through a condition of willful sin, occultism, or perhaps receiving and believing a lie. It is actually a serious matter to hold and act in terms of wrong opinions about yourself, others, or about Bible teachings. Deception gives an opening to an evil entrenchment within our defenses.
If there is any possibility that Satan has ground within your life, that matter must be faced squarely. Confess it frankly. In earnest prayer retract it. Claim forgiveness by the blood of the cross and then stand against Satan in the full authority of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Face those rising fears, those stirrings against other people, the feverish mind, the lusts, the brooding discouragements. How is it at work, at school, among those tense associations, in your home? What of your deeper heart secrets, your darkening spiritual struggles?
It will now be time to make your choice to believe what God says regarding that evil, that fear, your confusion--whatever it is. Is Jesus Christ LORD OF ALL? Are you truly alive in Him and He in you? Claim the solid truths now in prayer. Then forcefully in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ command all that opposes out of your life! At once worship and testify to what is true in Christ. See Revelation 12:11.
Continue steadfast in resisting further threats. If necessary, as often as the
bombardment comes, give special thanks for the cross and worship the Lord, carefully avoiding rehashing your problem.
"May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."