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« Anatomy of the New Man | Main | Spiritual Power and Spiritual Authority »

Mind Games

  • Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind , and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
  • Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind , that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  • Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you , which was also in Christ Jesus:
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

We have often said that the real battle for a Christian is in the mind. These scriptures establish the fact that our minds play a huge role in our relationship with God and the overall direction of our lives.

Here are the New Testament definitions of the mind from the Greek language: NT:3563;  nous (nooce); probably from the base of NT:1097; the intellect, i.e. mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will); by implication meaning:

NT:5426; phroneo (fron-eh’-o); from NT:5424; to exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication, to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction); intensively, to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience): - set the affection on, (be) care (-ful), (be like-, + be of one, + be of the same, + let this) mind (-ed), regard, savour, think.

Brain Teasers: (Illustrate with several brain teasers or examples of optical illusions.)

Mind Games

  1. An act or series of acts of calculated psychological manipulation, especially in order to confuse or intimidate. Often used in the plural.
  2. An activity that provides entertainment and challenges the intellect.

Mind games comprise the social and psychological agenda for almost every aspect of human relations: courtship, engagement, marriage, parenting, buying and selling, working, schooling, playing, conversing and the list goes on.

Why is this true? Why do we do such things as lie, deceive, fib, distort, shade, exaggerate, downplay, hide, distract and gloss over? Why can’t we just be up front and honest with everything we do? Because we have agendas.

There are things we want to do and we don’t want to be told no.
There are things we don’t want to do and we don’t want to be forced to do them.
There are things we want others to do…or that we don’t want others to do.
There are things we want to know.
There are things we don’t want others to know.

Look at the many acts of deception in the Bible:

Satan deceived Eve.
Eve deceived Adam.
Both Adam and Eve tried to deceive God.
Jacob deceived Esau and got his birthright.
Jacob deceived Isaac and stole Esau’s blessing.
Laban deceived Jacob and made him work seven more years.
David deceived Uriah to cover his own adultery and sent him to his death.
Joab deceived Abner and assassinated him.
Annanias and Sapphira lied to the Apostles and to the Holy Ghost.
Simon the Sorcerer deceived the people.

Spiritual Brain Teasers

If we, as human beings, regularly engage in mind games, we should know that Satan has perfected it to an art. But much of our anguish and anxiety in our relationship with God does not result from swallowing Satan’s lies, but in constantly playing mind games with ourselves.

How do we get trapped in our own mind games? By questioning, doubting, surmising, speculating, figuring, hashing and rehashing, jumping to conclusions, rushing to judgment, guessing and trying to play everything “by ear.”

Mind games that lead to discouragement and spiritual stagnation:

Glorifying the past. “I wish I could go back to the way I used to be.”
Lost innocence, lost relationships, lost perspectives will never be recovered.
Don’t place an impossible burden on yourself to recreate who you used to be.
Your present “you” is just as valuable as your past “you”.
Start now—-with where you are and who you are.
This is the meaning of the new birth.

Overestimating the opposition. “This is too hard.”
Do not grant omnipotence to the devil.
In all of his wiles and deceptions, he is a grand failure.
He is a defeated foe.
God always provides an escape.

Fraternizing with the enemy. “This relationship won’t hurt me.”
Satan is cold-hearted. He never comes over to your side.
You must be the spiritually strongest in every relationship.

Misunderstanding the miracle. “God has to do this for me.”
Expectation versus expectancy.
When you define what you think God must do, you never get it right.
What was the miracle for Shadrach et. al.? Daniel? Paul and Silas?
When God doesn’t do what you think he ought to do, your faith gets attacked.

Fear of failure. “I will think less of myself if I fail, so I won’t risk it.”
Don’t quit before you even start.
This is a variation of pride.
Fear of failure is already failure.
“I probably won’t make the basket, so I won’t take the shot.”
“I’ll probably just swing and miss, so I won’t swing.”

Minimizing the importance of success. “It doesn’t really matter that much.
This may be a subtle form of rebellion.
Dismissing your importance is actually a criticism of God for creating you.

Obsessing on details. “I’ve got to make sure that every little thing is just right.”

Blaming others. “If it weren’t for him, her, this, that…”

Intellectualizing failure. “There are complicated reasons why I can’t.”

Changing direction. “I’m opting for a better plan.”

Creating chaos. “I’m tearing everything up and starting over.”

Phil 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Rom 12:1-2 TLB And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy-the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.

When an archer misses the mark he turns and looks for the fault within him/herself. Failure to hit the bull’s-eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim, improve yourself.

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