The spiritual battle in the mind sure can be tricky. Sometimes, I drown down the truth of God by silencing the conscious, and then replacing it with my own truth. My truth will conveniently not condemn me, thus my selfish choices end up fully justified and I can feel good about them. This post is about these mind games and how I deceive myelf –
Romans 1:20-25 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Pertaining to this scripture, here is how these games work inside of this mind and body. I’ll use one example in my life, but it goes much deeper than just a single aspect of life. Spiritually speaking, I quit smoking. I hate it. As far as I’m concerned, I have quit. But, I keep going back to it. How is that? Mind games. The above scripture speaks in great depths about this mind game.
For the invisible things of him are clearly seen. I clearly see that smoking is not good and that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Spiritually, I stand in full agreement with God on this. I need to quit smoking. I am without excuse when I smoke because it is I who chooses to do so.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; – See, I know God and I know the truth, but I do not glorify God because instead of being thankful for the truth and resting in it, I glorify myself in these mind games.
but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened – I can make up excuses all day in my imaginations – “Well, I’m doing better. I’m only smoking a couple of cigarettes a day. I’m smoking natural tobacco. God put it here for a reason.” and so on. But as I said above, this is “my truth” that is drowning out the truth of God, thus deceiving myself. It is a mind game that helps me quiet the conscious so that I do not feel condemned about my choice to smoke. I justify myself with my own truth. I am without excuse when I stand before God on this matter. What would happen if I’m standing in front of Jesus at the judgment seat, and He says – “You knew the truth, but you quieted the truth and chose selfishly.” Am I going to toss out excuses left and right or would I say “Yes, you’re right Lord.” If I tossed out my excuses, I imagine Jesus rolling His eyes.. “Joseph..Joseph…Joseph… The mind games are over. Let’s talk about the truth.”
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man. – I profess to be wise in the Lord, but in these mind games, I change the glory of God into an image of corruptible man (via my imaginations mentioned above). The mind drowns out the truth of God, quenches the conscious that is pricking at my soul, and I replace it with an image of myself (my own thoughts on the matter).
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. – I’ll get to the ‘lust of their own hearts’ in a second. What is happening in these minds games is that I’m changing the truth of God for my truth (a lie). Thus, instead of worshipping the Creator, I am worshipping my own desires. Don’t get me wrong, this is a situation by situation thing. I do not worship my own desires on a global level. It’s moment by moment, situation by situation, choice by choice.. I either choose God or my own ideals, the mind game. When it comes to smoking cigarettes, I am choosing my selfish desires. Obedience is a form of worship. If I choose my own self reasoning on a specific topic, I am serving, obeying, and ultimately worshipping my ideals (the creature) over God (the Creator). Praise God I do not do this all the time, but I still do it. Lord, forgive me and help me.
Back to the topic of God giving us up to uncleanness through the lust of our own hearts. The term lust means a desire for something that is forbidden. How do I know if something is forbidden or not? Through the truth of God and not my own understanding, ideals, philosophies, etc.
James 1:12-15 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Every man is tempted when he is drawn away/enticed by his own desires for something that is forbidden (forbidden in accordance to God, not my mind games). Either I am tried, then I endure, and it ends in growth… or I am drawn away/enticed by serving the creature rather than the Creator. When an action takes place on my desires for something (conceives), it brings forth sin. One choice will bring the crown of life, the other choice will bring forth death. Ultimately, it is my choice who I serve in this mind game, me or God, the creature or Creator, flesh or Spirit, Adam or Christ, my truth or God’s truth, etc.
I think John MacArthur has put together a pretty good explanation of the above verses from James. Here is a sample of the mind game –
The trials that the Lord allows into our lives to strengthen us can also become temptations, which, rather than being a means to spiritual growth, can become a solicitation to evil. Every difficult thing that comes into my life either strengthens me because I obey God and stay confident in His care and power, or leads me to doubt God and disobey His Word. The difference between a trial and a temptation is how you respond to it. Every trial has the potential to become a temptation.
The full article can be found here – Benefiting from Life’s Trials. Whose fault is our Temptation?
So anyways, that’s how it works in this mind at times. The spiritual warfare is going on out there in heavenly places, but it also happens within these mind games. I pray this has blessed you. A couple of scriptures to close this post out –
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
..and I just have to finish up with the conclusion of chapter one of James.. a good closing:
James 1:16-27 Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.