Taking Charge of Your Mind

(Conquering impure thoughts)

"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

The heart is the essence, or the core of a man's being.  It is who you are.  All thinking and decisions
proceed from here.

Mt 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false
witness, blasphemies:

Impure habits are a by-product of impure thoughts.

The battle must be fought and won in the mind.  That is where victory is ultimately found.

Here are some steps to winning that war:

1. Expect to win.

Most people expect to lose the war against evil thoughts.  They hope they can control or curb them, but
few really expect to be rid of them.  This mindset gives Satan a foothold and the individual an easy out.  
It sets the mood for defeat.

Resisting impurity involves a total commitment of our whole being.

He has promised, "But if  from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek  
him with all thy heart and with all thy soul." Deu 4:29

We must know that our victory has already been won by Christ on the cross.

We must determine to win.

Daniel "...purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." Dan. 1:8  He had a firm determination,
not just a  mild desire.  When we purpose to win this was, God will turn every defeat into a revelation of
hidden reasons in our heart as to why we fail.

Don't give up!

We may lose some battles along the way, but we can still win the war.  The loses should only increase
our determination to win.

2. Replace the pictures in your mind.

At the heart of impure thoughts are secret pictures in the back of our minds.  In times of temptation, we
are able to revive these pictures and focus on them (usually with little effort).  Fighting to remove them
usually doesn't work, but we can superimpose God's pictures over them much more effectively.

1Co 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who
will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to
escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

2Co 10:5  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; (AV)

First, we should visualize Jesus bruised for our iniquities.

Second, we should see our iniquities nailed to the cross with him, and that he died to set us free from
impurity.

Next, we should picture the tragic consequences of sin seen in the lives of biblical characters such as
Samson and David, and the lives of contemporary figures.

3. Make a covenant with your eyes.

Job 31:1  I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

The key to controlling our minds is to control our eyes.

"The light of the body is the eye...if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness..." Mt
6:22-23

"Let thine eyes look right on..." Pr 4:25

In other words, "What you see is what you get!"

If our eyes are under God's control, we must train them to see what he sees.  He looks at us not for what
we are but for what we can be through Him.  If we are to think God's thoughts, we have to see what he
sees and desire to accomplish what He wants in our lives and the lives of others.

When we see a person as having been made by God, loved by God, redeemed by Christ, and made
godly through our prayers, we are forced to the Scriptural realization that whatever we do to that
person is being done to Christ.  Mt 25:40 "As you did it..."

4. Give the HS his most effective weapon

Our battle is more than mental or physical, it is spiritual. (Eph 6:12)

Since our battle is spiritual, our weapons must also be spiritual.

2Co 10:4  (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down
of strong holds.)

God knows that our natural inclinations easily betray us and lead us into sin. Satan offers us the
glamorous temporal pleasures of the world - immediate gratification. God doesn't want us just to
conquer Satan; He wants us to use the battle as a daily motivation to transform our minds to His way of
thinking.  To do that, we must give the HS the ammunition he needs to accomplish that goal - The Word
of God, the "sword of the Spirit".  Not only is it important to resist temptation, it is important to prepare
ourselves for the next temptation.

5. Remove hidden provisions for defeat.

Ro 13:14 "...make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."  

Any provision for the flesh not only proves we expect to fail, it actually invites us to give in to
temptation.  Why would we provide for failure?  It provides tempting possibilities for our minds, stirs up
our emotions, and then conquers our wills.

Impure stimulants, i.e. books and mags, music, certain friendships and activities, etc. must be removed.  
This will prove our sincerity to resist the devil so he will flee from us.

6. Fight to the finish.

2 Kings 13:14-19

Joash should have pounded the arrows to pieces.  He should have been more ambitious.

We need to be more determined than we think. (David wasn't finished with Goliath until he had cut off
his head.)

Don't be satisfied just to resist temptation.  Root the thing completely out of your life.

7. Learn to live in the fear of the Lord.

A sincere Christian cannot enjoy impure thoughts unless he temporarily blots the presence of God out
of his consciousness.  If we knew that God was evaluating every one of our thoughts, we would quickly
reject those which were impure.
2 Corinthians 10:5  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;

Matthew 12:36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account
thereof in the day of judgment.

Men need to learn the fear of the Lord.

"By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil..." Pr 16:6

Fear of the Lord is moment by moment awareness that God is watching and weighing every thought,
word, action and attitude.

Pr 15:3  The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Pr 5:21  For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

Ps 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Ps 139:2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
Ps 139:4  For [there is] not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

8. Curb your curiosity.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan used mans natural curiosity to defeat him. "Ye shall be as gods, knowing
good and evil."

Undisciplined curiosity is one of Satan's most powerful means of defeating us in our thought lives.  It's
okay to want to know things, but we need to be discerning.  God would have us to be "...wise unto that
which is good, and simple concerning evil. (Ro 16:19)

9. Use every encounter as a learning experience - a springboard to spiritual insight.

Temptations are often based on legitimate human needs.  Satan prompts us to fulfill our needs in his
way; but God calls us to give him our needs and trust Him to fulfill them in his time and in his way.  
Therefore, we should turn each temptation into a signal to ask the Lord for the scripture and insights
that would have us use in response.  Some of our greatest learning experiences will come in this way.

Prerequisites for Victory

Humility -
To admit our shortcomings, our need, our weakness, and to prepare to receive help from God and
others.  We must strip ourselves of pride.  You simply cannot do it in your own strength.

Revelation -
Let God open your eyes rather than you figuring it out.  Too often we see it or figure it wrong.  We must
look to God.  Only his revelation can free us.

Identification -
Identify experientially with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  These are not just symbolic; we
experience them in our spirits.  It is our only hope for victory.

Cleansing -
We must rid ourselves of the sources of temptation.  Put out of your life those things which cause you
to fall.  (Remember my former alcoholic friend who worked in the brewery.)

Accountability -
Our shame makes us keep our sins or weaknesses a secret, but that keeps us dealing with it alone.  We
need to be accountable to someone who can help us without judging us.  Someone besides just
ourselves to monitor our behavior.

Be careful who you confess your faults to.  Be selective.  It should be someone spiritually mature,
trustworthy, and confidential.

Gratefulness -

Ro 1:21  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.
Ro 1:25  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.

Many sins and problems are related to ungratefulness - a failure to acknowledge God properly.

STUDENT

Memorize:  
Proverbs 23:7;  Romans 6:14; Ephesians 6:12; Proverbs 16:6

How to Discipline Your Thought Life

1.  How important is your thought life?  (Proverbs 23:7)

2.  How important is a positive attitude?  (Daniel 1:8)

3.  How important is your imagination? (2Corinthians 10:5)

4.  Do you think we should be careful what we see and
dwell on?  (John 31:1)

5.  Is scripture memorization important?  How about Bible
study?  (Ephesians 6:17)

6.  How might a person make provision for the flesh?  
How would doing so affect us?  (Romans 13:14)

7.  When is our battle with Satan over?

8.  What does it mean to fear the Lord?  (Job 28:28;
Proverbs 1:7; 8:13; 9:10; 14:27; 15:33; 16:6; 23:17)

9.  An old saying goes, "curiosity killed the cat".  Do
you  think curiosity can be dangerous?  In what ways?

10.  How important is it to learn from mistakes?