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Understanding Mental Strongholds Part Five: Christianity Is A Choice: Agree With God And Die To Self

July 7, 2014
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Understanding Mental Strongholds Part Five: Christianity Is A Choice: Agree With God And Die To Self

 

Understanding Mental Strongholds
Part Five:
Christianity Is A Choice: Agree With God And Die To Self

The death that Christians fear most is death of self. You are in bondage through this fear of death. It is not the destruction of your body, but the threat of death to your supposed self-control, your carnal mind’s predominance over everything that you think and do.

It is the soul’s fight for your will to submit to God, and control the mind and emotions. It is an ongoing struggle for the Holy Spirit to be in control within you. Your flesh and the carnal mind war against the truth of God, holding fast to what they want and believe.

Why must you wage war to rid yourself of a carnal mind? From childhood you assigned to your mind the task of guarding and keeping all of your ways. Your mind chooses your direction and makes decisions, and summons all of your faculties to follow its lead.

The mind absorbs information and objectively decides what to do with that information. When you decide you want information and knowledge, your mind sets a direction and charts a path for you. Your mind is made to plan; however, you must be set on a righteous direction.

“The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge…”
Proverbs 15:14 (NAS)
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9 (NAS)

The mind blocks messages that you do not agree with and keeps in messages that agree with your core beliefs. Psychologically, the first task your mind performs is not to think or plan, it is to block out and sort information. Every minute the brain simultaneously processes hundreds of stimuli. The clock is ticking, A.C. is blowing, a plane zooms by outside your office window and there are sounds from people nearby, worries in the back of our minds, hunger, thirst, aches and pains, and messages from all around you. The mind decides which signals to heed and act upon, and which signals to ignore.

Your death of self upon acceptance of salvation poses an utter threat to the ruling, carnal center of decision-making within you. The battle is waged daily in your mind. It is interesting that Jesus was crucified upon Golgotha, “The Skull.” This is significant because the skull is the residence of the mind and every battle begins and ends in your mind.

All mankind struggles with death to your carnal mind’s rule, but the paradox is that, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.”
Matthew 16:25-26 (NIV)

If you maintain carnal, mental self-control, you reinstall self upon the throne and succumb to Satan’s first temptation all over again. You, as God’s people, will perish with a lack of knowledge, but knowledge alone is not enough. You must gain understanding. When you set your mind on the Spirit, you will gain wisdom and be attuned to the things of the Spirit.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Romans 8:5-9 (NKJV)

The mind receives information from the Spirit or the flesh; you choose through your will which one to obey. You as Christians must deal with a two-fold problem in your mind. First, you must allow God to identify what needs to be changed. You must seek God to root out and destroy your practiced track of thinking.

Many of these patterns have never been revealed, or perceived as chains that hold you in bondage, yet that is exactly what they do. It is only in the power and wisdom of God that you can identify and change your faulty thinking.You do this by being rooted in Christ Jesus, moving beyond a mere knowledge of Him into a deep relationship that brings lasting change.

Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (NKJV)

The second thing that you must do is allow Him to remove and replace faulty thinking with the truth of God. You must seek His new root from the Spirit to replace the old that has been removed. He is your root or vine, and you must have the mind of Christ and be His branches so that you bear fruit.

The question that you may ask is: “Why didn’t God just pull out the root of my sin nature all at once?” This would be too much for you to bear. It is painful to have things identified and replaced. He also respects your free will and wants you to choose Him, not just once for salvation but on a regular basis.

If God removed your problematic nature and replaced it all at one time, your confidence would be in yourself and not in Him. He left a built-in barometer that measures when you are drifting away from Him. You continually need to be in His presence for Him to remove your carnal mind.

In Matthew 3:10, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (NIV)

When you cut down the tree it is dead, just as you died in Christ and are new creations. When you chop down a tree you do not dig up the roots which extend far and wide. Likewise in you, God left these roots. You must topple your first stronghold of pride, so that you can humble yourself.

Then you can begin letting go of the old tracks of thought and learn to sink your roots into Jesus, depending on Him and allowing the mind of Christ to fill all of the channels of your thinking processes. This is how you remove faulty patterns and tear down the strongholds.

 

Dr. Michele

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