I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway (v.19).
On all fours with the grass pressing into my hands and knees, I was already backing out of my goal. I had recently enlisted the help of a friend to improve my muscle strength and endurance. On this particular night, we were at a local park doing conditioning exercises and cardio. While my legs were completing the lifting exercises to strengthen my muscles, my mind desperately looked for a way out of having to run the last lap of our workout. I was convinced I had nothing left.
John 14:27 reminds us that when it comes to the battleground of the mind, Christ promises us a peace that doesn’t come from this world’s arena. In the midst of temptation, though, we may find ourselves in heated negotiations with thoughts that threaten to derail our spiritual perspective. Paul highlighted this very tension in Romans 8:6, which says, “Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” While the Christian walk is one founded in faith, God engages our minds as well as our hearts (Hebrews 10:16).
In the battle between flesh and spirit (Romans 7:22), self-help strategies and logical arguments fail to move spiritual strongholds. Likewise, an attempt to avoid a confrontation with the enemy through compromise will only bring us into further bondage.
Miraculous to be sure, victory arrives when we follow God’s process. Our desperate call to God in our struggles and our choice to obey (Psalms 119:169), one decision at a time, bring us to the place of authority where we can then take down the “rebellious thoughts” (2 Corinthians 2:5) that stand contrary to the work Christ accomplished on the cross.
Like physical exercise, it’s not a one-time process but rather a practice for life.
Why is the mind such a powerful tool in the fight for righteousness? How can you gain victory in your mind?