This Is Your Mind ... This Is Your Mind in a Battle
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:12
Are you feeling a little tired lately? Confused? Depressed? Kicked-around? It's no wonder-you're in a war. However, your war isn't a conventional battle that can be fought with conventional weapons. Take a look at the scripture that begins this chapter. This warfare isn't with other human beings. Not your arch nemesis at school. Not your teachers. Not your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. Not even your parents.
Your enemy is Satan himself, the ex-angel-turned-devil-and his demonic forces. (The Amplified version of the Bible calls them "master spirits.") Satan's coming after you with a carefully crafted plan of attack, one you might not even see coming. In fact, you might not even believe you're in a war at all. That's one of your enemy's best tricks-deception.
Satan is a liar. Jesus called him "the father of lies and of all that is false" (John 8:44 AMP). Here are some of his deceptive lines, which he'll use as he tries to control your mind. How many of them have you heard, in one form or another?
You don't need to listen to your parents, your pastor, your youth leaders, and all those other people who try to tell you how to live. I mean, look at 'em, those incompetent hypocrites. Look at all their flaws and inconsistencies. This is your life. Live it your way.
Drinking, drugs, and sex won't really hurt you. All of those horror stories won't happen to you. It's just a big scare tactic. Adults just don't want you to have any fun-even though they had plenty when they were your age. They just want to control you.
Do you really believe in "the devil"? Some red-skinned bald dude with a pointy tail and a pitchfork? An intelligent person like you? Get real-that's a myth. There is no devil, and there is no hell. And, by the way, there is no God or heaven, either. "Right now" is all there is. So, get yours while you can.
Come on, admit it: You have doubts about God all the time. If God was real, why would He allow those doubts to creep up inside of your head?
If there really was a God who cared, would you feel as lonely as you do, as overwhelmed by life as you do, as powerless to change things?
Have you ever felt like someone was peppering your mind with questions and concerns like these? That's how Satan works. He plants all kinds of nagging thoughts, suspicions, and doubts in your mind. He moves slowly, according to his well-laid plans for you. Always remember that when it comes to destroying your life, Satan has a custom-tailored battle strategy just for you. He has studied you for a long time. And he's going to attack you where you're weak, where you're curious, where you're inconsistent.
For example, he knows your insecurities. If you are selfconscious about your physical appearance, the devil might devise a plan to bring someone into your life who tells you that you're hot, someone who makes you feel attractive. Then, this person you've welcomed into your life might start to pressure you for sex. You know you shouldn't, but you don't want to risk losing someone who makes you feel so good about yourself.
So now Satan can sit back and watch you squirm. He's put his secret weapon in place. He has time-and your raging hormones- on his side. He knows that you can't click on the TV, power up your computer, or open a magazine without seeing sexual content of some sort. (For example, there are more than 4 million pornographic Web sites on the Internet.) He'll invest as much time as it takes to bring you down. The devil is short in a lot of areas, but patience isn't one of them. He has patience to spare.
Fortunately for you, you're not going into the battle unarmed. The Bible, God's holy message, assures you, "For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one)" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 AMP).
Now, you might be asking yourself, What are these "strongholds" that I'm supposed to overthrow and destroy? Think of it this way: Satan wants to play you like a video game, conquering one level at a time. Let's go back to our sexual-temptation example. Satan's not going to try to turn you from a pure person into a promiscuous, out-of-control sex addict overnight.
No, he's much more likely to get you interested in a sexually suggestive-yet-mainstream movie-the kind that's in movie theaters and on basic cable TV all the time. Or maybe an Internet chat room where the conversation occasionally-but not all the time-turns inappropriate.
Next, you might find yourself visiting Web sites you know you shouldn't, or taking your interest in suggestive movies to the next level-graduating from typical cable fare to pay-per-view stuff that turns up the sexual heat.
And so it goes. The same kind of thing happens with drugs, drinking, cheating, and lying. How many of your friends have you heard lying to their parents, via cell phone, about where they are, whom they are with, and what they are doing? Those lies, most likely, were probably more innocuous at first-like "Sure, Mom, I ate breakfast this morning," or, "Honest, Dad, we weren't assigned any homework this weekend." But those "Level 1" lies soon became Level 2, and so on.
Are you beginning to see Satan's sneaky war strategy? Is it scaring you, at least a little? Good. Every good soldier approaches battle with a heightened sense of awareness. Only a fool would charge into a war and not be aware of what is at stake.
The Dirty Dozen: 12 Ways Today's Teens Are Losing the Battle for Their Minds-and for Their Lives
1. Almost half of all 9th- through 12th-graders have had sex-including 61 percent of high-school seniors. (And teens who watch lots of sex on TV are more than twice as likely to have sex as those who are more discerning about their TV viewing.)
2. Nearly half of people under the age of 21 who drink alcohol, binge-drink. (Binge-drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on one occasion.) More than 500,000 young people are unintentionally injured every year while under the influence of alcohol. And about 1,500 of this number die as a direct result of alcohol abuse, such as alcohol poisoning.
3. Seventy-three percent of teens say they see at least one act of discrimination a month, but only 22 percent speak up and do something about it.
4. Parents and teens are not on the same page-or even in the same book-when it comes to sex. While half of today's teens are sexually active, 84 percent of parents believe their kids are not sexually active. Meanwhile, 87 percent of teens say it would be easier to delay sex if they could have more open, honest talks with parents.
5. One in six of today's young females are drunk when they lose their virginity. (One in seven say their partner was drunk, as well.)
6. The United States has the highest STD and teen-pregnancy rates in the developed world. In fact, the U.S. rate of teen pregnancy is double that of any other industrialized nation.
7. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Americans ages 15 to 24.
8. More than 4 million teens become infected with an STD each year.
9. Almost one in four 8th-graders has tried "huffing"- using household chemicals like paint thinner or type corrector to get high.
10. Every year in the United States, more than 800,000 girls 19 and under get pregnant.
11. The average age at which teens start taking drugs is 13.
12. Among sexually active high-school seniors, more than 21 percent have had four or more sex partners.
Okay, let's take a look at what we've learned so far.
1. You are engaged in a war.
2. Satan is your enemy.
3. Your own mind is the battleground.
4. The devil will work diligently to establish strongholds in your mind, conquering the territory piece by piece, just like a master gamer conquers a video game.
5. The devil works to achieve victory by strategy and deceit- battle plans and lies. One of his best lies is to convince you that he doesn't exist.
6. Your enemy is in no hurry. He's going to take his time. He doesn't need to win now. He just wants to win in the end.
Now, let's move on to the next chapter and see another way that a satanic plan can work its cruel results.