Study Scripture:  “ I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” – Deuteronomy 30:19

Introduction:

We’re now 5 days into this 14 day trial of Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind Devotional book, and I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed this series.   I hope that you have enjoyed it, and learned from these messages like I have.  So, today’s message is titled “I Can’t Help It”, and I’m really interested to find out what this one is all about, and how I can apply it to my life.   So, let’s see what we can learn today about winning the fight on the Battlefield of The Mind.

Today’s Message

When God begins to deal with us about wrong behavior, it’s easy enough to say, “I can’t help it,” but it takes real courage and faith to say, “I’m ready to take responsibility and get my life straightened out.” – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

Sometimes it’s a joy to know that God is dealing with us about stuff, and sometimes it’s not so much of a joy is it?  It kind of depends on what God’s dealing with us about isn’t it?  If He’s dealing with us on something that we dislike about ourselves it’s a lot easier to agree with God that we need to get rid of what He’s dealing with us about.  However, if it’s something that we’re comfortable with, and something that appeals to our flesh it’s much harder to agree with God that it needs to go…isn’t it?  I know, you’re probably super spiritual, and no matter what God is dealing with you over you agree with God 100% of the time.  Well, if that’s you, then I’m assuming this message isn’t going to be for you.  However, if you’re like me, and you don’t always agree with God about things He’s wanting to remove then this message is probably going to be for us.

“Much of our thinking is habitual. If we regularly think about God and good things, godly thoughts become natural. Thousands of thoughts flow through our minds every day. We may feel we have no control, but we do. Although we don’t have to use any effort to think wrong thoughts, we have to use much effort to think good thoughts. As we begin to make changes, we will have to fight a battle.

Our mind is the battlefield, and Satan‘s primary way of initiating his evil plan for us is through our thoughts. If we feel we have no power over our thoughts, Satan will entrap and defeat us. Instead, we can determine to think in godly ways.” – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

I’m going back in time today for a moment when I was part of the Living-free Program when I was a resident at the Kenosha County Detention Center.  Don’t judge.  I’m sure none of you found the Lord while you were in jail, or some other kind of institution right?  Anyways, the main program facilitator used to always say; “Thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to consequences.”  It’s a program way of saying the same thing that Jesus says when He tells us what’s in our hearts will come forth from our mouths.  It’s the same thing the writer of the Proverb; “As a man thinks in his heart…so is he.”.  It is also a way to remind us that we reap what we sow.

When we allow thoughts to go unchallenged by the Word of God that’s when our troubles begin.  Our thoughts are going to go through one of two filters.  It’s either going to be filtered by the Word of God, or it’s going to be filtered through the flesh.  What happens to our thoughts depends upon which filter our thoughts go through.  If most of our thoughts are filtered by the flesh…then we’re most likely going to do something carnal because our flesh is at war with our spirit.  Our flesh doesn’t want to do anything according to the will or Word of God.  So, when thoughts and feelings are filtered through the flesh…the end result is something pleasing to our flesh.  If our thoughts are filtered through the Word of God…the end result is something pleasing to God.

Remember Paul’s battle in Romans 7?  That’s really what today’s message is about.  It’s about helping us to find victory like Paul did when he was at war between his flesh, and his spirit.  It’s worth pointing out here that this battle isn’t an external battle (remember Ephesians 6:10-18), but it’s very much an internal battle…and the winner of that battle is going to be what ever is strongest.  If you feed your flesh more than your flesh is more likely to win the battle.  If you feed your spirit more than your spirit is more likely to win the battle…so which one are you feeding?

God has given us the power to decide–to choose right thinking over wrong. But once we make that choice, we must continue to choose right thoughts. It’s not a once-and-for-all decision, but it does get easier. The more we fill our lives with reading the Bible, prayer, praise, and fellowship with other believers, the easier it is for us to continue choosing right thoughts. – Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

It’s of vital importance today to shut off ESPN, and turn on TBN or Daystar or The Word Network.  It is of vital importance that we put down the daily newspaper, and pick up our dusty Bibles to start meditating upon God’s Word.  It’s of vital importance sometimes to turn off secular music, and turn on worship music or radio sermons.  It’s of vital importance to get rid of all the distractions, and take time to fellowship with God.  All of these things are of vital importance to us as believers…especially in today’s world.

I’m guilty as anyone of wanting to watch ESPN, and not the latest message by Charles Stanley.  It’s easy to want to listen to sports talk, and not listen to worship music or a good sermon.  It’s easy to get busy, and lessen the premium of spending time in fellowship with God.  I am guilty of doing all of this as recently as the last couple of weeks.  It’s very easy to get sidetracked, distracted, and bombarded by the cares of the world.  That’s exactly what satan wants…he wants our focus and attention divided, and he certainly doesn’t want it to be on godly things.

There is a decision-making process here like Joyce says.  The decision about what is more important the stuff you like, or spending time with the Lord.  Can I tell you that I don’t always make the right decision either?  I just told you that there are times I’m more interested in what’s on CBS.  There are times that I’d rather be lazy and watch television.  However, when I choose to do those things I’m feeding my flesh, and I’m neglecting the thing that’s really of utmost importance…fellowship with God…and more specifically God’s presence.

I was challenged in my spirit yesterday as my pastor taught the first message in a new series, and the question that challenged me is am I placing enough importance on being in the presence of God.  I had to answer no.  I had to be honest to admit that I was in one of those lulls where watching television was more important that studying the Word of God.  So, I was faced with a choice, and the one I made was to fast from television, sports radio, and secular music for 21 days…and replace all of it with spending more time in the presence of God.

Conclusion & Prayer:

Today, I am beginning a 21 day fast from all the stuff I just mentioned, and replacing it with things that will enable me to have a deeper relationship with God.  I’m turning off the television, and turning on God.  I’m turning off sports talk, and turning on sermons and worship music.  I’m turning off the meaningless games on Facebook, and writing more messages.  I would like to invite you to join me in shutting off the worldly distractions, and replacing it with things that are going to strengthen our walk with God…and more importantly keep us in His presence.

I’m certainly not going to judge you whether you do this or not.  I’m just inviting you to do this along with me if you feel like I do that you’ve placed worldly stuff before the Lord, and it’s distracting you from having the kind of relationship with God that you’d like to have.  I know that it’s impacting my ability to make decisions, and have right thoughts of my own.  It’s time to shut out the garbage, and allow the things of God to cleanse my system.

It takes time to learn to choose good and push away evil. It won’t be easy, but we’re moving in the right direction every time we take responsibility and make the right choices. Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer

I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure that I’m not placing more of an emphasis on the world than the presence of God.  That’s the reason for this fast from television, sports talk, and the games on Facebook.  I don’t want anything to be more important to me than my relationship with the Lord, and when I notice that things are more important…I need to set those things aside…and get back to the basics of life.

Pray: Powerful God, remind me that I can and do make choices every day. Please help me to monitor my thoughts, choosing only those that will help me overcome the devil and win the battle for my mind. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.