By Kathi Pelton
We are all made of body, soul and spirit. Because of that, we cannot separate one from another. When our body hurts it affects our soul and spirit— this is true with our souls as well (mind and emotions).
When I was young my soul was leading the way— taking me down winding paths of chaotic and often unnecessary turmoil. I made decisions that were based on emotions and viewed the world from whatever my emotional state was on that particular day. This didn’t immediately change after my salvation experience but took years of having the Holy Spirit teach me how to let Him lead. I had to learn how to submit my thoughts and emotions to the peace of Christ and the truth of His word— I had to be given a “renewed and sound mind.”
2020 has been a year that is “supercharged” with mental and emotional extremes. First the pandemic and quarantine (which would have been enough), then the death of George Floyd that turned our nation into something unrecognizable with riots and violence, great political unrest, hatred toward our police, divisions about race and now our entire West Coast in flames. It is enough to challenge the most stable person.
I don’t recount the hard things to remind you of what is negative but to help you to understand that in the midst of all of this there is a real mental warfare that is being fought by all. We live in the Washington DC region and meet with leaders here weekly and they all will tell you that the greatest personal warfare they have to contend with is the “mental warfare.”
So- what does that look like? Often it will hit your soul in a way that causes you to want to disengage and isolate; self-quarantine begins to sound awfully attractive in these times. Many will begin to want to escape into a sort of denial by watching TV or reading or doing whatever is their escape mechanism. These things are not bad if they are in balance but those being hit with mental warfare will sink into these things like a drug that separates them from all the pain.
Another form of mental warfare will come in the form of panic and anxiety that leaves a person feeling as though there is no escape. Thoughts of running or even death will consume their souls. Some people begin to get suspicious of people plotting against them or thinking obsessively about the negative political atmosphere, conspiracies, etc. Some get angry and cynical while others get depressed and hopeless. In any case, the peace of Christ and the perspective of His Spirit will begin to fade away.
This mental warfare must be dealt with and recognized as it begins to take hold; before it takes over! For example, I had a day recently where I felt exhausted and just didn’t want to engage in anything that was on my plate for that day. It was an unnatural exhaustion (I had plenty of rest the night before) that hit my body and my soul. I took time to rest that day but the more I rested the more tired I became and the more I wanted to disengage from everything. I quickly realized that this was mental warfare because I didn’t even want to spend time with the Lord, with people I love and didn’t feel joy in the Lord— just “blah.”
I had to get up and begin praying in the spirit, turn on some worship music and exercise my spirit until my soul submitted. After a short time I suddenly felt my energy return and I could think clearly, see clearly and felt joy return. It reminded me of when I’m dealing with low blood sugar and I feel disoriented and fatigued but then I eat something and suddenly I’m back to normal— clear headed and energized.
We are living I times that require our minds, our thoughts and our emotions to be submitting to His Spirit and to the truth of His Word like never before. God has promised us a sound mind but we must do our part to walk in it and keep walking in it.
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Fear is like a “power outage” to the soul. Everything goes dark! We must ask for God’s power to remain strong within us so that we walk in the light. For me a key for staying mentally clear is found in Philippians 4:8,
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Train your mind to focus and think upon these things!!
Most of my family and friends are living on the West Coast and they are dealing with raging fires, evacuations and all sorts of chaos. My mind is with them constantly but if I allow myself to think upon the “what if’s” or the fear then the “power goes out for me!” Darkness will overtake light and I will be ineffective in my prayers and support of them. I must put my hope and faith in the promises of God for those that I love and think on those things as I pray. My prayers must be from the place of light (and peace) and not darkness (and fear).
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
My peace effects my prayers! Therefore my mind must be found in His peace and in absolute trust in Him so that I can receive His wisdom and revelation regarding all that is before us. We want effectual prayers that bring effectual change, Spirit breathed actions and initiatives that come from God alone, peace that changes the atmosphere and thoughts that birth words of hope to those around us. We want to be the image of Christ walking the face of this earth.
Jesus never lost His composer because He knew how to keep His mind focused on things above— even if He had to wrestle in prayer! I have no doubt that Jesus had to deal with this mental warfare that must be overcome by the Spirit. We must not allow ourselves to just sink under it but to wrestle until we rise above it. We must not only work out in our bodies to remain healthy but we must practice a mental work out routine to keep our minds fixed on Christ.
If you need to reach out for help— do so! Don’t let this warfare sink you in the darkness until you cannot breathe. Then manage it daily through prayer, the Word of God and staying engaged with those who love Him. There is no more wasting time!
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26
The Helper is present to help you!
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