The human mind: a battlefield
According to the Bible, the human mind is unusual in that it constitutes a battlefield where Satan and his evil spirits contend against the truth and against the believer. The mind and the spirit of man are like fortresses that evil spirits yearn to capture. The human mind is a battlefield where the conflict rages for the conquest of this fortress.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, the Apostle Paul compares human arguments and reasoning to strongholds of the enemy. He describes the mind that the enemy has occupied as something that this enemy had to have previously conquered in battle. Many thoughts are stored in these rebel strongholds and the Christian must take them captive to the obedience of Christ. All this clearly shows that man’s mind is the scene of battle where evil spirits are in conflict with God.
We can clearly see how the powers of darkness align themselves against the human mind and how it is peculiarly susceptible to the attacks of Satan. With respect to other functions of the soul namely the will and emotion, Satan is more limited and cannot act directly on them unless he has gained a foothold in them in some way. However, with respect to the mind, Satan can freely operate without first having to persuading it to allow him free access.
Before regeneration, man’s intellect prevents him from understanding God. God finds it necessary to destroy the power of human arguments. This work must occur at the time of the new birth, and comes in the form of repentance. However, even after repentance the mind of the believer is not fully exempt from the influence of Satan, he will continue working on the mind.
In 2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul recognizes that the god of this world acts upon and deceives the minds of unbelievers. Today, many times Satan masquerades as an angel of light deceiving the elect into spreading a different gospel other than the Gospel of the grace of God. The truth is that hardly anyone imagines that the devil is capable of giving good thoughts to men.
It is possible for a child of God to have new life and a new heart and still not have a new mind. Frequently the intentions of the heart are entirely pure, but the thoughts of the head are confused. If the mind of a Christian is not renewed, his life is bound to be off-balance and shallow. God’s people need to know that if they want to live an abundant life, they must renew their minds. The Bible states emphatically that we should “be transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:2).
THE MIND UNDER ATTACK BY EVIL SPIRITS
The Christian may find that he is unable to control his thought life and make it obey the purpose of his will. Ask yourself, who controls your mind? Is it you? If so, why can’t you control it now? Does God direct your mind? If God does not govern your thought life, then who is in control? Obviously, it is the powers of darkness. Therefore, when a child of God says that he is no longer able to govern his mind, he must then recognize that he is under the enemy’s control.
We must always keep in mind the fact that man possesses a free will. God’s intention is that man exercise control over himself. He has the authority to regulate each one of his natural abilities, so all his mental processes are subject to the power of his will. The Christian must ask himself the question: Are these my thoughts? Who is doing my thinking? If it is not me, then it must be an evil spirit that is capable of operating in the human mind. This person should recognize that in this case, he did not intend to think and yet thoughts came into his head. He should conclude that these are not his own thoughts, but those of an evil spirit.
However, how can we tell if a thought is our own or of an evil spirit? The Believer should observe how the thought appeared. If your mental faculty is quiet and peaceful, functioning normally and naturally, and suddenly an incoherent thought with no connection with your current circumstances arises, most probably it is from an evil spirit. Evil spirits try to inject their thoughts into the mind of the believer in order to lead them to accept them as their own. If a child of God did not conceive a certain idea that pops into his mind, but rather opposes it, and yet it continues to remain in his thinking, he can conclude that such thoughts are from the enemy. Every thought that man chooses not to think, and each one contrary to his will, are not his but come from the outside.
It is very important to know that the powers of darkness operate not only outside of man but inside man as well. This means that they can squeeze into the thought life of a person and work themselves in from there. Evil spirits have communication abilities that we do not possess. They may work initially in the mind and then move into the emotions and the will. The Bible clearly shows that the powers of darkness can suggest ideas to a person as well as remove them. The devil had already put it in the heart of Judas Iscariot, to betray Jesus (John 13:2) and “Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart” (Luke 8:12)
CAUSES OF DEMONIC ATTACKS
Whenever we give an opportunity to an evil spirit, we jeopardize our own will, and subject ourselves to strong influences imposed by the malignant will of demonic spirits. By yielding ground to them in our mind, we begin to lose our own self-control. Because of the affinity that exists between the human mind and evil spirits, Christians often pave the way for them. Whatever ground the enemy is able to gain gives him more authority to operate without hindrance in the mind of the believer. However, the human mind belongs to man, and without his permission, the enemy has no power to use it.
Believers yield ground to evil spirits in the realm of ideas and thoughts and demons operate within this realm. There are six types of ground over which the enemy can gain control. We will examine each one of them.
1. An un-renewed Mind
If the Christian does not renew his mind after his spirit has been regenerated, he will expose much territory to the schemes of evil spirits. Knowing that the un-renewed mind of the Christian is their best workshop, the forces of the enemy employ every means to keep believers in ignorance or keep them from seeking the renewal of their mind.
2. A mistaken Mind
All sins provide territory to the adversary. If a child of God nourishes sin in his heart, he is yielding his mind to evil spirits and to the fulfillment of their ill will. All impure, proud, unkind and unjust thoughts provide a foundation for the activities of these spirits.
3. Misinterpreting God’s truth
If God’s children misunderstand or misinterpret the things that evil spirits do in their minds and bodies as something natural or what they themselves have initiated, or something caused by normal circumstances, they are giving away precious territory to the abominable purposes of these evil spirits. Any lie that the mind embraces offers more ground for further activities of satanic spirits. On the other hand, many Christians misunderstand God’s truths. Evil spirits build arguments according to the biblical misunderstanding of believers causing them to think that these arguments are from God. Many Christians do not recognize that these arguments are only imitations invented by evil spirits based on their own biblical misunderstanding.
4. Blind acceptance of satanic suggestions
Evil spirits sow their thoughts into the mind in the form of prophecy to see if the believer will accept or reject them. If the mind of the believer does not object, but rather approves this prophecy, then the wicked spirits gain a foothold to do whatever they please. The fulfillment of the predictions of fortune tellers depends on this readiness to accept these self-fulfilling prophecies. Demons can inject words concerning the health of a Christian’s body, such as predicting weakness or illness. If the believer accepts such thoughts, they can easily become sick and weak.
5. An empty mind
God created man with a mind and He expects him to use it fully. An active mind is an obstacle to the work of demons. One of their biggest goals is to lead the mind of the person to a state of emptiness, because as long as the head is empty, the mind cannot think. The Christian must exercise his mind because as long as it is functioning, the activity of the evil one is blocked.
6. A Passive Mind
The difference between a passive and an empty mind is that an empty or idle mind is not used at all and a passive mind is passively waiting for some outside force to activate it. Passivity means to abstain from thinking on your own and allowing outside elements to do your thinking for you. Passivity reduces man to a machine, and gives evil spirits the opportunity to occupy the will and the body of the believer as well as the mind. If someone allows their mind to stop thinking, to stop investigating, to stop making decisions and stop examining their experiences and actions in light of the Bible, they are practically inviting Satan to invade their mind and deceive them. In their desire to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit, many of God’s children feel that they do not need to measure, investigate and judge all thoughts in the light of the Bible that seemingly come from God.
Passivity – The ignorance of the Christian is the cause of passivity. The normal way of God’s leading is by the intuition of the spirit and not by the mind. The believer must follow the revelation of intuition, not the thoughts of his mind. Yes, it is by intuition that we come to know God’s will, but in addition we need the mind to inspect our inner feelings in order to determine whether they come from intuition or whether they are an imitation produced by our emotions. We know things by intuition, but we prove them by the mind. The mind should never guide or lead, but unquestionably, it needs to test the authenticity of the direction. This teaching agrees with Scripture (Ephesians 5:10, 17).
A believer can slide into passivity, when he expects God to put His will into his thinking, and blindly follows any supernatural leading without using his intelligence to examine whether it comes from God or not. The consequence of such ignorance is an enemy invasion. Fortune tellers, astrologers, psychics and mediums say that in order to receive what they call “spirit guides” (which are actually demons), the mind should not offer any resistance, and should empty itself as much as possible. Evil spirits are thrilled when they encounter such empty minds.