Mental Warfare? What is that?
Yesterday, I was discussing the topic of my depression and how my physical side affects are just a reflection of the war that is waging in my mind. My anxiety issues all stem from the thoughts that are constantly racing through my head. My friend that I was discussing this with seemed intrigued that I had shared this and was comforted because he too also struggles with mental warfare. He doesn’t struggle with depression or anxiety, but there are all types of warfare that take place in the space between our ears.
When we hear the word war the images of bombs dropping probably appears in our minds. Perhaps, we think of a physical altercation. Often times, our view of warfare is focused on the physical side of things; however, the majority of our time is spent in something called mental warfare. This is a battle that wages in our mind, heart, and soul. This is the unseen battle that is very real; however, it is often overlooked.
The bible says that we are to set our minds on what is above. What happens when you are controlled by your fear? What happens when you can’t seem to get a grip on the thoughts that flow through your head? What happens when you are in a pit with no way out? These are the times that you believe there is such a thing as mental warfare, but you probably have no idea how to fight it.
From a young age depression has had a hold on my life. I knew growing up that something was different about me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It wasn’t until I moved to college that I began to understand more about myself. Before this major change in my life I had never even been in a place to acknowledge the fact that there was something much deeper going on. It was in this season of life that the Lord began to walk me through what it meant to struggle with depression. The next stage was learning about how to be a Christian and LIVE with depression. I didn’t just want to struggle, but I desperately wanted to live! It was then that I felt Him leading me into the field of psychology. Long story short…I’m in a counseling program working on my Master’s degree. Anyways, it was in this stage of my life that I was introduced to the term mental warfare and in the following years I learned how to use this in my own daily walk.
There comes a point in your life where you must be willing to get on your face and cry out to God. In the south, we refer to these as…come to Jesus moments…. There came a point where I was surrounded on every side by the words that constantly flooded my brain. These thoughts, if not contained, most often lead to severe depression, anxiety, and even to suicide. These thoughts are very real, but they are attacks on your soul; which means, they are invisible to the eye. So, the meaning behind these thoughts are not true. Most often they are lies fed to you by the enemy himself. He wishes to kill, steal, and destroy. Never forget that! He is not your friend nor will he ever be! The lies he feeds you are to destroy your life from the inside out. If the enemy can get you to believe that you are worthless, unwanted, past saving, beyond the point of no return, etc….then he wins. When we begin to recognize these attacks for what they are then we can begin to fight them. This is only done through Christ.
I know what you’re thinking..What does that look like in a practical sense? Don’t just throw out some general cookie cutter answer…Well, let me share with you some ways that have helped me “Redeem my life from the pit”. (Psalm 103)
First, you cannot do this alone! I repeat you cannot change yourself! It is only through the power and strength of Christ that you can change. This mindset of defeat that you have is something that is going to have to be rewired and that takes time, but it also takes a power much greater. Your vision is so small. You can’t see past your own nose much less pull yourself from despair and control your thoughts. In order for God to heal He must be allowed to come into the broken and hurting places.
So, what does that look like? Cry out to God! Discuss these issues as if He is sitting in the room with you. Be verbal! Talk it out. He wants you to tell Him in what ways you are hurting. This not only grows a deeper bond, but it allows you to release some of that built up frustration. As you are probing your heart, memories will come to the surface and they will not be pretty. Be prepared to cry.. just saying. Sometimes, there are deep rooted issues that we aren’t even aware of…( I will discuss this in a later post about my anger issues)…It’s ok, everyone has issues. Everyone has problems. The question is…how will you work through them?
Second, is scripture, scripture, scripture! It’s the most important tool we have to fight off mental warfare. When you begin to use scripture while you are praying…boy..will it transform the way things get done! You are praying the words of God against these lies that Satan is throwing at you! What is a better defense? Here are a few key verses that I’ve used in my own life to claim for victory: Psalm 103:3–5; 11–17 , Psalm 37:1–9;23, Hosea 14:4, Isaiah: 44:6–9, Colossians 1:9–16; 3:2–4…These are just a few that I constantly go to in my bible that bring truth into my life. They also help keep a perspective on things. Claim some verses as your own! Use them to fight! I call them…my fightin words…..Take hold of the truths that God has promised and knock the enemy in the face with them!
Third, I would suggest finding a friend. You can call this accountability if you like. You just need a support system of brothers and sisters than can pray on your behalf. They can also uplift you when the war seems like too much! Don’t be afraid to share your battles. You know what….everyone has something they’re struggling with. Don’t let your battles and broken bones define you! Christ has made you a new creation and you need to live in that victory! (That is also another topic I will be writing on. So, I’ll save that for later.)
All right friends, what have we learned?
1. You cannot change yourself
2. You must discuss — then give — to the Lord
3. Use Scripture to fight off the fiery darts
4. Find a friend to share in your battles
5. You are free (you just don’t know it) — Christ has come to set you free.. stop living in a mindset of slavery