No one is more influential in your life than you are. Because no one talks to you more than you do. – Paul Tripp
You are your own greatest influence. You listen to yourself more than you listen to anyone else in life. The endless inner dialogue, all those thoughts swirling around in your head, they’re trying to lead you a certain way. And it’s all part of a spiritual battle.
In addition to listening to yourself more than anyone else, you also most likely trust yourself more than you trust anyone else. No one’s thoughts are as personally esteemed as your own. Your ideas and beliefs tend to trump the ideas and beliefs of others, despite the fact that they often let you down.
Think of all the times you’ve gotten yourself in trouble, or in a heap of unhappiness at least, as a result of listening to your thoughts, listening to your feelings, and following them. Yet you continue trusting yourself. If it were someone else giving you advice, and their advice frequently led you to misery, would you still trust their counsel? Of course not. But somehow we’re blind to the fact that we continually trust the one person that let us down the most.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9
Our minds are the grounds for spiritual battle. On one side we have our sinful, deceptive flesh that hates God, loves sin, and will lead us to spiritual suicide if it’s not warred against. On the other side we have God, the faithful and righteous one, who will lead us to eternal life if we follow Him.
The flesh has on its side all the forces of Satan, whose grip on the world is manifested in false beliefs found in books, movies, music, commercials, schools, conversations with friends, and so much more. There are a billion voices that support your sinful flesh in warring against God, and thus warring against truth.
God has His own armies, but He doesn’t need them. He has legions of angels at His command, but the war is easily won without them. He has given us Himself, and that’s all we need. The Holy Spirit of God indwells every believer, and He brings with Him a sword.
The primary weapon in the battle for the mind is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
One habit that’s essential to fighting this battle is constantly checking what we’re saying to ourselves. When you talk to yourself, are you speaking words of truth informed by Scripture, or are your words shaped by the influence of your deceitful flesh?
Scripture is our weapon, and with it we destroy the thoughts and beliefs that are opposed to God and rooted in lies. Whatever our minds or feelings try leading us to believe, as soldiers in this battle we must always ask, “What does God say is true?”
Rather than following the voice of the flesh, we must constantly speak the truth to ourselves. This is the battle we have to fight each day.
Don’t trust yourself. Trust the one who will never lie, never deceive, and never fail you.
While God is faithful to change hearts and minds in the lives of His children, we also understand that change is a process, and often times far from simplistic or quick. Habits of life and thinking tend to change over time as the Holy Spirit works in hearts. This process of change is called “progressive sanctification.” It can be helpful and sometimes necessary to seek help from other Christians who can faithfully lead and walk with us, providing biblical encouragement and instruction along the way for the implementation of God-honoring, Christ-centered change. If you are struggling with life’s challenges, we would encourage you to seek help from your pastor, a godly friend, or a biblical counselor who is committed to seeking answers from God’s Word. To find a biblical counselor you can contact us or visit biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor in your area.
Born and raised in the Dallas area, Ryan loves calling Texas his home. He met his wife Jessica at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, where he serves on staff and is a counselor for Grace Biblical Counseling Ministries. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, and in May 2015 he graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a B.S. in Ministry Leadership.