Ephesians 4: 17; 22-24
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking....
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Nehemiah 1: 1-4
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.’
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.
By now you are hopefully realising just how important your thinking is in determining the course and direction of your life. It’s impossible to live a positive life with a negative mind. For this reason the enemy is always looking for a way, if he can, to creep into our thoughts. He wants to have us focused on our limitations, our losses, our failures and our insecurities so he can get us stuck. He sends ‘flaming arrows’ in our direction in an attempt to steal our joy, take away our confidence, mess up our relationships, tempt us to doubt God’s goodness, keep us focused on our flaws and shortcomings, and create chaos and havoc. That’s why Joyce Meyer calls it the ‘battlefield of the mind’. Most of life’s victories or defeats happen in our thoughts before we see them in our lives.
To secure victory and experience the abundant life Christ has made possible we must adopt both a defensive and an offensive posture against these enemy attacks.
First of all, we build walls and gates of defense, protective barriers which only allow in those thoughts which we permit to enter our minds. In Nehemiah 1 we read that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and its gates were destroyed. This greatly upsets Nehemiah. Why is he so disturbed about walls and gates?
In those times a city without walls was a pitiful sight. Walls fortified a city and provided protection and security from those who would seek to do it harm. A city without walls was a defenceless city, it was vulnerable to every attack that came along, you never felt safe or secure, you lived in a constant state of fear. At any moment enemies could come in and destroy it. It was very difficult to think about the future because you didn’t know if you’d have a future without walls to protect you.
I see that as an analogy of our minds and how many people simply freely allow any and every thought to come in and take up residence in their thinking. They have no boundaries in their lives, no walls or filters in place. The enemy comes against them with temptations, enticements and attacks, and he has a field day because they’ve no walls up to protect themselves. And so they are constantly moving from one crisis to another, one mess to another, because they haven’t learned that they need walls and gates in their lives.
What’s the different between a wall and a gate?
A wall stops anything coming in whereas a gate chooses what to let in and what to stop.
There’s certain things in our lives where we just have to put a wall up and say, “No more! I am not going to allow this into my life any more. This is destroying me, this pattern of thinking is killing me, and so somehow I’m going to build walls to keep this thing out.”
And then there’s other things which maybe aren’t as bad in themselves, but we just need to be more discerning about how and when we let them in. That’s where we need gates. Gates are really about discernment, choosing what we allow in and what we keep out.
Paul says something very similar in 2 Corinthians when he exhorts us to “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s a military analogy of a soldier standing guard at the entry point of our minds, stopping and examining every thought that is seeking access. Those which aren’t compatible with our new reality in Christ are not permitted to enter until they are brought into full submission to the truth of what God’s Word says about us.
That’s why reading and meditating on God’s Word is so crucial to living a victorious life. A knowledge of the truth builds a strong wall of defense against lies and also equips us with the sword of the Spirit whereby we can stand firm against and counter-attack the assaults of the enemy.