How to Fight the Enemies of Good Intentions
By Rick Warren
“I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever, no matter what” (Psalm 119:112 CEV).
The reason why most people are ineffective in life is that they’ve never learned how to fight the battle of the mind.
If you want to learn to manage your mind, you have to deliver it from destructive thoughts. That isn’t easy, because there are three enemies that strive to keep you from fulfilling all your good intentions of changing your life.
1. The first enemy is your old nature.
Paul says in Romans 7:23, “There is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me”(NLT).
Do you ever find yourself doing things that you don’t really want to do? That’s the battle in your brain between your old, sinful nature and your good intentions.
2. The second enemy is Satan.
Satan cannot force you to do anything, but he can make suggestions, and those suggestions are extremely powerful. He is constantly planting negative thoughts in your mind. He’ll use other people or he’ll use the television or he’ll just throw a thought in your mind.
3. The third enemy is the world’s value system.
Not many things in our society encourage self-discipline? In fact, nearly every advertisement says, “You deserve a break today. Have it your way. We do it all for you.”
The Bible says in 1 John 2:16, “For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world”(NIV).
With enemies like that, no wonder we struggle with discouragement and despair and failure!
So how do you fight this battle? Look at what 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says: “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 pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”(NIV).
You have a choice. Your mind has to listen to you. God didn’t give you just a mind; he gave you a will! The best time to win the battle with temptation is before it begins.
“I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever, no matter what”(Psalm 119:112 CEV).
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Talk It Over
Do you believe that following God’s rules and instructions will bring freedom and help you enjoy your life? Why or why not?
What does Satan use in your life specifically and personally to keep you focused on destructive thoughts and behaviors?
What steps can you take to memorize Scripture so that you can more easily battle temptation?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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