by: Andy Clipperton
God's Design vs. Satan's Deception
The mind is the field of battle for all of humanity and every single one of us is an unwitting partaker in that war. The mind is the prize sought by the combatants, and the pivot on which the battle turns. The battle is a spiritual one because the mental and the spiritual spheres are inextricably linked together, and what happens in either sphere has a dramatic impact on the other. It is our free will, a.k.a. the mind, that decides way the influence runs.
The key to unlocking that free will is in hand of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who gave His blood that men might be free. Without Christ, we are slaves to sin because somewhere in every heart there lurks a desperate evil that manages to leak out past even the most stringent of moral codes. Jesus died so this lurking evil would be defeated in our hearts and so we would live lives of victory over the sin that ensnares us.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross just to provide a way to get to heaven someday. The life we have in Christ doesn’t begin when we step foot on those heavenly shores, it starts the moment He becomes Lord of our lives. In his writings, Paul commands us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).
We are not called to a life of spiritual ease, we are called to battle.
Anyone who has tried to live a "good life" knows the futility of this because no matter how hard we try, being good without fail isn’t possible (Rom 3:23). Just like the apostle Paul, we struggle to do what we know is right, even as we willingly do what we know is wrong, and it seems like our hands are bound to do evil in spite of our best intention (Rom 7:19).
Defective? Or Deceived?
A lie is an attempt to deceive someone. It’s a statement of untruth issued in order to gain a measure of control over a person. If that person accepts the lie, believing it to be true, they are now deceived and is now in some measure under the liar’s control. Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), and lies are his primary means of exercising control. He would have us believe that since we fail to live a perfect life, there is something fundamentally wrong with us.
But he's wrong. We're not defective, we've been deceived.
One of the worst lies he has foisted on our culture is the idea that a person can’t help how they feel, that they are somehow a slave to their emotions. He tells us that the heart is the seat of our emotions and that the heart is helpless to control them.
However, when you understand that in the ancient Hebrew culture the heart was regarded as the seat of the WILL, everything the Bible says about the heart takes on a different meaning, especially when we realize that the same Hebrew word that's translated as "heart" is also often rendered as "mind". We can be in control of our own emotions when we accept God's Design instead of Satan's Deception.
God the Father wrote all the immutable laws that govern His creation’s behavior. He is The Lawgiver (Isa 33:22, James 4:12). Therefore, He is the ultimate authority on everything. Whatever He says is right is right. Whatever contradicts His design is wrong. He is entirely good (Psalm 143:10, Mark 10:18) and we can trust in His goodness. His love springs out of His goodness because love is the expression of what is good (James 1:17).
God the Holy Spirit acts at the behest of God the Father (John 16:13, 1 Cor 2:10-12, John 3:34, Acts 2:17 and Gal 3:5). One could say that in a sense, God the Holy Spirit submits to God the Father and is the next level down in the hierarchy of authority.
God’s design is that a Christian’s spirit be in submission to the Holy Spirit's authority. Our life in Christ is a spiritual one, therefore the highest authority within ourselves must be the spirit. It’s the conduit that His life flows through into every other aspect of our lives. Christ’s crucifixion removes our sin and makes this communion with the Holy Spirit possible (John 1:12, 2 Cor. 5:17). It is via this connection that we are led in how to serve Him. It is the way that He abides in us and we in Him (John 15:1-8, Rom 1:9, Rom 8:4, Eze 36:27, Gal 3:3).
Now we arrive at the battlefield I mentioned at the beginning of this essay: the mind.
The mind can choose to either submit to the spirit that is communicating what the Holy Spirit desires (Rom 1:9, 8:14, Eze 36:27, Gal 3:3), or it can chose to submit to the flesh and its desires (Rom 7:23). If the spirit is submitted to the Holy Spirit and the mind is submitted to the spirit, then through the Spirit, we are given the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). Having the mind of Christ is how we control our emotions instead of letting them control us (2 Tim 1:7).
The blood of Jesus is the key that unlocks the mind to be free to choose (Rom 8:1-4). Once the mind has chosen to be submitted to the spirit (Rom 7:25, Gal 5:16-26), which is in turn submitted to the Holy Spirit, then the rest of the hierarchy falls in line beneath that authority. The mind commands the body (1 Cor 9:27), making it the servant which acts on the world (Gen 1:28, Eph 2:10), subjugating it to the will of the spirit-led mind.
Satan, the Accuser, has no authority over anything in our lives at all! He is defeated and cast down!
But Satan is permitted to spread his lies for now, and he is doing his best to deceive mankind into accepting his hierarchy, which completely turns God’s design on its head.
According to Satan, he is the ultimate authority with the world under his sway (1 John 5:19).
Then the world acts upon the body, demanding that it submit and adapt to the world, telling us, “this is just the way it is, deal with it.”
The body, having accepted this lie, then demands that the mind be its slave, ruled by it and giving in to its every demand.
Then the mind, thus influenced turns the soul to carnality and together they work to suppress the spirit.
The spirit rebels against God the Holy Spirit and rejects God the Father and His authority. A person so deceived is influenced by his Creator only a little or not at all.
Making The Choice
How we live shows which hierarchy we submit to. The “default setting” is to live under Satan’s deception. In order to live in God’s design, we must consciously and actively choose to submit to Him, and this prayer is an example of how that might look.
In the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Friend, my spirit submits to You, Holy Spirit and God of the universe. My mind now submits to my spirit because Jesus has set me free to choose to live this way. Now my mind commands my body to rule over my world. Satan has no authority over me, but I have authority over him because of the blood of Jesus. You tell me that the Spirit of Truth will guide me into all Truth (John 16:13), so I believe that I have all the truth I need for today. Amen.