SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Part 1

The Lord has burdened me (Jeff) to address something that many Christians are either unaware of or simply do not wish to acknowledge. It has to do with spiritual warfare – the conflict in the spiritual realm that impacts the physical realm.

For years I have battled trauma-based problems that have nearly destroyed my marriage, my family, and even my own life. I have spent thousands of dollars to receive treatment from various reputable counselors and recovery programs to find freedom from these problems that have controlled me. While I found these people and programs to be somewhat helpful, I remained stuck with these problems that were controlling my life, and thus, I was losing hope fast. That is, until I went to Biblical Restoration Ministries (BRM) in Sioux City, Iowa, over a month ago.

At BRM, I discovered that the primary roots of my problems were spiritual rather than emotional, psychological, or physical. I feel embarrassed to even say that because here I am a former pastor and missionary who failed to take my own advice that I had given to many Christians during thirty-two years of vocational ministry. I also discovered at BRM that my problems were not unique to me. There are thousands of Christians who have similar battles as I do. Why is this?       

Because every born-again Christian is a target for our enemy. Unlike the good news of Jesus’ love for us and His terrific plan for our lives, the bad news is that the Devil hates each of us and has a terrible plan for our lives. Satan’s plan can be summarized in John 10:10a: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” Let’s look at each part of Satan’s plan:

“to steal” – Satan wants to rob Christians of the eternal significance of their lives. He wants us to get so focused on our problems and circumstances that we will never reach out to Jesus or to other believers who can help us. That way, we are no threat to the Devil. Our enemy wants to steal the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in our lives. That is why every attack of the enemy is designed to get our eyes off Jesus (cf. Heb. 12:2) and onto ourselves and our problems. [1]

One of the common ways Satan attacks Christians in this area is to steal their assurance of salvation. Since the Devil knows that eternal life is free (John 4:10; cf. Rom. 6:23a; Ephes. 2:8-9) and can never be lost once we receive it by faith alone in Jesus alone (John 6:35-40; 10:28-29; Rom. 8:31-39; Ephes. 1:13-14), he will try to steal our assurance of salvation. He will seek to convince us that no true child of God would have the kinds of sinful thoughts, feelings, or actions that we may struggle with.

If he can deceive us into thinking we have lost our salvation or we were never saved to begin with, then we will be more inclined to think and act like a non-Christian instead of the true child of God we are by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. Satan knows that if he can successfully attack our identity in Christ, he has won a significant battle. He understands that we act in the way we perceive ourselves to be (cf. Prov. 23:7a). So, if we perceive ourselves to have lost our salvation or never had it to begin with, we will think and act more like a non-Christian thinks and acts.

“to kill” – The second part of Satan’s plan is to “kill” the Christian. But he cannot do that without God’s permission, so the Devil will tell the Christian to do it for him. Our enemy will try to convince children of God that the only way out of their life-controlling problems is to take their own life. Suicide is not just a non-Christian problem. Christians can also struggle with thoughts of suicide because they have lost hope, and some have even successfully taken their own lives.

The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention reports that suicide rates increased approximately 36% between 2000–2021. Suicide was responsible for 48,183 deaths in 2021, which was about one death every 11 minutes. [2] The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher. In 2021, an estimated 12.3 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million planned a suicide attempt, and 1.7 million attempted suicides. [3]
Suicide affects people of all ages. In 2021, suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for people ages 10-64. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 20-34. [4] It would be naïve for us to think that none of those statistics included Christians. [5]

Logan writes about Christians who struggle with suicidal thoughts, “‘I might as well end it all,’ they reason. Others think, ‘My situation is hopeless; I might as well give up and divorce my wife.’ And some believe, ‘Oh, I’m just born that way. I’ve got bad genes, or a physical problem.’ Each abandons hope he or she can be useful to God; they move to the sidelines as injured servants of God.” [6]

“to destroy” – The enemy wants to destroy our relationships especially with other Christians because he knows that believers who live in unity with one another provide an excellent expression of the image of God for a watching world to observe.

The apostle Paul writes to Christians in the city of Ephesus,  25 Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.” (Ephes. 4:25-27). Christians are to speak “truth” to one another (Ephes. 4:25) in love (Ephes. 4:15) because God’s “truth” is what sets us free from Satan’s lies (cf. John 8:31-36, 44). However, hearing the truth from another believer can sometimes be hurtful.

Hence, God instructs us in those instances to “be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” (Ephes. 4:26). The feeling of anger is not wrong in and of itself. Even God feels anger (cf. Exod. 4:14; Num. 11:10; Deut. 7:4; Mark 3:5; John 2:13-16; 3:36; Rom. 1:18; 12:19; Col. 3:6; Heb. 3:11; 4:3; Rev. 6:16; 19:15; et. al). Why is it important to resolve our anger before we go to bed? Because unresolved anger gives “place to the devil” (Ephes. 4:27).

The Greek word for “place” (topos) can mean “an inhabited place, a favorable circumstance for doing something, an opportunity.” [7]  When believers let their anger control them instead of taking control of their anger, bitterness and resentment can set in and give the devil a “chance” or “opportunity” to exert his influence [8] and create division among God’s people.

Let’s remember that the apostle Paul is writing to Christians at Ephesus whom he calls saints (Ephes. 1:1), who are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephes. 1:3), including their redemption in Christ and their forgiveness (Ephes. 1:7), their salvation from hell (Ephes. 1:13a), and the seal of the Holy Spirit which guarantees their safe and secure delivery to heaven in the future (Ephes. 13b-14). Yet the apostle also teaches that Satan can influence these believers who are destined for heaven.

The key word is “influence.” You may ask, “Can a Christian be demon-possessed?”  There is much debate among Christians about this topic. The word “demon-possessed” itself causes a lot of confusion.

Tim Warner says, “We obtain our English word ‘demon’ by transliterating the Greek word daimon. We should have done the same with the Greek word daimonizomai – a verb form of the same Greek root. It would then come into English as ‘demonize’ and we could then speak of the degree to which a person could be demonized rather than being limited to the either-or options imposed by the possessed-not possessed view.”[9]

Warner concludes, “Spiritual ‘possession’ clearly implies ownership and would seem to include the control of one’s eternal destiny. [It] would be impossible to be owned and controlled by Satan and have a saving relationship with Christ at the same time. So, if the question is, ‘Can a Christian be demon-possessed?’, the answer is clearly no.”[10] [emphasis added]

The apostle Paul already taught that those who “heard” and “believed” the gospel “were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephes. 1:13-14). The word “sealed” (sphragizō) was used in the ancient world to refer to a legal signature which guaranteed the promise or contents of what was sealed. It signifies ownership and security caused by the backing of the owner. [11]

“In Ephesians 1:13-14, we are told that the Holy Spirit Himself is the seal. He is impressed upon us, so to speak. His presence in our lives is thus a guarantee of God’s protection and that we are owned by God. A broken seal was an indication that the person had not been protected. The Holy Spirit cannot be broken. He is the seal of ownership. In Ephesians 4:30, we are told that we are sealed unto the day of redemption. This sealing ministry of the Spirit is forever and guarantees that we will arrive safely for the redemption of our bodies and entrance into heaven (Romans 8:23). He is the seal that we are now owned and protected by God until the day of redemption.” [12] [emphasis added]

The word “guarantee” (arrabōn) was a regular feature of the Greek business world. The “arrabōn” was a part of the purchase price of anything paid in advance as a guarantee that the rest of the price should in due time be paid. [13] The seal of the Holy Spirit guarantees that the remainder of our “inheritance” blessings will eventually be given to us. The primary aspect of our inheritance involves life in heaven with the Lord Jesus.

Registered mail is a good example of the seal of the Holy Spirit. When something is registered at the post office it is sealed until delivered. Only two persons can open registered mail – the sender (if it is delivered back to him) and the recipient. When we believe in Christ for eternal life, we are sealed by God the Holy Spirit until we go to heaven. God is the One who sends us on our way to heaven, and God in heaven is the Recipient on our arrival. There is no power greater than God who can break the Holy Spirit’s seal. Only God can break this seal and He promises not to do so “until the redemption of the purchased possession” which is when the Christian is delivered safely and securely to God in heaven.   

I love the way Tony Evans describes this: “When you believe in Christ as your Savior, God puts you inside an envelope called Christ. You are ‘in Christ.’ But God also guarantees delivery. He registers the letter and seals it with the Holy Spirit – indicating that He is its owner and the only One qualified to open it.

“Paul also says the Holy Spirit is God’s pledge to us – the down payment of our inheritance (1:14), the guarantee that God will do for us everything He promised for His children. Like an engagement ring, the Holy Spirit is like a down payment on an eternal commitment. The Spirit is a heavenly first installment given in anticipation of eternal life, a life that is eternally secure. He’s a foretaste of what’s ahead.” [14] [emphasis added]

The Bible clearly tells us Jesus Christ bought or redeemed us at the cost of His own blood (Ephes. 1:7), and therefore, we are forever owned by Jesus (I Cor. 6:19; Ephes. 1:13-14). Nowhere in the Bible are we told that Jesus sold us to the Devil. Satan does not own a Christian nor control his or her eternal destiny. Jesus does.

But to what degree can the Devil and his demonic armies influence believers in Jesus? The kingdom of darkness can only influence Christians “to the extent that we allow them to do so… The act of giving or allowing Satan to take any amount of control in our life is referred to as ‘giving ground.’” [15]

If we hold on to sin in our lives and do not deal with it in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are giving the enemy an entrance into our lives. This is the idea Paul presented in  Ephesians 4:26-27 when he said that unresolved anger gives place or opportunity to the devil. So as believers in Jesus, we can give ground to Satan. He cannot take it in our lives without our cooperation and permission. All he can do is influence us: plant evil thoughts, make suggestions, or place temptations in our path. [16]

Satan wants to gain ground in our Christian lives so he can use it on which to build his “strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4) of lies which will begin to undermine our relationship with and testimony for Jesus. A stronghold can be defined“as a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes me to accept as unchangeable something that we know is contrary to the will of God.”  [17]

This does not mean that every time a Christian sins, he is giving Satan ground on which to build a towering fortress of lies. No, we give the Devil ground when we refuse to let go of our sin, confess it, and forsake it (Prov. 28:13). This is made clear in Ephesians 4:26-27. It is not one moment of anger that gives Satan ground on which to build a stronghold. It is anger that is stored up, nurtured, and allowed to develop into bitterness and the other terrible things the apostle Paul describes in Ephesians 4:31. Hence, Satan can turn an act of sin into a regular practice of sin, and from there it degenerates into a habit which leads down into bondage where the believer is “caught in the cords of his sin” (Prov. 5:22). [18]

Logan explains it this way: Giving ground is like giving Satan the land and the ‘building permit,’ the permission he needs to erect his stronghold. All he has to do then is start digging the foundation.”

Satan’s strongholds are built upon the foundation of lies. Satan is “a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44). Since the Devil was stripped of his power at the cross of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:13-15; Heb. 2:14-15), his only power now is in the lie. He uses deception to get our eyes off the Lord Jesus and on to our circumstances and problems.

The past several years I had gone down this path of destruction. I gave Satan ground in my life where he built strongholds that nearly destroyed my life. But God in His great mercy and grace intervened and is bringing me out of this spiritual bondage. Next time, Lord willing, I will share with you what I am learning from Jesus through BRM concerning the biblical process for finding freedom in Christ that delivers us from spiritual bondage.

FOOTNOTES: 

[1] Jim Logan, Reclaiming Surrendered Ground (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pg. 27.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics System, Mortality 2018-2021 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released in 2023. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 2018-2021, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10-expanded.html on Jan 11, 2023.

[3] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2022). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP22-07-01-005, NSDUH Series H-57). Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2021-nsduh-annual-national-report.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics System, Mortality 2018-2021 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released in 2023. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 2018-2021, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10-expanded.html on Jan 11, 2023.

[5] See Corey Widmer’s September 27, 2023, Christianity Today article entitled, “Our Church Lost Three Men to Suicide in Two Years,” at https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2023/september-web-only/suicide-stats-christian-church-community-pastor-resources.html

[6] Logan, Reclaiming Surrendered Ground, pg. 27.

[7] Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: Third Edition revised and edited by Frederick William Danker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000 Kindle Edition), pp. 1011-1012.

[8] Ibid., pg. 1012.

[9] Logan, Reclaiming Surrendered Ground, pg. 32 cites Timothy Warner, Spiritual Warfare (Wheaton, ILL: Crossway, 1991), pg. 79.

[10] Ibid., cites Warner, Spiritual Warfare, pg. 80.

[11] Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pg. 980.

[12] Joseph Dillow, Final Destiny: The Future Reign of The Servant Kings: Fourth Revised Edition (Grace Theology Press, 2018 Kindle Edition), pg. 756.

[13] Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pg. 134.

[14] Tony Evans, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary, 2019 Kindle Edition, pg. 2635.

[15] Logan, Reclaiming Surrendered Ground, pg. 33 cites Scott Moreau, The World of Spirits (Nairobi, Kenya: Evangel Publishers, 1990), pg. 90.

[16] Ibid., pg. 35.

[17] Ibid., pg. 34 cites Ed Silvoso, “How to Reach Our Cities for Christ” videocassette (Oak Brook, ILL: Institute in Basic Life Principles, 1992).

[18] Adapted from Ibid., pg. 36.

How can I know God is for me when all this bad stuff is happening?

As conditions worsen with regard to the coronavirus, many people are panicking. In large part, it seems to me that the media is highly responsible for a lot of fear-based decision making. God does not want His children to be driven by fear. He wants us to be driven by faith (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:7). With so many negative reports in the news today, it is challenging to maintain a life of faith. We may succumb to this bombardment of sensationalism and begin to doubt if God is really on our side. A lie that the enemy likes to whisper in a Christian’s ear when bad things are happening is, “God is against you.” Do you ever have thoughts like that? I certainly do.

The truth God has given us to combat this lie is found in Romans 8:31 where the apostle Paul writes: ““If God is for us [and He is], who can be against us” (8:31)? When we think someone is against us, God says, “Since I am for you (and no one is greater than Me), no one can successfully oppose you!” This includes the coronavirus, those in authority over us, family, friends, and even the devil and his demonic armies. As a preacher once said, “One plus God is  always a majority.” Does it always feel this way? No. But our feelings do not always tell the truth.

You may respond, “But God, how do I know You are for me?” Paul writes, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (8:32)? When we were enemies of God, He gave us His own Son to die in our place (Romans 5:6-8). If God gave us His best when we were at our worst, how much more will He give us now that we are His beloved children!?!

God the Holy Spirit wants to apply these truths beyond our thoughts to the depths of our soul and spirit so that even when bad and painful things happen to us, we will still know deep down inside that God is for us. He is on our side. God is our biggest fan despite what we hear from our antagonists, including our own flesh. Therefore, there is no longer any reason to live in fear.

How do we replace this lie (and others) with God’s truth? Second Corinthians 10:3-5 instructs us. First, we must rely on God’s power, not our own. This battle for our minds is not “according to the flesh” (10:3). Nothing in our own flesh will help us to live victoriously or draw us closer to the Lord. Since the weapons of our warfare are “mighty in God,” then we must rely  upon the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome Satan’s lies (10:4).

Second, recognize the erroneous thought. This battle is located in our minds because it involves “strongholds,” “arguments,” “knowledge,” and “every thought” (10:4-5). The word “strongholds” pictures a fortress with high walls and towers surrounded by a moat. God says these strongholds must be destroyed which means that God did not build them. A “stronghold” then, is a negative, destructive pattern of thinking that Satan has built in our minds through repetition, trauma, or circumstances. Satan does not put thoughts in our minds. He uses other people’s voices to insert thoughts in our mind. Ungodly thoughts come from us. Christ lives inside us and He does not give us these ungodly thoughts (Galatians 2:20). We will not get very far in this battle for our minds until we acknowledge these satanic strongholds.

Third, release the lie. “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (10:5a). Dismiss the lie and say, This is not true, therefore, it is a lie and I am not going to pay attention to this. I am not going to entertain these thoughts that say God is against me.”

Fourth, reprogram your mind with the truth, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (10:5b). How do we bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ? Jesus told us: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The devil is a liar by nature and he cannot handle the truth (John 6:44). This is why the devil tries to distract us from the truth so that it never gets deep down into the areas where he has a stronghold in our lives.

Persevere in this truth: “God is for me and not against me. The proof? He gave me His best on the cross when I was at my worst.” Review this truth daily. Say it out loud. Find a picture or image that represents this truth and review it throughout the day. This will help download the truth of God’s Word into your right brain where lies are attached to wounds from your past.

Neuroscience teaches us that it takes 2-5 years to develop new neurological pathways in our brain that contain the truth. So keep telling yourself the truth even when you don’t feel like it or see it so you can create and strengthen the new pathway in your brain. Our bodies create new brain cells the more we tell ourselves the truth. The more we tell ourselves the truth, the stronger the pathway becomes between brain cells. When we ignore the lie, the old pathway weakens – those brain cells containing Satan’s lies have less power and strength. You can continue to create new brain cells throughout your life by speaking the truth to yourself. When Paul said, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2), perhaps he not only had a spiritual transformation in mind, but a physiological transformation in mind as well.

Prayer: Father God, by Your Spirit, please heal my soul of the wound that has the lie attached to it that says, “You are against me.” I cannot heal this wound myself. No doctor, pastor, or therapist can heal me. Only You, Lord God, can heal me. I will need Your grace to replace this lie with Your truth that says, “You are for me. And since no one is greater than You, no one can successfully oppose me.” When I doubt that You are for me, please remind me of the cross that says You gave me Your best when I was at my worst. And since You gave Your best to me when I was at my worst, how much more will You give me through Your Son Jesus now that I am Your beloved child through faith in Him!?! Thank You that I no longer need to live in fear. I can awaken each morning expectant of Your best for me through the Lord Jesus Christ. In His name I pray. Amen.

How can We Overcome Satan’s Lies?

The Bible tells us that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). His goal is to make believers focus on their sin and shame so they will forget their true identity in Christ and behave in a way that is inconsistent with who they really are. As a deceiver Satan seeks to trick believers into believing his lies in order to rob them of the abundant life that Christ wants them to have. But God has provided a way for His children to overcome Satan’s lies. 

 “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”   2 Corinthians 10:3-5

1. Realize you cannot overcome Satan’s lies in your own strength. This battle is not “according to the flesh (v. 3). Nothing in our own flesh will help us to live victoriously or draw us closer to the Lord. Since the weapons of our warfare are “mighty in God,” then we must rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome Satan’s lies (v. 4).

2. Recognize the erroneous thoughts.This battle is located in our minds because it involves “strongholds,” “arguments,” “knowledge,” and “every thought” (vv. 4-5). The word “strongholds” pictures a fortress with high walls and towers surrounded by a moat. God says these strongholds must be destroyed which means that God did not build them. A “stronghold” then, is a negative, destructive pattern of thinking that Satan has built in our minds through repetition, trauma, or circumstances. Satan does not put thoughts in our minds. He uses other people’s voices to insert thoughts in our mind. Ungodly thoughts come from us. Christ lives inside us and He does not give us these ungodly thoughts. We will not get very far in this battle for our minds until we acknowledge these satanic strongholds. 

For example, a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol has believed Satan’s lie that he is a drug addict or an alcoholic by nature and will never be anything else. When a person begins to believe that lie, he will act in a way that is consistent with who he believes he is. Often times Satan uses hopelessness to build his strongholds in our minds. When you come to the point of believing the battle is hopeless, you will stop trying to overcome the wrong way of thinking. But as long as you believe there is hope to overcome the stronghold in your mind, you will keep fighting to overcome it. 

You can tell when an individual is being ruled by a satanic stronghold. He or she says things like, “I can’t help myself,” “It’s not my fault,” “I was born this way,” “I’m just a victim,” or “This is hopeless.” When these intrusive thoughts occur acknowledge them and say, “This is what I am telling myself and I do not need these thoughts.”

3. Release the lie.“casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (v. 5a). Dismiss the lie and say, “This is not true, therefore, it is a lie and I am not going to pay attention to this. I am not going to entertain these thoughts.” 

4. Reprogram your mind with the truth.“bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”(v. 5b). How do we bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ? Jesus told us: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The devil is a liar by nature and he cannot handle the truth. This is why the devil tries to distract us from the truth so that it never gets deep down into the areas where he has a stronghold in our lives. True reality for us is located in the heavenly places, not on the earth. This is why the Bible says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). 

The solution to our problems is not on this earth, but in heaven. Once we change the location of our thinking from earth to heaven, we will start experiencing freedom from Satan’s lies which have enslaved us to sin.

For example, you may battle a lie that says, “You are an angry person who cannot help exploding when someone crosses you.” The first thing you do is realize you cannot overcome this lie in your own strength. Ask the Lord to help you overcome this. Secondly, admit that you are struggling with this lie. Do not fight it or deny it. Acknowledge this stronghold in your life, and then release it. Tell your subconscious the truth, “This is not true, therefore, it is a lie and I am not going to pay attention to this.” Then reprogram your mind with the truth: “As a child of God I no longer have to be enslaved by my anger.”

Dr. Don Gilbert has observed that it takes six weeks to develop a new habit. But it takes three years for the brain to create a new pathway physiologically (see diagram above).  Old physiological pathways in our brain were established by childhood teachings. The more we told ourselves lies, the stronger the pathway became between brain cells. But, now as believers, we can block the old pathways by telling ourselves, “This is not true. I am not going to pay attention to these lies.” We can then build a new pathway by telling ourselves the truth. This process of building a new pathway in the brain takes about three years. So even if we do not believe or feel the truth, we are to keep persevering in the truth. Keep telling yourself the truth even when you don’t feel or see it so you can create and strengthen the new pathway in your brain. Our bodies create new brain cells the more we tell ourselves the truth. The more we tell ourselves the truth, the stronger the pathway becomes between brain cells. When we ignore the lie, the old pathway weakens – those brain cells containing Satan’s lies have less power and strength. You can continue to create new brain cells throughout your life by speaking the truth to yourself. When Paul said, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), perhaps he not only had a spiritual transformation in mind, but a physiological transformation in mind as well. 

Consider these observations:

1.  Christ spent over three years preparing His disciples to carry on His mission. 

2.  The Apostle Paul spent three years in Arabia and Damascus alone with the Lord before beginning his ministry (Galatians 1:17-18). 

3.  The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, reeducated Daniel and his friends for three years before they could serve in his kingdom (Daniel 1:4-5). 

Could it be that these observations confirm that it takes approximately three years to create new physiological pathways in the brain to replace deeply seeded patterns of thinking with new ones?

The church would be wise to train new believers for three years to overcome deeply ingrained lies so they can be all that God created them to be. Is it any wonder that Jesus says, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)?!!