KEY TEXT: Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
KEY THOT: To have victory over evil, we must guard our spirit, our heart and our mind. Paul prescribes three disciplines that will always keep our spirits, hearts and minds and in Christ Jesus. When we do that, we release the mind or attitude of Christ within us that is always positive and victorious. Paul's prescription is simple: to guard our spirit, rejoice; to guard our heart, pray and petition with thanksgiving; to guard our mind, think positive thoughts. If we guard these three areas of our lives--our spirit, heart and mind--we will be able to overcome every trial and temptation that the devil puts in our way.
Rejoicing is a discipline of our spirit, not our emotions. Our emotions follow our volition. As is often said, happiness depends on happenings, but joy comes from staying in God's presence: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11). Keeping our hearts and minds focused on Christ Jesus throughout the day will give us reason to rejoice, whatever may be our circumstances. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!
Secondly, to guard our heart from being gripped by fear and anxiety, we need to turn every challenge we face daily into prayer and petition with thanksgiving. The moment the problem arises, make this your prayer item: "Thank you Lord for this challenge. I commit it into Your hand and ask You to grant me Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation to deal with it now! In Jesus' name, Amen." Then listen to the Spirit's voice as He guides you in resolving the crisis. He can do all things and nothing is impossible with God.
Thirdly, to guard our mind from turning toxic, we need to reject negative and toxic thoughts that the devil puts in our mind. Instead, we choose to focus our mind on all things that are "true, ...honorable, ...just, ...pure, ...lovely, ...commendable, ...worthy of praise" (v.8). Instead of focusing on our problems, we should focus on thanking God for all His blessings that are already ours in Christ. This habit of rejecting negative thoughts and not allowing them to take root will ensure that we are not defeated in the battle of the mind. In most instances, we lose the battle here. So we must guard this area of thinking. One way beside reading the Bible is reading Christian books that are uplifting and inspirational. Don't just read dry stuff--focus on gaining life, not just knowledge.
When we have three areas of our lives guarded (spirit, heart and mind), we will have adopted the mind of Christ to defeat the devil and his darts thrown in our way.
Abba-Father, thank You for the spiritual armour You have given us to protect us from the devil's fiery darts. May this armour be energized through our prayer in the Spirit. Amen.