We are tri-part creations: spirit, soul, and body. Trials can attack us at a couple of levels of life or they can attack us at all three levels. While the attack may come in one or more of the levels of our being, the battle is usually waged and, I might say – won or lost in the mind.
The mind is the center of reason. It is there that the devil attacks us with his messages of temptation, fear, and doubt. While lustful temptations may begin in another part of our being other than the mind, the decision to give in or stand is usually made in the mind.
I’m not saying that we win spiritual victories through “mind over matter”. The heart is the center of our affections. It is in the heart that we love or lust. Jesus seeks to be Lord over our heart because then, He is the Lord over our loves. By being Lord over our loves, He controls our behaviors. But, the data coming from these areas is all sifted through in the mind. The mind is the area in which we are aware of the battle for control.
The Bible tells us, that when in suffering, we must “gird up the loins of our mind”.
I bet you didn’t know that your mind had loins?
What does that mean?
anazṓnnymi (from /aná, “up to down” and /zṓnnymi, “gird, take out slack”) – properly, raise up a tunic (= “tighten the belt”), “girding oneself”; (figuratively) getting ready (prepared) to move quickly, i.e. where someone needs to go and arrive at without delay (used only in 1 Pet 1:13).
In Bible days, people wore tunics down to their feet. If they had to move fast, they pulled the tunic up and tucked it in their belt so that their clothing would not inhibit their movement.
This literally means that we need to take control over our minds. In a trial, thoughts will come from different directions: from God and from the flesh and the devil. We are to be prepared to move in the will of God and not allow ungodly thoughts to trip us up.
In regard to our thoughts, the Bible tells us to “be sober”. That means that we must be on guard for the illusions of sin and the irrationality that comes along with pain in the midst of trials. Sin calls to us as a way out of our pain. Irrationality lies to us about the motives of God, and the duration and hopelessness of our situation. It leads us away from the word of God to counterfeit solutions.
Our hope must be fully set upon the grace of God to be brought to us upon the revelation of Jesus Christ! When will He be revealed? He determines that. But, until then, I will rest in hope!
Painful trials cut a deeper pathway for a life of faith in God’s word. But, they also carry within them, due to our own lusts, the temptation to return to a life of conformity to our old, worldly ways. Trials are likened to a “wilderness” time in our lives.
The Characteristics of a Wilderness Time
- Sense of Lack
- Feelings of being “out of control”
These characteristics bring to the surface every strength and weakness we have! The wilderness “highlights” cravings. Whatever you crave for will be revealed in the wilderness!
God uses “wilderness” times or times of trial to bring about the outcome found in 1 Peter 1:22:
- Purification of the soul – death of controlling, sinful cravings.
- Lordship of the Spirit – obedience to the Word of God.
- Sincere love for God and others – the death of selfish motivations.
You could describe the sum of these changes in yourself as being “pure in heart”. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!
The product is holiness: a life that is not directed by corruptible influences but by the incorruptible word of God.
And, what endures forever?
The Word of God!
This means that we have moved from being “hearers of the word to being doers of the word”!
This entire process was aided by the use of trials!