The Loins of the Mind


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?

anaznnymi (from /aná, “up to down” and /znnymi, “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

  1. Sense of Lack
  2. Pain/Discomfort
  3. 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:

  1. Purification of the soul – death of controlling, sinful cravings.
  2. Lordship of the Spirit – obedience to the Word of God.
  3. 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!

Trials and Tribulations


You may be going through a hard time right now. You may be feeling as if you are going through a test and you are failing! If you are struggling in a hard time, I want to share some things that I hope will help. The Bible calls hard times “trials”.

First, let’s define what the Bible is talking about when it mentions a trial.

Trial – temptation or a test – similar to an experiment to determine the validity of something.

Now, there is a difference between the biblical definition of temptation and a test. In its truest sense, a temptation is when we are enticed by our own lust to do evil. Often, the instrument used to tempt us has been placed before us with evil intent.

Here is something to remember about temptation:

James 1:13-17: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. The when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

If you are being tempted to do evil, God is not doing the tempting. It is our own lust which is enticing us to do evil. No matter how beautiful or desirable the temptation is, if it is enticing us to do evil, it is not from God!

Trials are a different matter. The intent of a trial is to test the validity of our faith; and while doing so, purify and refine our faith. Just as gold is proved valid and purified by fire, so is our faith. Just as heat removes impurities from gold, so the pressure of a trial is intended to remove impurities from our lives.

That doesn’t mean that you may not experience temptation in your trial. The definition of a trial we just reviewed actually tells us that in some cases, both senses – temptation and testing can be present. But, if temptation arises in our trial, it is not originating from God, it is originating from our flesh. The trial is only revealing what is already present and the intent of the Holy Spirit is to destroy the evil in the fire of God!

Here are some other truths 1 Peter tells us about trials:

  1. Trials come in different forms.

In chapter one, verse six, it says that we go through “various trials”. Each trial is different but there is a purpose in every trial you face. Some trials come as a response to our faith in the form of persecution. We are persecuted because of our faith in Jesus. The trial that comes as a result of our faith in Jesus serves as a testimony to His glory. It confronts the world with His reality and lordship. These persecutions also serve as “focus events” in our lives: destroying all else but the desire for His will! They also are collecting for us great rewards in heaven!!

Some trials come as a result of adverse circumstances. Such trials also have within them the power to bring focus to our lives; to sharpen our intent to live for Jesus no matter what comes our way. Trials of circumstance purify our lives and sharpen our faith.

  1. Trials come as needed.

Verse six also says that we go through trials “if need be”. Remember, there is a purpose in each trial you face. Things are not happening to you “haphazardly”. God is in control of your life. God’s intent is for you to be strengthened by what you go through. Trials have no other purpose than to strengthen and purify us and to bring glory to Jesus!

  1. Trials are painful.

Verse six also says that trials can bring us grief. Fire is hot, is it not? If you touch fire, does it burn you? Does fire have a purpose? Yes, it does! Submission is recognized in our lives as genuine when we face suffering and pain in the knowledge that God is in control of what is happening to us. We hate pain, yet pain is a great refiner and a great tool of focus. We try to avoid pain at all costs. The avoidance of all pain in life seems like a lofty goal, but is a fool’s goal to turn life into something it is not. The desire to avoid all pain will also lead us to the avoidance of all that can grow us and the avoidance of that which exalts God. God uses both good and bad in our lives to bring what is good for us to us. This is not popular preaching but it is real and mature. We live in the presence of imperfection and the flesh and the devil, so pain is inevitable. God, use it to bring glory to you!

  1. Trials have a time limit.

No trial lasts forever. I repeat: no trial lasts forever. Even if you have some type of handicap, that will disappear in the light of the glory of God! Trials last for “a little while”. We cannot sell out eternity and the blessings of God for the temporary. Get it in your mind: there will come a day that what you are going through will be over! If you don’t have a vision of the future, you will sell out the present! God has His hand on the time limit of your trial! Trust His timing!

  1. Trials test the genuineness of your faith.

How do you know something is real? You test it. How do you know something is operating according to design? You test it. How do we know our faith is founded on Jesus alone? It is tested.

  1. Trials deliver the soul.

In the presence of the fire of your trial, every love, every leaning toward a certain response, every bad attitude, every excuse, every lie, everything that you have a tendency to lean on and depend on other than Jesus, will be exposed and burned off of you. Deliverance comes in different forms, but this is one form which God does use in our lives. When your trial is over, the goal is for you to be more like Christ!

The Bible gives us this perspective on trials:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Can you see Jesus with you? He’s there so don’t give up! Your hurt is not being wasted. His love cannot allow it. This too will pass and when it does, you will rewarded for your faithfulness and trust in God!

 

 

I Love That Guy!


So many people seem to be able to relate to the apostle Peter. His zeal for Jesus coupled with his failures at critical times make him a beloved figure in the Bible. Everyone has experienced the “high” of Peter’s passion and the “low” of his failures making him someone who we can easily empathize with.

 

One of the things that Peter speaks about we have all experienced in life: suffering.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7

Suffering and persecution can cause either growth or bitterness. The response of the individual determines the result. Since no one  is exempt from suffering or persecution, it is important for us to learn how to successfully navigate these realities. Successful navigation of suffering and persecution is the primary lesson of First Peter.

Peter begins his letter by pointing out a reality as powerful as the certainty of persecution. The reality he speaks of is important to the navigation of suffering.

First, he reminds the believers that:

  1. They are equipped to handle anything they face.

The trials of the present or those in the future have already been seen by the foreknowledge of God. Nothing catches Him off guard. God is not making plans “on the fly” but has a plan for (let’s make this personal) you that is from all eternity. God has seen every move by the enemy in advance and has already prepared His move that brings about “checkmate”. You are the elect of God. That means you are chosen for this moment. You are chosen to overcome this moment, not to be defeated by your sufferings. You have been born again which means every aspect of your character that would spell defeat for you has been broken off of you and you are being sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus. The very aspects of Jesus that brought Him through His time of trial victoriously are being worked into you at this very moment! You are covered by, washed in, and regenerated by the blood of Jesus! You are not facing what you are going through as “Parkey Cobern: sometimes ok and sometimes not”, you are going through this as a regenerated child of God under the authority of the Spirit with goodness and mercy running right beside you! You have died to what defeats you and are alive to the power of God!

  1. They are guaranteed to win!

Let’s make this personal again: Peter reminds us that we have an inheritance reserved in heaven for us that cannot be messed up by Satan or you: an inheritance that cannot lose its value over time, like some 401K weakened by bad circumstances, nor is can it just disappear on you like some of the people and things you value in life. Your victory and the accompanying spoils are kept in heaven for you, guarded by a God who has already kicked the devil out of heaven with no chance of his interference in the future!

To overcome whatever you are facing, it is essential that you remember that your victory is assured!!!!!

  1. God, not the devil is in control of how “hot” things get!

To successfully navigate persecution and suffering, you must realize that God, not the devil is in control of how “hot” things get in your life! If you believe Satan is controlling things, then you will get discouraged because you know how full of hate he is. But, if you know that God is in control of your trial, then you realize that love is actually controlling your fate and that the trial is destined, not for your destruction but to work toward your growth and the promotion of God’s glory!

Verse 5 tell us that we are “kept” by the power of God through faith for salvation to be revealed. This is an important statement. The word “kept” means that we have a military like guard around us which has been authorized to use whatever force that is necessary to ensure that the will of God is done in our lives! Do you see them? They are present and will fulfill their mission!

Verse 5 also states that our faith in God is assuring an outcome for us known as salvation. The word “salvation” means deliverance! The outcome of your situation is deliverance!

Another truth of verse 5 is that this deliverance is destined to be revealed! So, when you put this all together, you know that:

I’m equipped to handle anything I face!

My victory is guaranteed and reserved for me!

God, not the devil is in control of what is happening to me!

I am guarded by angels authorized to use whatever force necessary to fulfill the will of God!

Deliverance is my destiny!

In the perfect time, I will see the manifestation!

 

The Secret to Winning in Every Occassion


It is humbling to write something that can be read by the general public.

You know why?

Because you just don’t know what people are going through!

Even though the title of this blog may seem overly simplistic, my desire is not to put forth trite, condescending answers to complex issues. I never want people to feel like their feelings are not validated and I don’t want people to think that their experiences are not important. As someone who has gone through hopeless and dark situations, I feel greatly for those who are in such places today.

Let me share with you a scripture that gives me the confidence to give this blog the title I’ve given it today:

Hebrews 4:15-16 – “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In my own times of intense struggle, I had a revelation come to me that, at first, helped me to hang on and later, empowered me to overcome what I was facing. This revelation is encapsulated in the scripture from Hebrews and elaborated upon in chapters six and seven of Romans.

In this scripture, I learned the following truths:

Jesus has been right where I am now.

The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus was in all points tempted as we are. Therefore, He does not condemn us for what we are going through. This is a wonderful truth to know when you are going through something that is powerfully complex or strange to the outsider. No matter where you are right now, your trial is not as strange as you think.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

What a wonderful word when you are struggling!

This is saying that the core problem I’m facing is a common occurrence; not something unique and “weird”. This knowledge helps me to know that I’m not alone in my struggle. Others have been and currently are in the same place I’m in today. But, most importantly, Jesus has been where I’m at and He is sympathizing with me!

Jesus overcame what I am experiencing.

Jesus went through and came out of what I’m going through!

How?

Through the power of the Holy Spirit!

The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you and that Spirit will give life to your mortal body through His Spirit (Romans 8:11). According to Romans six, you are dead to the temptations of the world and alive to Christ in God. This helped me so much when I embraced it. The part of me that is addicted, hopelessly depressed, suicidal, etc., is dead and in the grave through my baptism into His death. The life I now live is a new life lived in the Spirit of God! (Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

I now refuse to accommodate lies that say anything to the contrary and I refer all such discussion regarding my status to Jesus! Patterns of unhealthy thinking can be broken, but you have to have a basis of truth to change them. The fact that you are alive in Christ is the truth you need to be free from your situation!

At Christ’s throne, I find the mercy and grace I need to overcome.

God has invited us to partake from the authority of His love and His power. The authority of His love means that all other opinions regarding who you are as a person are not valid before His throne.

Romans 8:33-34 – “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns?”

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, sin is separated from your life and no longer identifies you. Your identity is found in Christ’s love for you. No other voice is higher in authority than His.

Grace is a great word that means “power”. God is handing out power today to those who need it to be free. Step forward and take what He desires for you to have! You are alive in Christ by His Spirit. His Spirit is not addicted or depressed or hopeless and neither are you!

One final note about 1 Corinthians 10:13:

Jesus provides a way out that begins with Him.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). But, He also makes a way in the wilderness that leads you out (Isaiah 43:19). If He shows you that you need to do something to help bring His purposes to pass in your life; such as get into godly counseling or go to a doctor, etc., then do it! Don’t waste time arguing with God! You won’t win that argument! If He is telling you to do something, it is because that step is essential to your healing and deliverance.

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

Trust Him! He knows what He is doing!

You are loved and valued by heaven and on earth! Receive the love that God has for you by incorporating these truths. You are not destined for destruction but to overcome in the Name of Jesus!

I speak life over you and bind the spirit of death in the Name of Jesus!