The apostle Paul was a unique person in many respects. But he was not so uncommon with regard to his struggle with sin. The war Paul fought against sin and temptation was waged on the very same battlefield upon which you and I fight every moment of every day—our mind. It is against the backdrop of this ever-present reality that I am reminded of this encouraging yet sobering admonition by John MacArthur who, in The Gospel According to Paul, says: “As believers, we wage continual war against sin, always seeking to mortify it, never to dance with it.”
If I were to ask you where does Jesus rank among your daily priorities, how would you respond? Would your first impulse be to give a “spiritual” answer—that is, to say what you think you’re supposed to say as a Christian—or would you reply with what you know in your heart to be true?
These questions aren’t in any way meant to be presumptive or accusatory. Not at all. The truth is none of us, including yours truly, consistently gives Christ the rightful place He deserves in our life. In fact, if we were honest, most of us would have to admit that we are so preoccupied with worldly attentions and concerns that thoughts of God rarely cross our minds—until we need Him (Matt. 15:8).
It was several years ago that a former pastor of mine said something that I remember to this day, and hope hereafter to call to mind, that the battlefield of Satan is the mind. I have since discovered in my own life how right he was—and still is.
It is through the mind that Satan attacks believers. Since the Garden of Eden his modus operandi—that we exchange the truth of God for a lie—has not changed nor wavered. And why should it since it has served him so well for so long? As Jonathan Edwards said, “The devil can counterfeit all the saving operations and graces of the Spirit of God.” Conversely, A.W. Pink said that, “Satan is not an initiator, but an imitator.”
It was on the battlefield of his mind that the apostle Paul, a man who, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God wrote nearly thirty percent of the New Testament, engaged in spiritual combat with the one who is the enemy of all believers in Christ.