Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

How to Take Control of Your Mind

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"...Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

God gave us a mind that can discern right from wrong, be receptive to Him in order to follow His plan, and be in the end like Him until we reach our goal that is to be with Him in heaven.

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off" (Psalm 139:1-2).

Many thoughts are invading our mind and occupying it. As a result these thoughts influence our life to better or worsen it. Our thoughts can affect the way we conduct ourselves and our actions. Therefore, if the thoughts we accumulate in our mind are garbage that comes from everyday living will eventually destroy ourselves. The opposite is also true; if the thoughts we accumulate in our mind are based on spiritual growth we will be gaining spiritual fruits and love and eventually will bring peace and joy to our hearts. You are what you live by!

Christians should be known by the way they conduct themselves and take control of their mind and actions.When we see the opposite occurring, we know that we are not following theteachings of Christ. For without everyday victory, we are living a lie and deceiving ourselves.

"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Satan cannot stand seeing the children of God walking in the steps of glory and following God’s plan. He is willing to do anything to keep us away from our Lord. He will use his entire weapon in order to defeat us and separate us from God. He will not stop until he weakens us. One of his weapons is the thoughts. By filling our minds with suspicions, anxiety, doubts, rebellion, and fears in order to change our behaviors and our actions and hold us in bondage.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;" (Philippians 4:6).

Without having an awareness of our bad behavior and our need of changing this behavior, overcoming our wrong attitude and actions will be difficult. For in order to renew our mind, we must go through steps of:

  • Understanding the problem we have
  • Wanting to change
  • Renewing our mind with God’s word
  • Praying diligently to overcome
  • Being aware that suffering can be part of the process to reach our goal
  • Waiting patiently on God
  • Praising the Lord for any good changes we have in our life

Why have suffering? Can God just take care of it when I call on Him?
Nothing happens over night. Everything good in life requires effort and patience. The farmer goes through time of thoughts and planning then he starts to plant, water, fertilize and patiently waits. Some trees takes over two to five years in order to bear fruits but requires lots of maintenance in order to bear healthy fruits such as trimming, protecting from cold, disease, and insects. This is the same when we encounter any type of tribulations or sufferings.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

Likewise when we invite God to help us look at the root of the problem and patiently take care of it. Suffering can be part of the cure in order to remove all obstacles in the way, strengthen us, and give us spiritual maturity to live a life full of fellowship with Him. Also suffering can come from the devil trying his hardest to stop us, weaken our spirit, and try to make us lose hope.

We need to remember that God is more mighty and powerful than the devil and the more we have knowledge about His word and abide in Him through repentance, communion, prayer and fasting, the more we can fight back.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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).

St. Moses the Strong is one of a remarkable examples of a man who lived most of his life as a slave to the devil and committed all sorts of evil such as killing and robbing in order to satisfy his personal desires. St. Moses worshiped the sun but he was never satisfied that this is the true God. So one day he asked if the true God can reveal Himself to him. When St. Moses heard of the monastery of Wadi-El-Natroun, he decided to go and see what they might offer him.

There he discovered the real God and was comforted by all the monks. There he learned the Christian faith and accepted our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and decided to be baptized. St. Moses’ life starts to take a different shape due to his eagerness to change his thoughts, attitude, and actions. Due to his old ways, the devil rushed to attack him with many weapons in hand. After many years of fighting with the devil, he was able to defeat him and to be blessed by God with many blessings. He became a very humble and meek monk and then became a priest. God allowed him to become a spiritual father to many monks. The Berbers entered the monastery and killed him with seven other brothers. He was martyred.

Nothing is ever impossible when you have God on your side. Never allow Satan to hold you in bondage and weaken your spirit. Take a mighty step to overcome any obstacle by calling on God to rescue you and strength you. Remind yourself of all the people who had overcome the devil and became godly.

May the Lord open our eyes to discover our weakness and to fight with prayer and supplications to overcome all obstacles that keep us away from Him.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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