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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Re-engaging the mind

Unprincipled really just says someone is lacking moral scruples.  Scruples are standards we live by - agreed upon as the "minimum set" of actions on one person's part which result in some type of restraint or inhibits some other form of action.  Is it safe to say that the "scruples" of our society have changed over the past twenty years?  I don't think anyone would disagree with this observation.  It would only take about one-half hour channel-surfing to get a flavor for how "low" the minimum set of actions has become.  We have housewives from somewhere out there acting like absolute terrors toward each other, their husbands, and their kids.  There are wives and husbands battling it out over how many photos she takes in a given day. Survivalists pit one against the other to get some coveted trophy and a little prize money, all the while changing up who they will "side" with based on who seems to be doing the best.  Divas galore flaunt their stuff and act like "unholy"-terrors on the big screen.  Sheesh - I wouldn't say these folks even have scruples anymore - I'd say it seems they live pretty "unprincipled" lives!

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.  (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 MSG)

Our writer puts it pretty well - it is indeed a dog-eat-dog world out there and that "world" is trying to make an inroad into our hearts and minds each and every day!  If we are to guard against this type of "principle-shift" or exchange of morals, we really need to understand how the enemy of our souls fights! To wage war without a game plan is to walk into the enemy's camp without armor, fully exposed, and as a sitting duck!  Let's examine exactly what we can see about our enemy's attacks and how we can combat them:

- First and foremost, the enemy of our souls doesn't "fight fair".  If any parent has ever had their child run home to them to report one of their friends for not being fair, you probably had to take a few moments to explain what "fair" really looks like, right?  In the eyes of the child who feels their friend is being "unfair", "fair" usually looks like getting their way, having the last cookie, or being the one to pick the games they play.  When these things don't happen, the child proclaims life as "unfair".  Oh that our battles were this easy to handle in our adult life!  The enemy of our souls has more than the last cookie on his mind - he has our soul on his mind!  He wants company in hell, and he isn't going to be content until he gets it!  "Fair" isn't one of his tactics - in fact, he uses "fair" as a means of getting some form of discontent stirred up in our minds and hearts so we will focus on how mistreated we are, or how "unfair" life has treated us.  "Fair" is the enemy to contentment - learn this and you might just get the upper hand on some of his greatest weapons of warfare!

- He uses warped philosophies to get at our minds.  Philosophies are really just a set of principles set forth which explain something.  There are moral philosophies which set forth standards of conduct.  Then there are natural philosophies which spend a lot of time showing the relationship between things in nature, such as gravity's force and the way it affects those under its influence.  Add to this the metaphysical philosophies out there and you get all manner of beliefs about human knowledge.  No wonder we get confused with some of the stuff going around!  The enemy of our souls takes all of these and meshes them together in order to muddle our thoughts, affect our actions, or lead us into inactivity simply because we are so confused.  The truth about warped philosophies is the fact there is always some "truth" in them!  When we add or take away anything from what is "true", we get a warped philosophy.  For example, if we know it is the colors of red and yellow mixed together which produce orange, to present anything other than this would be an outright misstatement of truth.  But...if we want to subtly change the "hue" of orange produced, we add in other colors such as brown and a little more yellow to produce the color we call gold.  It is still an orange base, but now it is called "gold".  Truth still exists, it is just "changed" to a different "hue" by the enemy of our souls.

- The enemy is a master at erecting barriers.  Nothing speaks more clearly of his involvement in our lives than to be moving in the right direction, evidenced by God's peace within, and then coming smack-dab into a mess of barriers which just seem to block us as we attempt to move forward.  His goal is to obstruct our progress, or keep us from accessing what it is which is just beyond the barrier.  They put guard-rails up on the sides of roads to keep the cars from careening off into the canyon below - so not every barrier is necessarily from him!  We have to become proficient at recognizing the ones God places for our safety and the ones he erects in an attempt to keep us from making progress - they are totally different!

- Lose thoughts, emotions, and impulsive behavior are his final set of tactics with which he seeks to add mayhem into our lives.  Let it be known, we all have the capacity to act a little impulsively at times.  One of the things which we often see when the brain has been impacted by a blood clot or an event which limited the blood-flow long enough is this lowering of "inhibitory" ability, causing the person to act quite "impulsively" at times.  Don't gloss over that one, friends - it is when the brain is NOT engaged as it should be that our inhibitions are lowered leading to the greatest opportunity for impulsive behavior!  Learning to re-engage the brain is the primary defense against this attack!

We don't fight "fair" in this battle because our enemy doesn't fight fair!  We fight from the vantage point of "victors" - we already know his game plan and we are miles ahead of him in countering his strategies, friends!  We don't need to fear his attacks - we just need to stand up to his unscrupulous dealings and put him in his place!  Just sayin!