The Stronghold of the Mind

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  10 : 3-5
Subject: Mind; Stronghold; Thinking; Victory over Evil; Christian Living; Satan

The Stronghold of the Mind

Dr. J. Mike Minnix

2 Corinthians 10:3-5“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 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…”

There is the story of a boxer who had been pummeled terribly by round five in a fight. His right eye was nearly closed from swelling and there was a cut over his left eye. His lip was split and his nose was broken. When round five ended, the bleeding boxer fell unto his stool in his corner. His trainer jumped into the ring, sponged him off with water and said, “Okay boy, you’re doing fine. The guy hasn’t laid a hand on you.” The boxer looked at his trainer with the one eye he could see through and said, “Well, if that other boxer hasn’t laid a hand on me, you better check that referee, because someone is beating the daylights out of me.”

It is important for us to be honest about our problems with sin. The devil is always trying to beat us up and we endanger ourselves when we don’t admit it. Our minds must be open to honesty before God, and that gives us the chance to gain the victory over the enemy. Denying what we are dealing with only deepens the hole into which we are sinking.

Tonight I am going to address the teaching found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. This concerns the arena of thought and knowledge. Satan used this type of attack when he led Eve and Adam to sin against God in the Garden of Eden. He persuaded Eve to eat the fruit with an argument - an arugment that appealed to her thinking processes, not just her natural desire for food. He first won the mind and then the taste buds followed. Paul tells us that this battle for the mind goes on in the lives of God's people even after they are saved. He informs us, however, that we can win this war because we have the right weapons to do so.

Now, let me give you some examples of how powerful the enemy is when it comes to creating thoughts that lead to death. Let’s consider for a moment the drug problem in America, and the world as well. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million Americans age 12 and over battled substance abuse in 2014.i The cost of this use of stimulants is estimated at $200 billion in healthcare costs, criminal justice, lost workplace production and legal expenses. With all the information that is available on the horrible results of using drugs, why does it still go on and seems to be getting worse? In 2019 we are told that 130 people die everyday in America due to an overdose of opiod drugs (National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This group reports that an increase in illicit drug use has risen up to 30% in some counties in America in just one year!

When I was a boy I remember seeing a photo in a newspaper. It stuck in my mind as strange and made no sense whatsoever intellectually. It was a photo in a bar in a major American city. Two or three men were sitting at the bar drinking. Lying on the floor behind them was a man with two police officers standing beside him. The article went on the say that the bar patrons continued to drink as officers prepared to remove the body of a man who had died while drinking at the bar. I was just a young person, perhaps twelve of thirteen when I saw that photo, but I wondered why somebody kept drinking in a place that apparently was leading to death.

Pornography, sexually transmitted diseases, the breakdown of the home, child abuse, anger and violence issues, and many other problems, plague our nation - and even the people in our churches.

The reason people do really stupid stuff is because the decision is not made by measuring facts but is made through the unseen arguments that go on deep within the mind. The arguments are represented by various voices. Parents, teachers, preachers, friends, and one’s own sinful nature get a word in the argument, but usually the voice that has the greatest potential for a decision is one’s own nature. Since we are all sinners, that gives sin the greatest chance of victory every time. There is, however, a way to win the war with the enemy of our souls and a way to pull down the strongholds the enemy has built up in our minds over time. That is what Paul is writing about in this passage.

Think with me about three things found in our scripture.

I. The Ground of this Battle

Where is the battle fought? Let’s consider three things about every battle for right and wrong that occurs:

i. Every war requires a battlefield.

There is a place where the fight takes place. There has never been a war without a pace to fight it. Right now, for example, the entire world is gearing up for a war in "space." The president of the USA has even decided to create a military department committed to our nation's safety that is devoted to war in space. The spiritual battle also must have a field on which it is fought.

ii. Every war concerns an argument of some kind.

There has never been a war without an arguement of somekind. Hitler argued that Germans were the elite people on earth and that the Aryan Race (Indo-European) was to rule the world. He was confronted by those who argued that he was a madman and that set up a war designed to stop his genocidal ambitions. The battle was fought all over the world.

iii. Every war involves a person or people.

Wars are fought by people. Yes, the spiritual war for hte mind is waged by forces on two sides. The war Paul spoke of in our passage for this evening involves a person or people, and it involves the human mind. You can say that ownership of the individual mind is a prize trophy for Satan in this ongoing conflict and war. He longs to take possession of your thinking, for that leads to everything you do.

So, what is that Satan wants to do with my mind and yours?

A. Capture

Satan wants to capture and take control of your thinking process. In every war there is a desire by each side to take territory and hold it. As I said, there is an ongoing race for control of space right now in the world. Basically, America, China and Russia are the major players in this increased aggressiveness in space. The spiritual battle is fought for the control of the human mind. Listen to what the Bible says about your mind:

Proverbs 23:7 states, “For as he (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he.”

The devil knows that what you think about is what you become. Your thoughts determine your actions, devotions and ambitions.

Jesus spoke very clearly about this fact in Mark 7:18-22, where he revealed that evil thoughts, murders, deceit, blasphemy and adulteries, among other sinful actions, come out of the heart – from the mind.

Though the devil and his minions may lead you to things done in the flesh that are evil and harmful to you and others, but the flesh is not where these evil things begin. It all starts in the mind, where we think and make decisions. Satan wants that high ground in this spiritual war.

But, he wants more than that. He desires …

B. Control

Remember, we are all sinners. Evil comes naturally to us because we were born in sin. So, Satan begins to work on us early and his desire is not to merely capture the mind but to have full and absolute control of it.

Think of a robotic device. If you have the master codes or the master control, you can make a robotic device do whatever you wish it to do. In fact, you can program it so that it does what you wish even if you are not there to watch it or personally control every action. Surely you have seen or perhaps you own one of those robotic vacuum machines. You can program the vacuum and it vacuums your house even when you are not home. After doing its work, it returns to the base and begins to recharge so it can serve you as its master the next time it is needed. That is what Satan wants in your life and mine. He desires to have absolute control, so that we will do exactly what he has programmed us to do at his command. Once he programs you in his ways, he doesn’t have to be present every moment to get you to follow his commands - he has programmed you to obey him.

Then, he obtains his ultimate goal …

C. Corruption

Satan will work so that He corrupts the mind to the point that an individual actually thinks his or her ungodly, immoral lifestyle is appropriate. We see that today in the way people speak and act in public. Their language and actions are atrocious, but they don't even blink as they act out in ways that are offensive to people around them. That is the devil's greatest victory - totally corruption of the human mind.

God desires for us to know Him and to walk in His light. He sent His Son to save us from the evil one, and Jesus died to make that possible. God knows that the sinful life is filled with hurt, pain, sorrow, guilt, and eventually death. The Lord desires for us to know life and that more abundantly. But, be sure that the enemy hates God and wants you on his side in this war. So he does two things.

1. He Blinds the Sinner

Satan takes over the mind and seeks in every way possible to blind you to the truth. Millions of people, even billions, walk in the darkness of Satanic visual impairment. Jesus is called the Light of the World, because He came to bring people out of the darkness and into the light.

The other day I saw a man on television who had surgery to correct the fact that he could not detect colors. Everthing in his world was completely black, white, and tones of gray. The video revealed the moment they removed his bandages and he opened his eyes to see colors for the first time. He open his eyes, looked around a moment and burst into tears. He threw his hands over his eyes and sobbed. His wife stood by him and cried with him. The colors of the world had been unavailable to him, and the newness of his vision had overcome his emotions. My friends, that is way one feels when Jesus opens your eyes to His love and grace for the first time. It is no wonder that those who accept Jesus break down in tears. Many people describe being saved as having their eyes opened. The world doesn't look the same. The colors of the grass and sky are more beautiful and glorious that ever before. Satan's desire is to keep people in blindness to the beauty of God's redemption and love.

Satan was so successful at one point in history to control the minds of mankind that we read the following in Genesis 6:5-6, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Did you notice that it was the "thoughts and intents" of the people that were so corrupted that God sent the flood of judgment on the earth.

Please note that Satan has been at this activity since the beginning and he knows every trick, scheme and method for corrupting the mind. His desire is to blind the lost person from ever embracing Christ as Lord and Savior.

Satan not only seeks to keep the lost in blindness …

2. He Deceives the Saved

Satan knows the power of a corrupted mind and so included in his battle plan is the attempt to mislead saved people into following the norms of their generation rather than believing and obeying what God has said in His Word. Note Matthew 22:37, where we read that Jesus said, “...You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Our Lord used the words, “…all your mind,” because He knew the danger that the believer faces as he or she seeks to faithfully live the Christian life. You can't just give part of your mind to the Lord. You must give your all to Him. One of the devil's great arguements is to convince the believer to segregate the spiritual life from the day-to-day life. In other words, go to church on Sunday but don't worry about that religous stuff all week. Sure, read your Sunday School lesson or the Bible once in a while, but don't take it too seriously. His claim is that faith is like every other part of life - you just give it a corner of your life or mind. He argues, "Come on, you don't watch football everyday - you just watch it on Saturday or Sunday - so, just treat your spiritual life the same way."

Today many people who claim faith in Christ have adopted many of the ideas about life from the world rather than from God's Word. Even though these ideas are refuted in scripture and have been proven dangerous at the worst and useless in the least, believers adopt them in making everyday decisions. That is Satan's battle plan for your mind!

So, Satan works to keep unsaved people from seeing, hearing and accepting the truth, and he works to keep believers from living, embracing and sharing the truth. The devil has a double-barreled shotgun to use as a weapon for blinding the lost and befuddling the saved.

So, we've considered the Ground of this Battle, now let's consider what Paul says about ...

II. The Gates of this Battle

Paul speaks of the fortress or mighty gates that Satan erects to keep the truth from the human mind. He goes on to show that believers have the power through God to pull down these gates and strongholds that Satan has established in the human mind.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story as to how enemies breached the The Great Wall of China in ages past. The Great Wall has a history of over 2,700 years and was built along the Chinese boader to keep out enemies. The wall is over 13,000 miles long - that means that the wall is almost four times as long as the distance between the Atlanic Coast of America and the Pacific Coast. That is some wall. The wall was formidable and looked impregnable, yet enemies managed to get over and through the wall. It was easy! All they had to do was find one soldier along that wall who was susceptible to a bribe. That was not difficult at all. They gave money to a gate keeper who simply opened the gate and let the invading army walk right in.

Satan seeks to get into you mind by bribing you. He comes to the gate and bribes you with something you want very badly. He dangles the bribe in front of you, which is called temptation, and waits for you to want it badly enough to give in. You can’t defeat Satan if you don’t understand the power of your mind.

Now, think with me about three types of minds - or three ways that Satan enters the gates and creates a stronghold.

A. Perverse Mind

Ephesians 4:22b, "concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts..."

Paul reveals that Satan knows the areas of your weakness, because he has tempted you at those spots before and you gave in. You might call these soft spots the perverse parts of your mind. The great danger here is that we fail to confess our weakness in these areas to God and thus we fail to have the strength to deal with temptation. Unconfessed sins makes our minds weaker and grants Satan even greater powers in tempting us and leading us to rebellion against God.

B. Polluted Mind

Some people have what might be called a polluted mind. That is, the mind has been altered through continual sinful habits, or through drugs and alcohol. So many lives are being ruined each day through the use of mind-altering substances. Damage is done in these cases, not just to the brain, but to the soul. Be assured that bad habits do the same thing to the mind that drugs do - habits create a pollution - like have dirty water in your drinking glass. Eventually, you will pay a high price for failure to deal with these issues.

A polluted mind can also be produced through reckless sinful behavior. Pornography is a great example. The mind can be made unhygienic, contaminated and poisoned by repeated behavior that is outside God’s will. A fetid, foul mind is a playground for demons!

Now, let’s add to the Perverse Mind and the Polluted Mind the following…

C. Passive Mind

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard the mind since every issue in life springs from the mind. Keep the issues of life protected. You can’t just let your mind wander around like a vagabond. Satan will put thoughts in your mind, if you leave the door open.

No sane person gets out of a beautiful, expensive car and leaves it unlocked, especially if expensive possessions are inside. Yet, many people leave the mind unlocked, even though every relationship, decision and action of your life comes from your mind. We read in the Bible that Satan put thoughts into the mind of Judas. He either left his mind unlocked, or simply gave the key to the devil. Jesus once said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan!” Apparently, Peter had left his mind unlocked and when Peter opened his mouth he revealed that an interloper had slipped inside. Later, it was Peter who said to Ananias, “…Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? (Acts 5:2)” Indeed, Satan will enter the passive mind. So, you see, you don’t have to be evil to allow Satan to slip inside your mind. All you have to do is act naturally – without giving thought to what you are doing.

Now, let me share with you the …

III. The Glory of This Battle

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul reveals to us characteristics of Satan.

1. He is the god (God with a little “g”) of this world
2. He blinds people to the fact that they are lost and need Christ
3. He works tirelessly against the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yet, in all that Satan seeks to do, and in all the ways he attacks the mind, we can be victorious. What is necessary for victory.

A. Repentance

To repent, means to “change the mind.” It means to turn around and go in a new way. God calls to us with a still, small voice. Imagine a child standing near a precipice – a great cliff. His father knows that if he runs toward the child, the little one will turn to run away and go straight over the edge to his death. So, the father holds out his arms and says, “Come to me. I have something for you. Come on!” All the while the father is holding out his arms. Life and death are in the balance. If the child turns to run away, the goes over the edge and crashes upon the rocks below. If he turns and runs to the father, he is saved. That is picture of repentance from sin. God holds out His arms of love to you. His Son died on the cross for you. He loves you.

Repentance is an act of changing one’s mind. It means to think differently. When you allow the Lord, and His Word, to control you thinking, you are defeating Satan and walking in the light. The decision is yours. If you give your mind to the god of this word, to Satan, you are doomed.

Did you know when Jesus visited the Seven Churches of Asia, as recorded in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, he called for five of them to repent! Yes, even churches can think wrongly, act improperly, and end up on the rocks of destruction.

Now, everyone listening to me right now – has Satan had a heyday with your mind? Has he affected your thoughts? Has he affected your reactions and deeds? The need to have renew you mind. We need a re-boot! We need to repent.

B. Renewal

We must renew our commitment to Christ. Now, listen carefully. Our mind can only be invaded when the gates are left open. We must keep our minds renewed. How?

1. The Word of God

The Bible speaks of purity and knowledge in 2 Corinthians 6:6. God’s Word is pure and the knowledge we need to defeat the devil is in God’s power and Word. Stay in the Word of God. Plant it in your mind. Answer Satan with God’s Word – that is what Jesus did when He was tempted!

2. The Holy Spirit

God’s presence in us is the Holy Spirit, and in 2 Corinthians 6:6 Paul speaks of our strength in the Holy Spirit. Listen, we need to be filled with God’s Spirit. In verse 7 Paul speaks of the “power of God,” and you can be sure that we have that power available when we are filled His power – the Holy Spirit – God’s presence in us.

3. The Fellowship of God’s People

In 2 Corinthians 6:17 Paul states, “’Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord.” We must stay close to God’s people, pray with each other, and hold each other accountable.


The generation in which we live is being swept away in the thinking and mindset of the god of this world – Satan. We must not join that way of thinking and acting. We belong to God! Everyone who is saved has been bought with a price. Let us this day make a new commitment of our minds, and thus our entire lives, to the Lord who gave Himself for us at Calvary.

Yes, there is someone here, no doubt, who has never turned from your sin to trust Christ as Lord and Savior. You can do that now. This is the accepted time. Now is the time. This is the day of Salvation.


i Accessed at (Sept 2018)