Do You Have Power Over Your Own Mind?
Volume IX ~ Issue XX ~ February 8th, 2009
By: Brian A. Yeager
(To open this article in PDF - Click here)

Are you a product of your environment? We know that a godly home can bring great things to the life of a child. In fact, inspiration says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Yet, we also know that each individual has his or her own freewill (Ecclesiastes 7:29, Joshua 24:14-16, and James 1:21-25). If bringing up a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) secured one’s salvation, that’d be easy enough. Just as Israel chose to rebel against God (Ezekiel 2:3), children have the right to choose as well. To be clear, I am not denying or even downplaying the power of a godly upbringing (Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:5-7, Psalms 78:1-6, Ephesians 6:4, and II Timothy 1:5; 3:15).

Just as a godly upbringing does not remove the right to choose right or wrong, an ungodly upbringing does not set a course of destruction. As a child I saw my mother work bars, steal money from Little League baseball, lied continually, etc. My deceased brother was a drug addict, alcoholic, liar, and all around ungodly jerk. I began following in those same footsteps. Now, I am a faithful child of the living God and preacher of the Gospel of His only begotten Son. I dare anyone to argue that one cannot escape the way they were raised and drama’s that occurred in their lives. There are not enough pages to write the dramas I had seen in my youth. I began down those same paths. I chose a godly life.

The motivation for this article came from a program I saw on local television (12/27/2008) produced by the Montwood church of Christ. In that program, Jerry Duke from Northside was answering a question about suicide. He made excuses for people based on traumas they’ve had in their lives. I began thinking of the many people I have known who’ve blamed their failures on their upbringing, lack of love, etc. For those of us who have not experienced loving homes, we know better from experience. For those who haven’t had the experience, you can know better from the Scriptures. God shows us we can control our decisions!

You’re The Pilot Of Your Life

In just a moment I am going to let the Scriptures do the rest of the speaking in this article. Before I do that, I want to make sure I cover a base that readers may assume I am ignorant of. I am full well aware that there are a few mental conditions that prevent some from controlling their own lives. While I know most cases of depression, anxiety, etc. are garbage, there are those who suffer from illnesses that they have no control over. Again, I can see this first hand in my daughter who suffers from the disease of autism. Having said that, most who excuse their sinful behaviors on stress, emotional abuse, etc. are full of GARBAGE! Notice what the Lord says about your ability to control your own mind:

  • “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
  • “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians10:3-5).
  • “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:2-8).
  • Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12).
  • “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded (Titus 2:6).
  • “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13).
  • “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries” (I Peter 4:1-3).

We can control our thinking. We also can change when we are wrong. You are not destined for failure when you’ve been surrounded by sinful influences. In conclusion, notice the evidence:
  • “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17).
  • “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:9-10; cf. Ephesians 3:8 and I Timothy 1:12-16).
  • “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:9-11).