Your Mind Is a Battlefield—Here’s How to Win the War

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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In your mind, do positive thoughts or negative thoughts usually win? How can you give positivity the advantage?

Positive thoughts are the key to a happy life because they lead to positive words and actions. When you think positively, you treat yourself and other people better, enjoy healthier relationships, make better choices, and are resilient in the face of adversity. Joyce Meyer asserts that positivity is difficult because the devil attacks your mind with negativity. But there’s something you can do about.

Keep reading to learn how your mind is a battlefield—and how to win the war.

Your Mind Is a Battlefield

To win the battle for your mind, you must do two things: choose the right weapons and think like Jesus. Meyer discusses both of these in her book.

Our Weapons Against Satan

Your mind is a battlefield, and the devil is your enemy. Meyer explains that the only way to rid ourselves of Satan and his negativity is to cultivate a God-centered mind. Once our minds are focused on God rather than on all of the things Satan tries to make us focus on, we can enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life. God’s word is our most effective weapon in this fight.

Meyer explains that we use the word of God in three forms: 

  • Scripture: The written word of God provides us with an arsenal of positive messages that we can use when our mind is under attack from the devil. When we know scripture well, we can easily recall helpful passages from the Bible to apply to any situation where Satan tries to corrupt our thoughts.

(Shortform note: Simply reading the Bible is often not enough to properly interpret it. Most readers don’t have the theological training or expertise to reliably uncover personal meaning from the Bible that is consistent with the text’s original meaning, which weakens Meyer’s argument that we can rely on scripture to fight Satan.

  • Praise: Praise is thanking God for His blessings in our lives, without reservation and coming from a place of peace and contentment. If we’re truly thankful and content regardless of our circumstances, there will be no place where the devil can penetrate our minds.

(Shortform note: Our language has a powerful impact on our perception of reality. Therefore, simply changing our language may make us better able to give thanks for the positives we have in life, even if our circumstances haven’t changed. For example, we can substitute the phrase “I have to” with “I get to,” and instead of saying that we’re “going” through something difficult, we can say we’re “growing” through something difficult.) 

(Shortform note: In her discussion of prayer, Meyer does not mention the Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer). A Christian understanding of prayer comes from this prayer in particular. For Christians, it serves as a model for how people “should” speak to God. It is the foundational Christian prayer and is the only prayer that Jesus actually taught His followers to pray.)

Thinking Like Jesus

Meyer explains that Jesus is the paragon of maintaining a positive mind in the face of suffering. Therefore, as we try to live a positive life ourselves, we should try to emulate his mindset. To channel Jesus’ positivity, we must:

  • Be Positive: To think like Jesus, we should always look for something positive to think, do, or say, even when we face situations that seem hopeless or joyless. 
  • Keep Our Mind on God: To think like Jesus, we need to make our relationship with God part of our daily lives. 
  • Trust in God’s Love: When we believe in and internalize God’s love for us, we feel worthy—worthy of His blessings, worthy of His love and love from others, and worthy of the positive life that He intends for us. 
Cultivating a Positive Mind With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Many people looking for guidance in cultivating a positive mind have found success with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a technique in which psychiatrists help people retrain their brains so that they can break negative thought and behavioral patterns.

As Judith Beck explains in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we may experience persistent negative thoughts if we hold negative “core beliefs” about ourselves. These negative core beliefs fall into one of three types: helplessness, unloveableness, and worthlessness, all of which lead to a distorted self-image and can cause us to make self-defeating choices.

Practitioners of CBT help people to examine the validity of their negative thoughts by leading them through reasoning and thought experiment exercises. Through these exercises, patients may find no true rationale or evidence behind their negative thoughts. Realizing that negative thoughts come from negative core beliefs as opposed to reality can allow people to feel hopeful, giving them the courage to try things that they may otherwise have talked themselves out of.

Meyer doesn’t advise seeking out a method such as CBT to conquer your negative thoughts, but her advice tries to effect the same results. By recommending that you focus on positivity, she asks you to retrain your brain away from negativity. By urging you to accept and internalize God’s love, she seeks to counter your feelings of worthlessness. And by advising that you keep God’s relationship in the forefront of your mind, she tries to offer a specific, practical method by which you can achieve these ends. 

Thus, while psychologists encourage their patients to avail themselves of methods derived from scientific study, Meyer focuses on methods derived from spiritual study. 
Your Mind Is a Battlefield—Here’s How to Win the War

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Here's what you'll find in our full Battlefield of the Mind summary:

  • How the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts
  • How to recognize the signs that Satan is attacking your mind
  • How to thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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