Gospel Message & Recording
In the year of Our Lord, 1858, Abraham Lincoln, soon to be President of the United States of America, gave a speech that will forever be remembered in the pages of American history. The title of that speech is “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” His intentions in delivering this speech were to bring to the attention of the people living in the USA at that time, that America would not endure the test of time if it were to continue to exist as slave states and free states. That is, either it should abolish the institution of slavery or run the risk of being dissolved as a nation in the future. Lincoln’s point was clear: either the country should move forward with a united “frame-of-mind,” as a united people united to abolish slavery or become “divided” and eventually separate.
The theme of Lincoln’s speech was nothing new. The Gospels (Mark 3:20-30) record the encounter Jesus has with the Jewish elites and their attempt to malign His ministry via spreading the idea that Jesus performed miracles through the power of Satan. Jesus responded by saying, “How can Satan cast out Satan? A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Jesus is simply making the elites look dumb. Because why would Satan cast himself out? It doesn’t make sense what the elites are accusing Jesus of doing.
Jesus is saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” is referring to the Kingdom of Satan, but it applies to all situations and circumstances of life. Anything that is divided will eventually fall.
For a Christian, there are areas of our life that Satan and a demonic force attempt to divide; but here, I would like to focus on how Satan brings division in our minds to separate us from Christ and His love.
1) Challenge our thoughts: what are you thinking? And why are you thinking that? The evil one always—always—attempts to bring fear, doubt, hatred, worry, anxiety, etc in our thought pattern in order to derail us from the love of Christ. We cannot operate with those thoughts in our mind because such thoughts will cripple our potential to succeed and live a life of success and faithfulness. This is the way the evil one wants to divide our mind from the mind of Christ. We physically lust after other people even when we are married because the evil one is attempting to divide our family. We become jealous of others and their accomplishments but cannot see our own blessings. Our thoughts, if not controlled, can become a “playground” for demonic forces. Stop the thoughts immediately when they enter the mind by acknowledging it as a “foreign power” not worthy of the mind of Christ! This is exactly what St. Paul is talking about when he says, “take every thought captive.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) When such thoughts enter into the mind attempting to divide you from Christ, speak forth such language such as: “I have the mind of Christ and He lives in me. Evil thought you are not allowed in my mind. I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to get out and stay out.”
2) Consider your blessings: in your mind when such thoughts enter, think on the blessings that you have in your life. There is always something to be thankful for. If we constantly think about what is “wrong” in our lives we will never makes things “right.” That is why St. Paul tells us to think about the good things in life: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
3) Fight back: our negative thoughts don’t have to win---fight back! As Orthodox Christians we fight back (in my opinion) by doing the Jesus Prayer 33 times a day, preferably at one time. Prayer time is where we win the “battle of the mind.” Those who pray well, with their whole heart, mind and soul, will begin to win more battles in the mind than those who don’t. The daily prayers, accompanied by scripture reading and intentional prayers (prayer that comes from the heart in your own words) will bring all thoughts that are “foreign” to the mind of Christ into captivity. You don’t have to be a slave to your thoughts, so FIGHT BACK!