“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
1 Corinthians 7:23
Real mastery is mastery over heart and mind. A tyrannical government may oppress their citizens through propaganda, censorship, threats, and even incarceration. Even so, the oppressed are not actually slaves of wicked men so long as they refuse to allow their oppressors to capture their hearts and minds; a man remains free so long as he is in charge of his own thoughts and feelings. As a man thinks in his heart, says the proverb, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Little wonder Satan is working so hard to influence the way people think. He uses governments, the news media, the public education system, the arts and entertainment industries—the cultural megaphones of our day—to blind the minds of people everywhere (2 Corinthians 4:4). He has taken people captive in order to have them do his will (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Sadly, even Christians sometimes let their guards down and uncritically accept hoaxes and half truths as though they were fact. Even worse, some even adopt not just the intended false beliefs, but the prescribed attitudes as well. For instance, government propaganda often demonizes certain demographics, causing hostility and suspicion towards particular groups of citizens. In other cases, the propaganda machine works to instill fear, which is a very useful tool for controlling others. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44); he is expert in deceiving people. That is precisely why Paul was so concerned about his fellow Christians. “But I fear,” he wrote, “lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Being constantly mindful of the Christ of Scripture is both the cure and protection against deception. The New Testament instructs us to look to Jesus and consider Him (Hebrews 12:1-3). He is the Truth incarnate, and it is the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). We are to use the Scriptures to test not only religious claims (1 John 4:1-6), but all claims (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Our minds and hearts belong to Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20). “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind” wrote Paul (Ephesians 4:23), “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). While others may allow themselves to be talked into experiencing fear and even panic, let us remember that Christians walking in freedom are not to be so manipulated.“God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Let us “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Live free, dear saints, and walk strong.