Rejoicing is the exhibit of that interstate of mind, because no longer do we have to strive to attain and maintain God’s acceptance on the basis of who we are and what we can do, no longer are our sins held against us, no longer does the death penalty for sin hang over us. Joy is a trust issue; joy in Christ for a believer is that of a state of mind independent of surrounding circumstances. People glorifies themselves by filtering everything they say and everything they do through that screen of self-protection, self-elevation, and self-gratification.
Joy comes from an understanding of the grace of God, an understanding and appreciation of the resultant peace with God that we now have because of God’s grace. The insidious reality of the enemies relentless assault of deception on our mind can keep us from experiencing maturity and freedom, because our past has shaped our present belief system and will determine our future unless it is dealt with. We have been tricked into believing that what we do makes us what we are. Our understanding of the identity that Adam had before the fall, that identity has been restored to us, that restored identity is the critical foundation for our belief structure and our behavior patterns.
Those who put on the breastplate of righteousness know that we have peace with God, for a person to have to make their own peace with God would be nothing more than an exercise in futility, it could never be done. We could not make peace with God, to say that anyone could make peace with God, would be to limit God to his mercy, because grace is the foundation on which Paul’s entire ministry was built. There is a glory that belongs to God’s grace, and it is to be praised on the bases on what God’s grace has accomplished.
The security all believers have in that the indwelling resurrection power of God guarantees that those who have believed Paul’s good news can never be lost, they belong to God. The word translated “sealed” in Ephesians 1:13 means sealed for preservation. The seal is the safeguarding device, the securing device, used to preserve the contents. God’s power is the seal that God uses to secure all who believe in this dispensation of grace.
The word translated “earnest” in Ephesians 1:14 means a pledge in the sense that an advance deposit has been made as the security guaranteeing the fulfillment of that which has been promised to those who have been sealed. Like when a person gives earnest money in connection with a purchase, that person is guaranteeing, through that which is given in advance their intention of following through on that which they have promised. According to Paul, the indwelling of God’s power is both God’s seal and his deposited pledge that all believers are forever his and are destined to inherit eternal life.
Paul doesn’t tell us that we are filled with God’s power, but instead, Paul is telling us that we should be filled with God’s power. In other words, we should allow God’s power to be in control of our lives. Of course, the degree to which we do that is up to us. God’s power works in us, but only to the degree that we are willing to yield ourselves to God’s use in our ministry of reconciliation.
Paul reminds us that the tribulations we face are actually a means of achieving our supreme goal of maturity. People tend to look for quick-fix solutions to difficult situations, but God’s plan is for us to hang in there and grow up. When we stop believing that God is in control, that he is working everything out for our good and that whatever happens is for the ultimate best of everyone involved, however little it seems to be that way. The more time and energy we invest in contemplating our own plans on how to live our life, the less time and energy we have to seek God’s plan for our ministry of reconciliation.
The first thing we need to understand about the battle for our mind, the main targets which must be destroyed, are the strongholds. Strongholds are negative patterns of thought, which are burned into our minds either through repetition over time or through one-time traumatic experiences. Before we were born anew, all our stimulation came from the environment of this hostile world. Every day we lived in this environment we were influenced by it and preconditioned to conform it. We developed a philosophy about how to survive, cope and succeed in this world apart from God.
Once a stronghold of thought and response is entrenched in our mind, our ability to choose and act contrary to that pattern is virtually nonexistent. That is why Paul insists that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Strongholds in our mind are the result of conditioning; we can be reconditioned by the renewing of our mind, anything that has been learned can be unlearned. The enemy have no power over us except what we give them by falling to take every thought captive and thus being deceived into believing their lies. If they can get us to believe a lie, they can control our life. Our emotions play a major role in the process of renewing our mind, our emotions reveal our perceptions. Our emotions are a product of our thought life, and if we are not thinking right, if our mind is not being renewed, if we are not perceiving God and his word properly, it will show up on our emotional life.