It Starts with the Mind

2014 Linger Conference


Do you ever feel as though you are always on the losing end in the battle against temptation? It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped in the journey of sanctification. In this 64-minute message from the 2014 Linger Conference, Ben Stuart gives biblical answers as to why Christians struggle and shares tools that give believers strength to overcome the temptations they face. Ben serves as Executive Director of Breakaway Ministries, a weekly Bible study reaching thousands of students at Texas A&M University.



After hearing from Ben and before proceeding to answer the questions below. Take a moment to read through Ben's text for his message.  Focus on Paul's words in verses 5 and 6.

Romans 8:1-6 (ESV)

Life in the Spirit

1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.2For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.6For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Ben stated that the best self-knowledge you can have is knowing how the enemy gets you. Where does temptation get you? Where are you most prone to believe the enemy's lies?
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How have you experienced the process Ben described, where a thought in the mind stirs the affections and enacts the will? How can being aware of this process help you recognize it as you face your own struggles?
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Ben noted that sanctification consists of two simultaneous movements:
  • Movement away from sin (mortification)
  • Movement toward God (vivification)

Do you feel as though you tend toward one of these movements over the other? Why do you think both movements are crucial for growth?
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Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Romans 12:2 (ESV)

2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


What do these four passages and the text from Romans 8 above say about the importance of our thoughts and minds in our growth in sanctification? Practically speaking, what do you think it means to renew your mind?
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Describe your current pursuit of the Lord. Do you have a time to meet with Him and open His Word on a consistent basis? How can you be creative about carving out space just to be with God and stir your affections for Him?
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It is easy to grow weary when faced with what seems to be an endless barrage of temptations. Perhaps it is a long standing substance addiction, maybe an overwhelming bent towards lust, maybe belief in lie after lie about your self image. Whatever the case, there is hope. 

As Ben said so well, "It's the one who is alive who feels the struggle. Your struggle is one of your great assurances that you're alive." When you feel the conviction of the Spirit, you know He is within you. Don't entertain thoughts that would have you think that God doesn't love you. Make war against those thoughts, and always pursue the joy which is far greater than any fleeting pleasure—the joy found only in the immeasurable riches of God's presence.


For information about the next Linger Conference, visit www.lingerconference.com.