Recently my husband and I bought an old metal gate to put in our garden. It got me to thinking about the importance of gates and their function.
When Adam and Eve left the garden for good, God placed two angels to guard its entrance! An angel-gate, if you please! All through the Bible and biblical times, gates played significant roles in the people’s lives. Gates were places where the people flowed in and out, kings judged, prophets cried out, agreements were made, justice and judgments were determined, and buying and selling took place. Much of life happened within the city gates.
Gates to cities were not just passageways but complex defensives. Usually they consisted of an outer and inner gate. The inner gate provided a second line of defense with recessed guardrooms flanking the sides. Whenever an enemy took over and controlled the gates, it was considered a victory. Gates maintained security and kept danger out. They provided safety and freedom from fear and anxiety of being attacked or overtaken.
The vulnerability or strength of a fortress or stronghold always rests at its gates. So are the gates of our lives, the biggest gate being our mind. Unprotected minds can cause the enemy to invade and attack. Pride, rebellion, false beliefs, or even wrong motives can allow the enemy a foothold. Oppression, defeat, discouragement and even despair then follow. Therefore, guarding the gates to our lives becomes extremely important.
How do we do this in a wicked and perverted world? Upon asking myself that question, another question popped up! What am I allowing to saturate my mind? We must all ask this question, for it is at the very core of who we are and how we are going to live. What is influencing your mind, will, and emotions? Is it the news, your employer, your family, your friends, books, education? Where is our focus? What are we obsessed with?
I don’t know about you, but this last year has found me time after time focusing on the wrong things! There has been a battle for my mind the likes of which I have never experienced.
While traveling north on Interstate I-25 on Monday evening, Ed and I saw up close the tornado that touched down near Platteville. I have experienced first-hand the tremendous power and destruction a tornado can cause! This tornado started out quite small, but as it touched the ground, it gained momentum with very distinct characteristics. The interesting part about this tornado was that it stayed put in one area until it dissipated. What a perfect picture of our enemy Satan! Swirling all around, flirting with our minds, coming and going, all the while gaining ground, and ultimately leaving a path of destruction.
Satan’s attacks have been relentless the last year and a half. He is literally trying to beat down the gates of our minds and lives and that of our families and the church. His goal is to defeat, maim, and render us worthless, ineffective, and of no value to God and others.
Gates are a point of entry or exit. Escorting Satan to the exit gate of our minds is the first key. Secondly, we have to allow the Holy Spirit to speak truth into our minds and spirits through the saturating of our minds in God’s Word.
Paul gives us the keys to fighting this mind battle in Philippians 4:4-9 –
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Psalm 18:2-3 reads -
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will make our home with him. I am sending the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name. He will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you. My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:23-27)
The tornadoes of our lives - and there will be tornados - can only be dissipated through the Holy Spirit and the power of God’s Word. God does not want us to be storm chasers, just gatekeepers. God’s Word and His Spirit is what will empower, sustain, give courage, endurance, joy and peace to our minds and lives through the tornados and the threats to the gates of our lives.
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Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.