See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men . . . rather than according to Christ
The first step toward the formation of strongholds in our minds can be called “environmental stimulation.” You were designed to live in fellowship with God and fulfill His purposes, but you were born physically alive and spiritually dead in a hostile world (Ephesians 2:1, 2). Before you came to Christ, all your stimulation came from this environment. Every day you lived in this environment you were influenced by it and preconditioned to conform to it.
The worldly stimulation you were exposed to was both brief and prevailing. Brief stimulation includes individual events, situations, places and personal encounters you experienced. You were influenced by books you read, movies you watched, music you listened to, and traumatic events you experienced or witnessed, such as a car accident or a death in the family. You learned a way (which may or may not have been God’s way) to cope with these experiences and resolve the conflicts they produced.
Prevailing stimulation consists of long-term exposure to your environment, such as the influence of your family, your friends and peers, your neighborhood, your teachers, and your job. If you grew up separated from God, and were raised in a non-Christian environment, you developed a philosophy of how to survive, cope and succeed in this world apart from God.
When you became a Christian your sins were washed away, but your predisposition to think and behave a certain way, which you developed as you adjusted to your environment, remained programmed in your mind. In fact, you can become a born-again believer and continue to live on the basis of the lifestyle you developed while living independently of God. That is why Paul insists that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
Prayer: I know I was saved in a moment, Lord. But my character still needs daily transformation. Help me be as patient with others in their transformation as You are with me.