My struggle with unseen battles with the wicked secular world began at a young age with my dysfunctional parents. Because of the dysfunction of my home life, I mentally and emotionally checked out. I have no memories from the time I was six until after I was eight. At eight years old, I accepted Jesus as my Savior at a Good News Club. Even at eight, my life changed dramatically. I found a place where I felt I belonged and was loved and accepted. Peace became my companion.
Because of the damage to my emotions from the abuse, I was vulnerable to the devil’s lies. So, when I became a teenager, I was drawn into the sinful activities of the secular world. Satan lied to me and said, I would be popular and have fun, but I ended up with regrets and depression. During my third year in college, I recommitted my life to God, though I still struggled with the worldly activities of college life, which took me deeper into depression. Only when I surrendered my mind and heart to God, put off my old sinful way of thinking, read my Bible, and resolved to obey His will, that my soul began to prosper. I continued to struggle with worldly acceptance because I did not submit my pride.
How to recognize the unseen battle with the secular world.
The key is your focus. If your focus is on worldly fulfillment and not on your relationships with God and people, you will never feel satisfied. When you focus on loving God and people by serving them, you will be rewarded beyond explanation. Some people have disciplined their minds to be devoted to God, such as Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, and monks for example. Otherwise, everyone struggles with distracting worldly enticements (worldliness) that draw them away from devotion to God. The dictionary defines worldly as being devoted to or concerned with the affairs, pleasures, interests, etc. of the secular world. The unseen battle with worldliness is the hardest to recognize because we can justify our worldly pursuits.
How the secular world controls your thoughts.
To be victorious over distracting worldly thoughts, you must recognize how the secular world influences and shapes you into its mold. With the help of God through prayer, you can overcome these unseen battles by faith without being legalistic. Remember, what controls your thinking will control how you feel; your feelings control what you believe; and what you believe controls what you say and do. For example, advertisers know they can entice you to buy their product by putting the thought in your mind that the product is desirable and you need it. So, you believe you need that item to improve your life somehow. After you give in to the worldly enticement, then you discover how empty and lonely you still are because nothing will satisfy your soul like serving and loving God and people.
How to overcome the ruler of the world.
The main source of unseen battles with worldliness comes from the demonic realm. Jesus calls Satan “The ruler (prince) of this world.” See, John 12:31; 14:30; and 16:11. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2a to “not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (thoughts, feelings, and beliefs).” You began transforming your mind when you put off your old self (thinking) and its sinful behaviors and put on a new self, which is in the likeness of God, holy and righteous.
Practice your authority through Jesus Christ over the unseen demonic realm. To learn more about your authority in Christ, read, Four Reasons for Authority in Prayer. All thoughts are within your control according to 2Corinthians 10:3-5, which outline our divine authority over thoughts. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4) For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds (fortresses). 5) We destroy arguments (imaginations, speculation; Greek meaning is logical thinking) and every lofty opinion (judgment) raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Verse 5 denote a mental war against worldly thinking. You may think you are not affected by the world, but please read this post, RECOGNIZE WORLDLY THINKING AND BE FREE.