I would imagine for people to say that I am an optimistic person. When situations arise, I focus on the positive and strive towards a hopeful outcome. My natural is tendency is to give the benefit of the doubt when a person hurts me or doesn’t fulfill their end of the bargain. Interestingly enough, I had a member of my church suggest that they have never seen me ‘down before.’ If only they knew what went on in my mind!
The reality is, I struggle to honor God with my thoughts. There are moments where my mind wanders to that which I do not have. Instead of focusing on what I have been given, I focus upon my lack instead. The undue attention given to the lack of unfulfilled desires leads me to an ungrateful attitude and self-pity.
Valerie and I had precious memories of our foster child who was in our care. It was shy of 3 weeks when the social worker called and let us know that her Grandma would take care of her now. We knew this could happen during our fostering journey, but that didn’t make it easier. As I put our little one in the social worker’s car and said goodbye, we were saddened by our reality of again being just the two of us (Ok, Carmel the dog too). Valerie and I comforted one another in our loss. We want what is best for her; if this is God’s will, then so be it. We learned so much in this short period, even that in this process, it is healthy to grieve.
Here’s where the problem came in: I allowed my circumstances to hijack my thinking process. My mind slipped into a downward spiral of untrue and negative thoughts, reinforcing my lack of children as the greatest need. Thoughts crept into my mind…
“Perhaps I am in sin, and a curse is blocking me from having children.”
“When am I ever going to get what I want?”
“Looks like we are meant to be this way forever.”
“What is wrong with me?”
These thoughts are not from God. This thinking is unspiritual and self-centered. It has hints of abdication (giving up) and an accusatory tone. Thoughts like this lead you down faster and further into darkness.
I believe I am not alone in getting my thoughts dragged through the mud. We all face various circumstances that seem to take the wind out of our sails. What we think when those situations arise determines how we will respond. As mentioned last week in ‘Your Thought Life,’ we have thousands of thoughts, but what kind of thoughts are we thinking?
I wanted to shed light on a verse for you today so that you can overcome the downward spiral of nasty, consuming thoughts. Actually, this verse can be used as a weapon against the enemy who continually attempts to barrage your mind with lies. It is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
This verse shows us a few points:
- You have weapons… BIG weapons! – You are not meant to take the fight sitting down. No way! Instead, the weapons every believer has are spiritual and can demolish strongholds… can you believe it? Weapons such as Scripture (the sword of the Spirit – Ephesians 6:17), prayer (James 5:16-18), and fasting (Mark 9:29) can eradicate false beliefs, a negative perception of oneself, and unfruitful thinking patterns.
- You are meant to fight – What is the point of having a gun if you don’t know how to use it? Similarly, our weapons are useless unless we use them to fight against ungodly and unnecessary thoughts. Paul reminds us to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). That fight starts in our head. We fight because we are in a war and the enemy wants you dead. And if he cannot kill you, he wants to make you an ineffective and inefficient Christ follower. Satan wants to tie you down, but in Christ, you have the authority to overcome his schemes (Ephesians 6:11). You may have to roll up your sleeves, but isn’t freedom a price worth paying for?
- You can take captive your thoughts – I always get this image of a cage, particularly a birdcage. When a thought comes, I can choose to honor that thought or not. If it is not from God, I can seize that thought and put it in the cage. Why? Now my thought is held captive; it is stuck in the cage and cannot go near me. Once I threw that fleshy thought in the cage, I can lock it and give it to Jesus. Christ can deal with my ‘junk’ – those thoughts that don’t belong. He is just waiting for me to give it to Him.
You cannot sit with low-life thoughts and think that is it. You are meant to renew your mind according to the Word and to be in His will. You have the authority and power in Christ to do so! I encourage you this week to cage any thoughts that do not line up with the character of Christ and how He sees you. Be attentive and sober-minded – the enemy is trying to devour you like a roaring lion! (1 Peter 5:8) If the thought is not contained and sent to Christ, that thought can multiply and become a bigger problem than it is. Be intentional and capture those thoughts in the Name of Jesus so that you can freely access the mind of Christ He has given to you.
Have a blessed week!