This is a long post, I’m not sorry – it was simply too good to split up into two posts. Protect your thoughts!
Your thoughts are important. As I study Spiritual Warfare more and more, the way you think is incredibly important. I’m not talking about this idea that you can think yourself better or when you have negative thoughts that those thoughts invite in bad spirits.
I’m talking about your day-in-day-out thoughts. The things you meditate over and get stuck on. These are things or ways that the Devil can come in and trip you up.
God gave your mind protection for a reason – the head is a very tricky battlefield if not controlled. God encourages us to: renew our minds BECAUSE of several reasons
1) It is at enmity with God – there is no question. Romans 8:7 If allowed free reign, it has no desire to be in agreement with God or to listen to anyone for that matter. Romans 8:5 (Think about people in general, but mainly my generation and those after me- they have no discipline whatsoever and they are much worse than they have been before. A teacher of 20+ years said that this year is her worst year of students – they have steadily gotten worse but this year is bad) If that isn’t an indication of what the mind does when not controlled, then I don’t know of what would be. We are born into a fallen world, and unless we know that the only way out of it is through Jesus then we only get sucked deeper into the fallen.
2) God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our thoughts and ways. Isaiah 55:7-9 We, in our own minds, try to figure out God. Ever ask God ‘Whaaaat???’ I do all the time “What are you doing? Can’t you see that I need to be over there? You clearly don’t know, let me take control” And of course whenever I try to put my own hand to something, it falls apart and I end up in the exact same place I was when I asked the question. Remember – the time you took to figure it out yourself is how much time you lost that would have been progress.
3) God will grant us peace when we let him figure it out. Romans 8:6 Have you ever thought about how you’re going to handle situation so much it made you sick? Guilty – right here. I admonished a co-worker to stop thinking about a certain situation because it was literally making her sick and there was nothing she could do about it. God tells us not to be anxious about anything, He is the problem solver. He isn’t freaking out up there going “What are we going to do? Robyn got fired!” or “Lucy doesn’t have any money until next Thursday, that’s almost two weeks away!” or “[insert name] has this [insert problem]!” NO! How I am imagine God is that he is chuckling like ‘Watch this! I’m about to blow her mind!’ (Give credit where credit is due – I totally borrowed that routine from John Bevere’s Bait of Satan curriculum)
He wants us to take every thought captive and give it to him. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
I know we said how tiring it is to do that all the time but it is vital!! Think about it – every stray thought that pops into your head (that’s a lot!) I am constantly thinking about whatever. What I’m going to do at work, what I’m going to do on my lunch break, what I’m going to eat for lunch/dinner, what I’m going to fill my evening with , what I’m going to do the next day and the next evening. That which is weighing on my heart for myself, my family, my friends, my co-workers. That is just a general idea of all the things that go through my mind
So there are many thoughts that I need to take captive and put under God’s authority.
“This day is a day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. There that takes care of what I will do at work.
“God please give me the strength to do whatever needs to be done this evening/afternoon.” Psalm 68:35 That takes care of my lunches and evenings.
“Do not worry about tomorrow” Matthew 6:25-34 satisfies that need.
“Cast all your cares at my feet” 1 Peter 5:6-7
“All kinds of prayers and petitions” Ephesians 6:18
“Do not be anxious about anything” Philippians 4:6
“Be constantly praying in the spirit” Ephesians 6:18
“The spirit searches the deep and gives it utterance by groaning” Romans 8:26-27
All of these and more take care of all that which weighs on my heart. Whether it is a need for myself, a person in need of prayer, or simply a feeling that I get in my spirit.
Now that the major categories are taken care of, we then bring every thought under God’s authority. If it doesn’t agree with God and what His Word says about you – take it captive and “cast it into the fire!!” Lord Elrond Lord of the Rings
I know how tiring that is – a regular 8 hour day at an office tires you. Not just because of the work day but all the mental activities you do trying to keep your ideas in line with God. You’re exerting yourself physically and then every angry customer/patient/co-worker that crosses your path, your mind has a lovely opinion about them that it wants heard. NO!
Instead speak kindness to them, smile to them, and (in faith) say in your heart “God, bless them. Something must be bothering them today, grant them peace.” Proverbs 25:21-22
Now I am not naïve enough to think that it is that simple – there is a reason we have to take every thought captive and put on the whole set of armor every day.
It isn’t a one-and-done kind of deal. Sorry…it’s every day, every hour, every minute sometimes. I told you – the devil hates you. He has focused his attention on destroying you – he isn’t going to stop just after one attack, he’s going to see how far he can push you. God will meet you right where you are while the devil will find that point and leave you stranded.
The more you develop the stronger you become. 2 Corinthians 3:18 That also means you’re a bigger threat. It becomes harder for him to trip you up, but by golly he is going to try. The devil can be quite persistent, but he can never outlast God. Isaiah 40:28-29, Romans 16:25-27
Instead of thinking on your circumstances as they are, think of his promises. He has given you promises, revealed or through his Word. Either way – you are blessed because he has called you, spoken to you, meditate on those things instead of the current situation. 2 Corinthians 1:19-21
And if you think you have already achieved the place where you no longer have to worry about that – think again. Jesus himself was taunted right before his greatest victory. The disciples kept falling asleep (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42) because their ‘eyes were heavy’ – Newsflash! Jesus was just as human as they were. He was probably tired too – he could have been asleep when Judas came to betray him but he didn’t take a nap. He prayed, so much so that an angel had to come give him strength and then he began to sweat blood. Luke 22:43-44
If we are being taken from glory to glory (victory to victory), we will be under attack right before each victory. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that your thoughts no longer need a bridle – do not grow complacent or lukewarm. Stay strong, keep on fighting the good fight, put on the helmet of salvation every day. Galatians 6:9-10, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, 1 Timothy 1:18; 6:11-12