Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking Thoughts Captive

How many times do we allow negative things to control our thoughts and then influence our actions? just the other day, Lindsey decided she wanted to play with playdoh, blow bubbles, water the garden and paint. All at the same time. Now to you that might seem trivial but to me I was overwhelmed by her surge of energy and found myself feeling grumpy. On other days it may be she acts out and does not listen that will send me into the land of scowls and sighs. Granted sometimes feelings of frustration are warranted when she doesn't listen even though I have asked what feels like a million times. Yet is it really worth it to allow those feelings to hold me hostage all day? No it isn't. It wastes a day of playing and enjoying life and replaces it with a short temper and looking forward to the next day.

I have recently been reading Max Lucado's Just Like Jesus and something he wrote really stayed with me. In one of the chapter he said, "This is not your house. You do not have the right to let in everyone who wants to enter. Anger, pride, revenge, pity, lust, etc." Proverbs 4:23 tells us "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

When we allow those thoughts to creep into our mind we fall into temptation. Our bodies, including our minds, belong to Jesus. He bought them with a price, his blood. We are to take those thoughts captive and release them back out after we have prayed through them. I am well aware that it sounds easier than it is but it can be done. Jesus gives us ample instruction on how to capture all thoughts and submit them back to Christ. If we ask, he will let us know if it is worth staying in our mind or if we need to get rid of it. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us "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" (NIV, emphasis mine). 

Even Jesus himself knew the temptation of letting certain thoughts enter the mind. When he predicted his death to his disciples in Matthew 16, Peter told him that could never happen. He did not think the death of Christ was necessary. Jesus on the other hand told him, "Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" (Matt 16:23 NIV).  Christ knew at that moment Satan was trying to infiltrate his thoughts. Then for forty days he was tempted by the devil. We are only given a few examples but scripture says he was tempted for forty days. However, he was armed with scripture and able to not fall into temptation, just as we must be (Matt 4). 

Now back to that day I was grouchy for really no apparent reason. What did I do? I could have stayed in a bad mood all day, but really who wants to do that? I prayed earnestly. I prayed for the Lord to fill my heart with peace and the Spirit to remove the feelings placed there by the enemy. And wouldn't you know, I felt better! I cannot express this enough, there is POWER in PRAYER. I believe that as much as I believe there is air that I breathe. The Lord wants us to come to Him with anything and everything. He promises to listen to us and to never leave us. What an amazing promise that is. 

I pray for you dear friend. That in times of struggle with your thoughts and emotions, you turn to God. You let him filter your mind and fill your heart with the fruits of the Spirit, not the poison of the enemy. We have to constantly be mindful of what we think, for what we think becomes actions. Our Lord conquered all the same thoughts we feel at times. We can rest assured our holy redeemer is mighty to save, always.