Thursday, May 20, 2010

"I cannot afford to have a thought in my head about me that is not in His." -Bill Johnson

This is another thing that God is teaching me right now: how to control my thoughts.

But, before I go too far into that, perhaps I should take you back to the very beginning and explain that until recently, I didn't pay much attention to the ideas that were floating around in my mind. I mean, I paid a lot of attention to certain types of ideas. Certain things would always throw up red flags for me and I knew, right away, to be on my guard.

For instance, when I've gotten really, really angry at Dwayne... and that's happened a handful of times over the years, believe it or not... but, when I was mad at him, at times, I have wanted to leave for the night... or longer.

Now, Dwayne and I don't usually fight like that... you know, really, really bad... but once or twice it's been bad enough that I have wanted to take flight. And, when that idea passed through my mind, I knew right away that God didn't want me to think like that. And, you can bet that I paid attention to those thoughts! I may have threatened to go, yelled and even started looking for my keys, but all the while I was wrestling with my thoughts, trying to "take them captive," put 'em in a spiritual headlock, so to speak, and wrestle them to the ground until I had made them "obedient to Christ" and until I felt like staying and working it out. And, thank God, I always ended up staying and we always ended up working it out.

But, other thoughts, just as untrue, never made me that uncomfortable for some reason.

"You're powerless."

"You're not special."

"God isn't paying attention."

"You're going to fail as a mother."

"You will never change."

"You aren't a 'new creation' at all"

"The mind of Christ... yeah right. You don't have the mind of Christ."

"Your husband doesn't appreciate you."

"And, he, certainly, will never change."

All these thoughts I let rest in my mind for years and years and years... I didn't actually realize these thoughts weren't from God. I wondered about them. I wanted to change them. I often grew tired of how they made me feel, but I thought, "Maybe this thought is from God... He wouldn't say it like that, exactly, he's definitely more gentle than that, but maybe the impression is from Him... Maybe He feels the same way I do... Maybe He's disappointed in me, too." This is how I would think and so, I never felt confident about taking these thoughts captive and wrestling them to the ground like I did the other, more serious and offensive thoughts.

But, these thoughts were just as dangerous as the other kind. They gave the enemy of my soul power over me for so long. His voice got a place in my head. Like the old cartoons, the devil was given a cozy seat on one of my shoulders.

But, I know now, that these thoughts didn't come from God. How do I know? They aren't Biblical. Period. Not even one bit. And for every lie above, there's a Scripture that proves it wrong.

I am special.

"I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

God is paying attention.

"Oh Lord, you search me and know me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar... You are familiar with all my ways." Psalm 139:14

I am a new creation.

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Behold! The old things have gone. The new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

I can change.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus... the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4

I am not powerless.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

I realize now that the enemy was putting those thoughts in my head... or if he wasn't putting them there, he was keeping them coming! "...for there is no truth in him. When he (satan) lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

I even knew some of the Scriptures above by heart, so I should never have allowed those untrue thoughts to linger in my mind! I should have believed that Scripture was true, should have believed what Scripture said about me, what Scripture said about God, and dismissed those thoughts right away.

But, I didn't. I think it was because I was unaware of just how often I had to pay attention to what was going on in my head, how often I had to "do battle" in my mind and make sure that I was hearing the voice of God.

"But, 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." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Look carefully at these verses. As far as I can tell, they aren't talking about lofty philosophies and mindsets that a bunch of sweater vests and bifocals at Harvard and Yale hold. When it says "arguments..." it seems to be referring to the ones going on in our own heads! "We" as in you and me, "must take captive every thought" and make it line up with what the word of God says, even in the "small" stuff.

I was told that people who are trained to identify counterfeit money, never actually study counterfeit money. They only ever look at the real thing so that they will be able to tell when they come in contact with the fake stuff. That's how it should be for us. We should only listen to the voice of truth. Like the quote at the very top says, we can't afford to do anything else.

"My sheep know my voice and I know them and they follow me." John 10:27

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