Thoughts

Fight the Good Fight (Part IV)

Sometimes fighting the good fight is not what we do actively, but what we allow passively in our lives! One of the subtle ways that we lose ground in fighting the good fight is our thought life! Many times we can be passive with the thoughts that come to our minds not recognizing that they will impact our attitudes and actions!

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2Corinthians 10:4-6

Apostle Paul exposed the thought life as one of the key areas that we must take control of to gain victory in our lives. This warfare cannot be won unless we are willing to take down the strongholds that gave us false security. Our carnal nature is designed to protect itself from harm and pain. One of the ways we guard ourselves is that we create strongholds to hide behind them to ensure we are protected. The strongholds can be created due to past experiences, hurt, ungodly soulish ties, and disappointments. We also develop arguments based on our carnal understanding, which justify the existence of the strongholds. Therefore, strongholds and arguments work together to create a carnal shield or fortress against pain. The problem is that this carnal shield also hinders our growth and development in the faith and the new things God wants to do in our lives in changing our attitudes and our perception of the world around us.

If we want to be freed from the bondage of lies and not be held captive to the deception of the enemy, we must tear down strongholds and arguments and hold them captive to the obedience of Christ. We are either held captive by them, or we must hold them captive!

How do we recognize what is of the enemy? Below verses give us insight into it.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

When we begin to walk with God, He desires to change us inside out. Many of our visible habits can be stopped much easier and faster, but it is our internal world that requires deep work of the Holy Spirit! One of the ways that God wants to change us is the way we think. Our thought life either produces life-giving attitudes and actions or it causes negativity, suspicion, and animosity in the way we see our world! When we are willing to actively pay attention to our thought-life and hold thoughts that cause stress, anxiety, and pain captive, then we can meditate on thoughts that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.

To live life according to the above scriptures is much harder than a strenuous exercise! It requires attention, focus, consistency, and faith to continue to push through all the negativity that tries to barge in our hearts and minds. The good news is that if we commit to following through with the above two scriptures, we will experience a new dimension of deliverance that will wipe out depression, anger, bitterness, jealousy, insecurity, strife, and division in our lives. Over time, it will also get easier to think the right thoughts. The by-product of this disciplined lifestyle is that we are fighting the good fight according to God’s instructions and blueprints!

 

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Success in Relationships (Part II)

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLV)

Did you know that your thought life is a key to success in relationships!? The above scripture instructs us to be intentional and thoughtful! Thoughtless people speak before they think! Have you ever written a text or an email, and before you clicked the “send” button something told you to stop!? Later on, when you looked back you realized you could have made a big mess with your tone or choice of words if you had sent the text or the email in its original tone.

When we are thoughtful, it makes us slow down and think about what we say and how we state it. When I am corresponding with prospective employers, I don’t just type something quickly and send it out. I write it, wait a while, and then edit it. If time permits, I may leave it alone for a few hours or overnight. I review it again and ensure that it is written concisely and covers everything that I intended to state. Are we as thoughtful with our words when we are communicating with our loved ones!?

As believers, our holy occupation is to please Him! That means that regardless of how we feel or what we think of a person or a situation, we are called to walk in the spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the self-control we need to slow down and to allow Him to calm our thoughts and emotions.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2Corinthians 10:4-6

Some people claim that to be real they need to share all their thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, being real has been equated with dumping all the negative thoughts and emotions on others! To the contrary, the Lord calls us to be intentional with our thoughts and recognize the schemes of the enemy. When we surrender ourselves to “being real,” we come into agreement with the lies of the enemy and own those thoughts as ours. Hence, we look for ways to express them. However, we must recognize that not every thought that comes to mind should be welcomed or accepted as our thought. More importantly, not every thought that comes to our mind lines up with God’s truth!

The Bible tells us that we need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We cannot successfully walk in obedience to the Lord, if we don’t take control of our thought life! We also cannot have success in our relationships if we can’t control our thoughts and the actions that produce them. Our thoughts dictate our emotions which lead our will into action. Subsequently we speak and act on what we entertained in our thought life first. This impacts all our relationships! We may react inappropriately to a person or a situation because we have been incubating negativity in our minds and have not challenged and acknowledged them as lies or ungodly thoughts!

Today, make a plan to examine and challenge your thoughts before allowing them to take root in your heart! Hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and allow Jesus to be the gatekeeper of your mind! You will save yourself and others much headache and heartache, and you’ll have much success in your relationships!