“…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5b NIV)
Last week I wrote an article on dissatisfaction and how you can be feeling ecstatic one moment, and with the entrance of one thing–something as big as the trials you are currently going through; something as tiny as a mere annoyance; and the whole spectrum of things in between–and you find yourself wallowing in the mire of discouragement, anger, worry, or worse.
I wrote about that last week, because that was where I found myself last week. Little would I know, this whole scenario would play itself out numerous times in the week that ensued….
As I sit here thinking back over the past week, I begin to realize that most of the “things” that sent me spiraling into discouragement and depression were not “things” at all; rather, they were random…Thoughts! Take for example, the evening I am happily communicating via text with my son in Edmonton. I don’t hear from him too often, and each text is precious. I was on cloud 9. Enter one random new thought: ‘You haven’t heard from your son in Kitchener today!’ And that was it. I fell off my “happy place” and barreled headfirst into worry and discouragement.
Another time I woke up in a happy mood feeling that everything was right in the world. Enter a random thought: “_____ doesn’t like ____! In fact, ____ hates ____!” And my happy mood was instantly gone…
I could go on with example after example, but perhaps the apex was today: I was thinking about all of God’s miracles in my life, of all the wonderous things He’s done for me, for my family, all the miraculous things He did in the Bible, etc. Enter one random thought: “He isn’t taking away the pain in your shoulder this morning…” Yikes! Where did THAT thought come from? But wait. It’s true! I asked him to heal my shoulder, and it only seems to get worse! And much like a ball rolling off the peak of a roof, I tumbled off my spiritual high….
But wait. Don’t I hear from my Kitchener son almost daily? And doesn’t he usually contact me late in the evening? And that business of ____ not liking ___… First of all, I don’t even know if it’s true; and even if it is, I know the Master “Relationship-Mender”! Then there’s that business about the pain in my shoulder. Sure, it’s still there, but aren’t I simply “condemning” God for not healing me when the time for that miracle isn’t yet right?
Don’t forget: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). In these three cases all he had to do was plant one tiny thought, and I was gone, devoured…
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You see, when the devil planted those thoughts in my mind, he was tempting me to doubt my Lord and Saviour. And God has promised that we will never be tempted beyond that which we can bear, but that, “…when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13b NIV)
My job is simple:
1. I must recognize that these random thoughts for what they are: temptations!
2. I must “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5b NIV)
3. I must claim the promise of 1 Cor. 10:13, that God will always provide a way out.
And that’s what I did this morning. I realized I was being attacked with temptations, and I renounced those lies in the name of the Lord.
Unfortunately, they kept coming. Every time I said “amen” to yet another prayer of submission and renouncement of temptation, a new and stronger one would hit! And my neck hurt so bad!
That’s when I went to my precious Heavenly father and I said, “God, you have promised that I will not be tempted beyond that which I can bear. Well, Lord, I am falling over and over again into the same trap. I am weak. I cannot withstand these temptations towards negativity. But when I am weak, that’s when I am strong, for your strength is perfected in my weakness! Lord, I am ready for the “way out” that you have promised!”
And that was the end of that barrage of temptation. Yes, my neck still hurts, but I have that joy in my heart once again. I may be weak, but in God I am strong!
Let’s remember that the battlefield is in the mind. If the devil can tempt us to shift our thoughts away from God, then he has us in his snare. Let’s routinely remember to take every thought captive in obedience to Jesus, and when we feel that the temptation is more than we can bear, then let’s claim the promise that God will always make a way out.
Oh, and guaranteed, those “problems” that moments ago seems so insurmountable are nothing but molehills beside the mountain of God’s power and love!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.