Become aware of your thought life.
Proverbs 4:23 (Phillips version) says: “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life”. We don’t really have control over the thoughts that pop into our heads but we do have control over what we do with the thoughts, which ones we allow to run our lives.
Our thoughts do not line up with God”s thoughts.
In Isaiah 55:8&9 The Lord declares, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts”. Maybe our thoughts don”t always line up with the truth.
Do we believe lies to be the truth?
Jeremiah 17:9 says “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” When we are deceived we believe a lie to be the truth. The heart is often referred to in the Bible as the seat of the emotions. God is saying to us `don”t presume what you are thinking is the truth, I am the truth, check it out with Me.’
What can we do to line our thoughts up with those of God?
2 Corinthians 10:5 says “we are to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
How do we make our thoughts obedient to Christ?
We have to know the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Ask the Holy Spirit to help you judge your thoughts and attitudes.
I read a wonderful illustration of this Scripture in a book by Max Lucado. I think the book was called “Just like Jesus”. When a negative thought comes into your head, handcuff the thought and march it down to the Courthouse and present the thought at the judgment seat of Christ. Now imagine saying to Jesus “this thought tells me that I am worthless and unlovable to Jesus, what do you think?” Jesus will tell you to give that thought marching orders, it does not line up with what Scripture says and it is a lie that comes from the enemy camp.
How do you know if your thoughts are becoming more Christ-like?
John 8:32 says “if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What does this freedom feel like?
In John 14:27 Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” When I am examining my thoughts, I use the degree of peace I have as a gauge as to the truth of my thoughts. If a particular thought gives me peace, I settle for that one.
Battleground of the Mind
As Christians we know our final destiny, we are on our way to heaven if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. So Satan has no hold over where we spend our eternity but he does want us to be ineffective here on earth. We are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth and if he can make us ineffective in this role he is happy. Satan cannot read our minds but he knows our weaknesses and will subtly drop thoughts that are lies into our minds that we believe to be the truth. We would not believe blatant lies, but they are subtle and we believe them and act on them.
Ephesians 6:12 says “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.”
There is a spiritual battle on the go. Acknowledge that Satan, who is the Father of all lies, wants you to believe that you are worthless. He drops in these thoughts of you being worthless etc. These thoughts do not come from our loving heavenly Father. Satan gains power when you believe the lie of being worthless, as you will act accordingly.
Peter 5:8 says “Be self-controlled, and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”
A lion always targets the weak in a herd because the weak are easy prey. Likewise Satan knows our weaknesses and he is looking for easy prey. “Stand firm in the faith”. “ Keep connected to other Christians, studying the Word so that you learn the truth.
2 Corinthians 10:3 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 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.”
Our weapons are the Word of God and this is why it is so important to know the Word of God and to know Scripture as this contains the Truth. Holding your own thoughts in higher regard to that of God is “a pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” and is a sin.
Romans 12:2 says “do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
In other words replace the thinking that the world has given you to what scripture says. You renew your mind with scripture, with what God says. If what you believe does not line up with the Word of God you are believing a lie and the only way of knowing what lines up with the Word is studying what it says in the Word. When you believe that you are unlovable just remember whose description of yourself you believe. It is a lie and does not come from our heavenly Father. You won”t find that kind of description of yourself in the Bible. When someone doesn”t like you brush it off with the knowledge of how important you are to God and how deeply he loves you.
God wants you to have the freedom that He can give and He can use all situations for our good. In Luke 22:31 Jesus said to Peter “Simon Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
This verse had personal significance for me because I knew that if my loving Heavenly Father was allowing me to go through this process of being sifted, it must be for the purpose of having something better in the end“ He did. When I had “turned back” I did “strengthen my brothers” through “overcoming depression” groups that I ran. We are often able to help others through what we have learnt in our own difficult times.
Also, always remember how much God loves you. You are in the palm of His hand. Isaiah 43:1-3 reads “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. You are precious and honoured in my sight.”
I find it quite awesome that the creator of the universe cares for each one of us, cares for all the details of our loves and that He knows you and me by name.
May God bless you and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth be your guide on your journey!