‘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 (our weapons) 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 10:3
What is a stronghold?
A stronghold is any thought or behavior that controls us and no matter how hard we try we just feel helpless and unable to get the upper hand. It is a battle.
We know what God thinks about us, that He loves us with a never-ending love, that Jesus died to save us, so how can we hold onto thoughts that tell us that we’re unlovable and worthless?
But because these negative thoughts about ourselves are in our minds, we presume them to be the truth. Seldom do we wonder what God thinks about what we believe about ourselves. Maybe we should!
The weapon that we’ve been given to demolish these strongholds, these thoughts and behaviors that unmercifully take us captive, is the Holy Spirit. That is the ‘divine’ weapon that we’ve been given. Ask the Holy Spirit about your thoughts, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. It is sin to hold your thoughts in higher regard to the thoughts of God.
I know this from my own depression about 18 years ago. These terrible thoughts were going through my mind and I just wanted to curl up and die. The Holy Spirit then brought to my awareness that my thoughts certainly did not line up with what God thought about me. All I could do was say sorry to God and reject those thoughts. With that I was ‘miraculously’ better and jumped out of bed with a new spring in my step. Oh, the terrible control that our thoughts can have on us!
Without realizing it I was obedient to this Bible verse. I ‘demolished’ the false belief. The verse further says that ‘we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’
Take every thought captive
Max Lucado in his book ‘Just like Jesus’ says:
‘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, 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’.
Give ‘this method’ a try. I’d also love to hear about your experience.
Til next time, have a blessed week!
A few months ago my husband and I went on holiday to the Western Cape of South Africa to see the wild flowers in full bloom. This was truly a spectacular sight – swathes of color as far as the eye could see!
Beauty on One Side Only!
What struck me was the realization that the colors of the flowers weren’t visible from all angles. The flowers all turned to face the sun and looking at them from ‘behind’ you’d have no idea that there was a flower in sight! Their beauty came from facing the sun, from being bathed in light. The side that faced the ‘dark’, the shadow side, showed no color and no beauty at all.
Light of the World!
That image got me thinking! Today the Christians all over the world celebrate Resurrection Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is also known as the ‘Light of the World’. I then understood the message the flowers were giving me. When we keep ourselves turned towards Jesus, towards the truth, living our lives in the light, we will display His beauty. When we live our lives in the dark, trying to hide what we do, in deception, we cannot show that same beauty. It is the Son that reveals our beauty!
Deception is when we believe a lie to be the truth and it will always get us into trouble. Many people battling to overcome depression will believe a lie to be the truth. Thoughts like you’re worthless, unlovable, stupid, to name only a few, are actually lies. Our behavior matches what we believe so believing these lies to be the truth will keep a person living half a life, hobbling along. Examine your thoughts for the truth and replace any lies for the truth. The Bible says ‘you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!’ Happy Easter!
Click here to learn more about changing the way you think.
This is the most common regret people have as they reach the end of their lives. Isn’t it true that many of us worry excessively about what other people might think about us. How often did we hear parents say ‘don’t do that, what will other people think about you’. No wonder the world abounds with people pleasers! We all want to be accepted and loved, so we behave in a particular way just to get the approval of others.
The stress of being a people pleaser often ends up in depression. Really not surprising, is it? Trying to please everyone is inevitably going to lead straight down the road to failure. You simply can’t be successful living according to someone else’s expectations! To live an authentic life, you have to live a life true to yourself.
Don’t depend on other people for affirmation. Look inside yourself for what is right. Rather seek affirmation from the Lord.
In Jeremiah 17:5-8 (ESV) the Lord tells us why:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
When you meet the Lord one day he is not going to congratulate you on living a life that others expected of you. He will ask why you didn’t live like the person He made you to be!
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!