Monday, January 27, 2014

Guard your mind

Why is it so easy for us to believe those little lies that Satan continually whispers in our ear? Why is it so hard to understand and believe the truth of God's Word? In today's devotional, I hope to help you understand a little more about how our thought processes work with regard to spiritual matters.

You've heard the old saying "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." While that's true, we often choose to allow things to enter the gateway to our mind without filtering them. One of Satan's key weapons is suggestive thought. How many times have you been bombarded with negative thoughts? Where do you think those come from? Satan is the master deceiver and often he will convince you that those negative thoughts belong to you alone and that he had nothing to do with them...but don't fall for that! The Bible says that he is a liar and a deceiver. In order to understand how Satan manipulates us into thinking negatively, we must first understand a few things about the mind that God gave us.

Our minds are amazing! We can think about things, remember things, forget things, and store things away to think upon at a later time. God created our minds so that we might commune with him. But with so many thoughts constantly bombarding our minds, we have to be careful to protect it. So how can we guard our minds? Well, the first way to guard our minds is to capture every thought that comes into it. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (New Living Translation), the Bible says, "We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ."  In order to capture those negative thoughts, the ones that Satan uses to condemn you, you have to hold them up to the light of God's Word which reveals all truth. And to do that, you have to know what the Bible says about the things we are to think upon.

What are we supposed to think about? Well, in Philippians 4:8, the Bible says we are to think on the things that are true, pure, lovely and those things of good report. We aren't supposed to focus on the bad, degrading, negative things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV) says "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things".

God gave you power over your mind. You can turn off those negative thoughts by choosing to set your mind. What does that mean? It means you choose to think on the things that God deems important and those things are not the things of this world. The things that God deems important are spiritual things. We are to live according to the Spirit. What does that mean, you may ask...well, when we choose to live according to the Spirit, we choose to live by the fruits of the Spirit and those include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. It's a lot to take in, but let me see if I can break it down a little easier for you. 

1. Capture every thought that comes into your mind. We receive thoughts from both God and from Satan. We also have thoughts from our heart that come from our own fleshly desires and our sinful nature. So when a thought enters your mind, stop! It only takes a few minutes to filter the thought when you've trained yourself to know the difference between how God speaks to us and how Satan speaks to us.

2. Take your thought and hold it up to the light of God's Word by asking yourself some questions...does this thought line up with Scripture? Is it a thought that brings joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. into my life? Is this thought fleshly? Is it negative, demeaning, accusing? If the thought is not pointing you to Christ, then it is not from God. Romans 8:5 (NIV) says "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires".

3. Renew your thinking by renewing your mind! Choose to constantly filter your mind by capturing those thoughts and choose to think the way God wants you to think. He doesn't want you to think depressing, negative, crippling thoughts. Romans 12:2 (NIV) says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is his good, pleasing and perfect will."

4. Set your mind. This means you choose to think about the things that God wants you to think about.  Colossians 3:2 (NIV) says "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things".

5. Remember the 4 R's:
Recognize: determine whether the thought or belief is true or false.
Refuse the thought or belief if it isn't true.
Remember that you are dead to sin and alive in Christ!
Rest in God's peace as you practice capturing your thoughts daily.

It takes practice to guard the gate to your mind. You must choose daily whether you are going to filter your mind or allow any and everything that comes your way to enter it. You have the right to refuse any thought that is not from God. You may want to speak out loud and say "I know that is not true! You are a liar and deceiver, Satan." Or you may choose to quietly think this in your mind "I will not accept this thought because I know it is not true. It does not come from God. It does not point to Christ." Either way you choose to filter your mind, remember that God wants to bless you. He wants you to have joy and peace in your life. He wants you to remember who you are in Him...a special, beautiful, child of the most High God! Don't fall for those lies straight from the pit of hell, the ones that tell you that you aren't good enough, you aren't worthy, you can't...you won't...you'll never...
Just like a goalie in a soccer game, defend your mind!!! Keep all those negative thoughts at bay and only let the ones that line up with God's word into your mind. He wants you to prosper and live in peace both in your heart and in your mind.

Philippians 4:7 (Amplified Bible) says "And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind". 

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