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Taking Every Thought Captive
13 March 2013
Although this article can be read on its own, it is also the eighth in a series of articles. You might like to read the previous seven first, in order to understand the context that the following thoughts were written in:
All throughout the Bible, it is clearly stated that we have an enemy, Satan and his demons, who are at war with us. One such verse is 1 Peter 5:8 — "Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." And the Apostle Paul wrote: "We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
Now, it's not very common for a follower of Yeshua (Jesus) to be attacked physically by a demon. Our enemy is much more subtle, and much more effective, than that. Most often, the battleground on which we fight is our mind — our thought life. This is where the devil prowls and roars and searches for a victim to devour — namely, ourself!
But God has not left us helpless and defenseless! He has given us, through His Word, the strategies and weapons we need to defeat this devious enemy and gain total victory. Because we are not fighting flesh-and-blood enemies, but rather spiritual enemies in the battleground of our mind...
...we are human, but we don't wage war as humans do. 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 Messiah. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)Through the horrible emotional meltdown I experienced recently, God has subsequently been showing me a number of things about my inner condition and how I got there. Unfortunately, I have NOT been fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Instead, to my shame, I have been lazy and indulging in all sorts of negative thoughts which have wreaked havoc on my spiritual and emotional well-being. Even worse, I have also been choosing to believe all sorts of slanderous lies about God and His character, which has devastated my relationship with Him.
Through my lack of vigilance, and the cunning subtlety of the enemy, I didn't understand what was happening to me or what to do about it. It seems I needed the shock of my meltdown, during which I felt totally at the mercy of the enemy (who has no mercy!), to wake me up to the reality of my condition. Fortunately for me, the story doesn't end there!
Even as the experience of my meltdown was amazingly horrible, God has turned that around and brought some amazingly good things out of it! The turn-around has truly been stunning. Once He revealed to me how the enemy was abusing me and gaining the victory in the battlefield of my mind, I began to experience an astonishing ability to banish the negative thoughts and lies from my mind. It has seemed almost too easy! Why was I so lazy for so long, letting the enemy have such a powerful influence over me? Well, however that may be, I am so grateful to God for delivering me from that, and showing me how to defeat the enemy!
I found that most of my depression was tied to two interconnecting areas of negative thoughts. The primary area was believing the lies of the enemy about God and His character. For too long I swallowed the poisonous slander of the enemy that God didn't really love me, that He didn't have my best interests at heart, and that I could not trust Him with my life. Obviously, embracing these lies totally devastated my relationship with God, resulting in a lot of depression and other negative emotions.
Related to that area was fearful thoughts about the future. Questions like, "Why was I unemployed for so long?" and "What is God's plan for me?" and "How will we make it financially without a job?" and many, many other anxious thoughts. Such fears were tormenting me, robbing me of peace, and ravaging my emotions. The end result of all of these lies and fears was that I became a spiritual and emotional basket-case, barely able to function in everyday life.
But about two weeks ago, I found I was able to recognize what was happening, and then DO something about it! Since then, whenever a fearful thought about the future comes into my mind, I immediately drive it out of my thoughts. I won't entertain such fears any more! The future is in God's hands, and I can trust Him with it. Amazingly, for two weeks now, I've been able to keep all of these anxious thoughts about the future totally out of my mind. And I fully intend to keep doing so for the rest of my earthly life.
At the same time, somehow, the lies about God have been dispelled from my mind too. I feel that I have a fresh start, and a new closeness to God as my Heavenly Father which I have not experienced for quite a long time. This transformation is quite exciting and encouraging, to say the least! I feel like I have been hibernating through a long, cold, deadly Winter, and now the new life of Spring has come! Like Lazarus, Yeshua has called me from my grave, and I'm alive again! (see John 11)
Of course, it's not enough to only evict negative thoughts and lies from our mind — we must replace them with positive and true thoughts. This is what Paul mentioned in one of his letters:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)Regarding fear of the future, you can't do better than Yeshua's famous words recorded in Matthew 6:25-34 when He explained how God takes care of the birds and the flowers, so we shouldn't worry about matters like food and clothing, therefore...
"...don't you think He'll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."As the New Testament clearly demonstrates, one of the main reasons Yeshua came to Earth as a man was to reveal the Father's intense love for each and every one of us. There are too many verses to quote here, but I will list a few which have been very helpful for me to meditate on:
This article is 16th a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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