Communion Sunday at NCWC is a joyous but sobering time for me. I am reminded of the cross and what Jesus endured for me. I am reminded how He has forgiven me, set me free and that I have a home in heaven awaiting me. I am also reminded Jesus went to the cross because of me. Sin and disobedience in my life is what compelled Jesus to the cross. That is some crazy love!
If you are like me and the week rolls around things get busy and we get distracted. Lately, I have had some distractions. I have become a grandma in the last month and during this time Eric has been very sick. Unfortunately, my thoughts have been elsewhere. I have not guarded my mind and have leaned too far into worry. I have not practiced Philippians 4:8 “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.”
Instead of Jesus being in that rightful and elevated place that He belongs, my thoughts have placed Him amongst all of the distractions, aka: worries. The battle has truly been in my mind. The battle has been vicious. It has been intense. It has been unrelenting, and it is has been unfair. But then again Satan never plays fair. And the reason why it is so intense is that my greatest asset is my mind.
I know whatever gets your mind gets you. In my case it has been worry. So one of the most important things we need to learn and teach others is how to guard, strengthen, and renew our minds, because the battle over sin always starts in the mind.
“Though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh [in other words, we don’t fight with armor, we don’t fight with politics, we don’t fight with money, we don’t fight with all the humanistic ways]. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” II Corinthians 10:3-5
The apostle Paul says here that our job in this battle is to “destroy strongholds.” You know what a stronghold is? It is a mental block. Paul is talking about pretentions, arguments set up against the knowledge of God. This is a mental battle. Paul says, “Destroy these strongholds.”
A stronghold can be one of two things:
- It can be a worldview, such as materialism, hedonism, Darwinism, secularism, relativism, communism, or atheism. All of the different-isms are mental strongholds that people set up against the knowledge of God.
- A stronghold can also be a personal attitude. Worry can be a stronghold. Seeking the approval of other people can be a stronghold. Anything that you make an idol in your life can be a stronghold — fear, guilt, resentment, and insecurity. All of these things can be strongholds in your mind. And the Bible says that we are to tear them down.
Now look at the very last phrase in the passage: “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Make it obedient. Bring into submission, to bring under control. But how do you do that? How do I make my mind mind? I have noticed that my mind doesn’t always mind. It is often disobedient. It is often very rebellious. It wants to go in a different direction. When I want to think a certain way, it wants to go another way. When I need to ponder, it wants to wander. When I need to pray, my thoughts want to float away. Below are a couple of tips to help make your mind mind.
- Don’t believe everything you think Just because you get a thought doesn’t mean it’s correct. Satan makes suggestions all the time. Our minds are broken by sin. Which means we cannot trust even what we think. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Ask God to search and test your thoughts. Don’t believe everything you think. Test every thought.
- The second thing to learn in this battle for the mind is guarding your mind from garbage. The old cliché – GIGO, garbage in/garbage out – is still true today. Nourish a Godly mind. Make sure that you are growing and developing. Psalm 119:15 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Mediate and fix. Study and reflect.
As I have allowed the distractions to set up a stronghold of worry in my life this past month. I have placed myself in a vulnerable spot to the enemy. I have believed too many things that I had thought. Then there comes this time of love and grace and conviction from the Lord. He ever so gently reminds me that the answer to capturing my thoughts is in Scripture, hidden in plain sight. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Capturing your thoughts requires stillness. Something I wasn’t making time for because of a stronghold that started with a worry. So as long as we have no time for prayer, our thoughts, emotions, and feelings will continue calling the shots. We can’t afford not to “Be still.”
Children’s Ministry Director