We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:5-6 ESV)
You know how when you personally have a character quality that you dislike in yourself, how you really dislike that quality in others? Well…
Critical, negative, grumbling is mine. It is something I am fully aware of and prayerfully strive to overcome through the power God’s Holy Spirit. I’ve been learning, as He is teaching me through this writing process that He has called me to, that in order to change this I must think differently about those same situations. Rather than criticizing, how can I encourage, teach, train, humble myself, and be a blessing. And I’ll tell you, even though my motivation and thinking have changed, sometimes the words and tone that come forth from my mouth haven’t changed enough.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:2-5 ESV)
I must renew my mind with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. I must recognize and take captive those thoughts that are worldly and selfish. And I must make them obey Jesus. God does the work, but I must make the choice to work with Him in submission and in agreement with Him in purpose.
In order for me to transform my thoughts to the obedience of Christ I must know what God’s word says. Biblical literacy is extremely important in the life of a mature Christian. Ask one if you doubt me. They love God’s word and for good reason. It is LIFE to them.
As long as I’m living and breathing I will be a work in progress in the potter’s hands.
A principle of scripture that guides my life is choice. From the garden of Eden until today it is about choice. Adam had a choice. Cain had a choice. Judas had a choice. Satan had a choice. You and I also have a choice, and God has set before us His Word and His Son to be an example for us to choose wisely.
Faith – there is an entire chapter of God’s word that lays out the faithfulness of many who have come before us. Without faith it is impossible to please God. It is by faith in Christ alone that my soul has been redeemed from an eternity in hell. Choose faith. The reality is that you already have faith in something. I dare you to examine what that is and to compare it against the Creator of all things; the Almighty God, the one true God. Choose wisely. It will affect your eternity.
Trust – trust is faith in action. Walking in full assurance of the promises of God is a choice and a matter of the heart. To check your trust in God, ask yourself “What do I fear? What am I trying to control?”
Joy – oh beloved, this is your choice. God has given you all that you need to accomplish His purposes in your life. If you have trusted in Christ Jesus as your personal savior, your eternity is firmly set in heaven with God. There is nothing that this world can do to change that. This reality should always be your anchor for joy. God loves you so much that He sent His son to redeem you by the shedding of His own blood. You now have the righteousness of Jesus. Choose joy regardless of these earthly, temporary circumstances.
Gratitude – A choice that leads to humility and contentment. It saved my marriage. Learning to be thankful even for those little graces in life changes your attitude and your heart. It is most definitely a choice that we need to walk in daily. Eliminate negative self-talk. Count your blessings and give all thanks and praise to God.
Love – The two greatest commandments. God’s nature. His love resides within us through His Holy Spirit. It enables us to love others even when they are unlovely. God loves us even when we were still deeply lost in our sin. Love is most definitely a choice not a feeling. Our culture has so messed up defining what true love is that without God’s truth about the matter, we would all be deceived. It is a choice to love your husband. It is a choice (some days) to love your children. It is a choice to love that grouchy angry person in the store. It is a choice to offer love to your enemies as God did.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)
Choosing comes after believing – it is our faith walked out in our life. It is a reflection of how we view God. If the things you are choosing are not lining up with God’s word, ask yourself, “Why is that? Do I not have a right understanding of Who God is or of What He has done for me? Do I not believe His word?”
God has blessings upon blessings to give to us if we would only walk in obedience to Him rather than in trying to please self. It takes intentionality. It takes raw honesty. It takes being vulnerable. It requires killing your pride. It requires complete submission to God’s will.
Father God, please don’t leave me this way. I trust You Lord and I cling to the promises You give me in Your word. Forgive me when I fall short and I sin against You and others. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me fully understand the truth of Your Word. Give me the strength to step out in faith and to accomplish those good works that You have prepared for me to do. Forgive my unbelief. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
God is able. He is good. He loves you always. But the choice is yours beloved. Choose wisely. Take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Transform your mind. Be encouraged. Press on!