I have an English Bulldog named Serge who is as stubborn as a mule. If you know anything about Bulldogs, you know that stopping them once they have decided to do something is like attempting to stop a freight train. Although we have Serge on weight-management food, he loves to eat our other dog’s food.
It usually goes like this: two bowls of food are sitting out, and Serge has finished his quota. I will see him sitting five feet from the other dog’s bowl. If I see Serge even glance in the direction of the other bowl, I know he is going to go for that food. It is a chain reaction every time. I must constantly remind him that I will beat his rear end at that moment I see him thinking about going for the other food. Otherwise, he is a goner. At the point he even looks in the direction of the forbidden fruit, I must stop him.
I imagine our minds work this way.
A friend has told me that our feelings start with our thoughts. Thoughts lead to feelings, and feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to habits. And before we know it, that one thought that was contrary to Christ led to habits that are contrary to Christ.
And this is why we must take every thought captive. The humor in my anecdote is not meant to trivialize this principle. Just as I must address Serge at the moment I see him even considering the other bowl of food, I must address my thoughts at the moment they are inconsistent with our Lord. By addressing these thoughts, we also address our feelings that affect our actions that affect our habits.
And this is not a passive exercise. This exercise is also more than combating sinful thoughts; we must combat discouraging thoughts; we must combat fearful thoughts; we must combat thoughts stemming from satan’s lies; we must combat flesh-filled thoughts; we must combat any and every thought contrary to the Spirit within us. This exercise is more than deliberately realizing my thought is contrary to Christ. We must then make every thought obedient to Christ.
This is a two-step process that will not happen on its own: we recognize a thought is inconsistent with Christ, and we replace the thought with Truth. And this requires that we know the Truth. And this requires that we are relentless because often we are replacing the same single thought with Truth over and over and over.
I pray we spend more time with our Lord and in His Word so that we may know the Truth. I pray the Lord prompts us to recognize our thoughts that are contrary to our Lord. I pray we recognize the lies that have pervaded our thinking so much so that we accept the lies as truth. I pray we take these thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ. Praise God that He has set us free from mental 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 10:5 NIV).
“The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV).
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV).
What if I told you I am a coffee-creamer hoarder? If this is a sickness, I don’t want to be well.
Much love to you,