Monday, September 9, 2013

I determine what I think

I struggle.

There.  I said it.  At times I struggle with thoughts that I am ashamed of.  I struggle with depression and even low self-esteem at times.  I struggle with anger and even with selfishness.  But I bet it is good that you know you don’t struggle with any of those things.  Right?

We all struggle.  That is a fact.  As I unloaded on a friend some of the struggles of late I was reminded of just how human struggles are.  We aren’t alone.  In fact every one of us has one struggle or another or multiple struggles that tie us up and keep us from advancing and growing through them.  It helps me to have a couple guys that I can share my struggles with.  That is called accountability, and I’m not great at that.  But I am trying.

Through the struggles I admit that Satan is the author of lies and seeks to put thoughts in my mind and to get me to act on them.  I do everything in my power (there’s a problem, my power) to not let Satan know what I am thinking about.  When he doesn’t know what I am thinking, it is easier to step in the right direction or to put off the stuff that I don’t want to struggle with any more.

The struggle sucks.  It drains my mind and my heart.  The struggle often drains my passion and drive to move forward with what God is doing.  I still have passion, but it becomes a fight as I let the struggles continue.

We all stumble.  We all will deal with struggles, yet we can do some things that will make the struggles be more bearable or even for them to go away.  Let’s think through some of the things that God gives us with the struggles.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

The issue of “taking every thought captive” is both a positive and a negative issue.  One of the struggles I deal with is over the issue of money or the lack thereof.  To take thoughts captive means that I chose to stop worrying because I know God is in control and going to provide what is needed.  Further, there are times when my thoughts are about the future of our church and the impact we will have (or other good things).  I need to capture those and think more about them.  Taking them captive may mean writing them down and researching through them. 

If you are struggling with thoughts as I do, take them captive.  Throw the wrong thoughts out.  Put right thoughts in their place.  Fill in the gaps left by wrong thoughts with the things God says about you and to you.  God loves you.  God is protecting you and your family.  God has a plan for you and for me.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

We chose what we think about.  I have a hard time with the fact that I am my biggest critic thinking that I deserve being punished or suffering.  I think that I ought to struggle.  Maybe you do this too, but at times I like to roll around in the struggle.  That is not the right place.  Chose what you think about.  The right, the true, the excellent…when we chose the best things to think about, those thoughts will lead to even greater and better thinking.

It isn’t easy to always choose what to think.  Yet what you look at, listen to and stay around you will think about and think about a lot. 

I close with one of my favorite verses that I quote often.  I quote it because God used this verse in my life not long after I got saved.  It has also influenced me hundreds of times since.  Chose what you think about.  I determine what I think, and my choice is to let God win the battle in my mind.

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Thank you to all who have prayed for my wife Julie as she is healing from gall bladder surgery.  Julie goes back to work this morning and is feeling much better.  Praise the Lord for Pastor Tim Lavinder and The Ridge Church that had it’s first Sunday worship today.  Pray for this new church and people!

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