In a study done by the NSF, it is said that humans have an average of 50,000 thoughts per day. The more astounding finding is that 60-80% of these thoughts are negative. Wow! This is pretty sad, it shows that humans are pre-dominantly narcissistic. Thank you Jesus that we have been born again as new creations and we do not have to succumb to the ways of the world! :)
Recently I was asked, "If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?" My answer was simply, "to change the way people think." Why? Because the way we think is the root to all of our actions, and behaviors. If everybody truly believed and thought like Christ, we would have one amazing world! Repentance is actually an act of renewing your mind, which is quite a big deal to Jesus.
I want to share with you today how to be happy. Not so you can live in la la land but so you can become a powerful force for good. For happy people destroy hell much more than sad people. :) The goal of the enemy is to keep us bound in depression, confusion, despair, insecurity, condemnation, and fear. How does he do this? He shoots his fiery darts (thoughts) at us, and those who aren't wearing their armor get whacked... In a bad way...
Heres an example, maybe you can relate to this, I sometimes find myself having a make belief argument with someone in my head. This "fake" argument actually causes you to get angry and bitter. This sounds silly but it happens. I believe this is an aspect of spiritual warfare. Amongst other things, condemnation, negative self talk, and lies are great ways he likes to attack us. The enemy is out to dominate our minds so he can keep us powerless, confused, and on the sideline, never actually getting in the game.
I have good news though, its really not that hard to win in this battle. Why? Because satan is not Gods equal and Jesus has already won the battle. Our job is found in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, "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 Christ."
I like that! We get to have fun dominating hell every day. My goal is to help you see the value in managing your thought life like never before. It is the root system of all greatness and success.
What does taking every thought captive look like?
We use language like, "fighting the good fight of faith," "submitting to God and resisting the devil," but what does this actually look like? First of all, I believe that the war is a war for our mind. If the enemy can dethrone God from our minds, then he has room to work in our lives. This is why in 1 Peter 5:8 he says, " Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
We cannot be foolish with our heads in the sand thinking that there is no devil. On the other hand, we cannot be so devil focused that we are constantly worrying about what he is going to do next. That would be equally as foolish. The key is to live from heaven to earth because that is where we are seated (Eph 2:6.) This is where we must dwell in our thought life. Since we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), our thoughts should be just that. Bill Johnson says, "I cannot afford to have a thought in my head that isn't in His." This is a beautiful way to describe it.
God has given us self control. We may not be able to control what comes to the door of our minds, but we sure don't have to let those thoughts come in and steal our goodies. Thieves can come to my door, but why the heck would I let them in and plunder my house? But this is what unassuming people do when they allow condemnation, guilt, shame, poverty, depression, or any other mindset come into their house. I don't know about you, but Christ made me a dwelling place for Him and Him alone.
So how do we actually take captive our thoughts?
1. Emotional and spiritual Intelligence- Emotions are a gift from God. They are not evil. We can use emotions as indicators. Just like a buoy is used to indicate many underlying variables such as tide, tsunami warnings, currents, and other things, so do our emotions show us whats going on in our internal world. This is where skill of self awareness comes in. Im not speaking about introspection, where your always naval gazing wondering if your doing ok. Self awareness is a learned skill that we must cultivate in order to live the abundant life. This skill helps us become aware of whats getting in our atmosphere. Our emotions are indicators of what voices we are listening to. We can hear many voices, the enemy, other peoples stuff, God, and our own. We must be samurais when it comes to managing our state of mind.
The first step is to be aware of whats going on inside you. Once you are aware of the thought or belief that is causing you to feel a certain way you can change it. But you certainly can't change something you don't know is there. Most of the time we are feeling a certain way and we have no idea why. This is where we partner with Holy Spirit to help us get our minds back in alignment with heaven. For example, if your feeling discouraged its because your listening to the voice of the enemy telling you lies like, "see you will never make it," or, "God really isn't that good," or "your not really that anointed."
We can ask God to show us the truth in these moments and switch the tape so to speak. Sometimes the best thing to do is hit the ignore button on those lies that want to get your attention. When we believe lies, we live in a place of disempowerment, and this is the root of powerlessness, sickness, poverty, and all kinds of evil. We must be furious with the truth at all times. When we abide in the truth we live empowered by The Holy Ghost because the TRUTH is a person not just a belief system.
This is a much more fun and exciting place to live from!
I have always been curious as to what abiding really looks like. I think it mostly means to be intentional about what we are focusing our minds on. Let me explain...
In Philippians 4:8-9 it says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."
See, this is an exhortation to be intentional about what we are mediating on. The greatest spiritual warfare is to have your thoughts so focused on the glory of The Lord that you aren't even aware of the enemy. Its called divine ignorance. Bill Johnson says, "I look at the devil long enough to pull the trigger." Such a good word!
This is why we must, " be transformed by the renewing of your mind…" We have to get our thoughts into the constant flow of positivity, empowerment, authority, and power straight from heaven. Its really not that hard, its just a matter of having the knowledge. And this is what your getting right now. Bam! :)
So this is what I believe Jesus was talking about in John 15 when it comes to abiding in Him. Its staying in the river of His love, meditating on glorious truths of The Gospel, gazing into His beauty, and receiving power from on high!
I used to have the most difficult time with this. I used to struggle with a lot of condemnation, insecurity, guilt, shame, and discouragement. But by the grace of God, over the last year or so the effort put in to renew my mind has paid off. Im not saying I'm perfect at this, but the times spent in discouragement last hours instead of days, weeks, and months. Its not really a matter of time, its a matter of faith. For the "just shall live by faith" right? Once we know the truth, it shall set us free. (John 8:32) Nowadays, my mind is constantly contemplating the goodness of God. I am usually chewing on various scriptures the Lord pops into my head. Basically, I filled with happy thoughts, because God is happy, and He lives in me, therefore of course I am going to be happy, it makes logical sense. See, thoughts carry life because thoughts are a spiritual substance, and whatever dominates our thoughts will ultimately manifest in our external world. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…" So if what you say is constantly negative, that is a sure sign of what you are meditating on.
Change your thoughts, and you will change your life.
Lets be like the psalmist who wrote in chapter 1 v 2, "Instead, his delight is in the LORD's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night." Lets keep our thoughts wholly fixed on the The Lord, day and night. At first, it won't be easy, but renewing the mind is a process and the reward is unfathomable. Just imagine the possibility, no matter the circumstance, you can live in a place of abundance and freedom. Things like depression and discouragement won't even be understood by you anymore. This is The Gospel, having victory and joy in the midst of circumstantial turmoil. You can live from heaven to earth. All it takes is a choice. You are powerful. You have the capacity to renew your mind to the truths and the realities of Christ in you. You are a river overflowing with the glory of The Lord. As you set your heart to this journey, you will find true happiness, true peace, and true power to be about the Fathers business. The best part of all, by the Grace of God you will be enabled to do this. Its not by might, or by power, but by the spirit of the lord! Come on Jesus!!
Your turn: What have your experiences been with spiritual warfare? Your victories and successes? Comment below. :)