It has been a long hard week. Due mostly to the fact that the majority of the week I have thought on lies. Not on purpose mind you, but lies nonetheless. It is amazing how quickly these lies filter into our thoughts. Unaware they come and if dwelt upon, they have the tendency to lead you to the bottom of the pit, as they have done for me this week.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 what we are to think upon and in essence what we are not to think upon. He says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
Therefore, we are to think upon that which is true! Now this seems easy right? Wrong! We have to train our minds to do this, because it does not come naturally. Most of us allow our minds to wonder and dart about. As my husband says, my mind is much like spaghetti, and my thoughts tend to go from one extreme to another. Left to itself, my mind will go places it should not and think upon things the Lord never intended.
The enemy longs to distract us and he does this by targeting our thoughts. He longs to get us to believe lies and untruths concerning God, to make us dwell on the past thinking about all the if onlys or worry about the future and all of the what if’s. If that doesn’t work he gets us angry at God by feeding us the lie that God is holding out on us.
How we think affects everything we do and say. This is why Paul tells us to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Paul understood the war that takes place each day in the mind. He knew how strong his emotions were and if he dwelt upon his situation or circumstance (considering he wrote most of the epistles from prison) I’m sure he would have quickly become depressed. So Paul knew he had to be careful and guard his thoughts.
In the book, “Loving God with all of your Mind,” author Elizabeth George explains how serious this is. She says, one day as she was reading Phil. 4:8, the Lord made her aware of the fact that Paul is not just making a suggestion here, he is issuing a command. Therefore when we do not think upon truth, we are sinning. She goes on to say that after understanding the seriousness of this, she began diligently guarding her thoughts and dealing seriously with lies. Casting them out and refusing to think upon anything that was not true. Amazingly as she did this, the stress and worries of life began to fade away and peace filtered in.
Most of us know the Scriptures. We know the truth, we have it memorized and can quote it. The problem is in applying it and living it. Knowing God cares but living as if He doesn’t. Knowing God will never leave or forsake us, yet feeling alone. We know He has good planned for us since before the creation of the world, yet we anxiously look toward our futures.
I know this, because this has been the reality of my week. Knowing in my head the truth, yet dwelling and thinking upon the lies. Living and feeling opposite of that which I know is true. I also know that this is no easy task. For our feelings tend to be stronger than the truth.
So how do we do this? I believe we have to train up our minds. The Lord tells us we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, MIND and strength. We love Him with our minds when we train our minds to think upon truth. We can not be lazy. If we are, the lies will come in unawaringly and they will drag us down. We like the soldiers, must diligently train our minds. When a lie enters, we must cast it out with the truth. Allowing it to linger even for a second has the ability to drag us under.
Then what is true? The truth is, God loves you. He sent his son to die for your sins. He demonstrated His love at Calvary. You are special and important to Him. He even knows the number of hairs on your head and His thoughts of you outnumber the sands on the seashore. You are forgiven and righteous because of Christ. God has good works for you and your life that He planned before the foundation of the world. God does see and He does know what you’re going through. He has not forgotten you nor forsaken you. The Lord cares and is working all things out for good in your life, though at the moment you can not see what He’s doing. God is on His throne and He holds the whole world and your very life in His hand. He is sovereign and nothing takes Him by surprise. He cares for you and He can be trusted.
I encourage you and myself to take these and others truths of His Word to heart. To dwell and delight in these things. To ponder and meditate on truth. To get serious about dealing with lies and training our minds. I realize this is difficult, but I also know it is well worth the effort.