Girlfriends in God - Dec. 29, 2009

December 29, 2009 

Let me think about it! 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
Proverbs 4:23 (ICB) "Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." 

Friend To Friend 
I just love going through airport security where I am required to show my driver's license to several hundred security personnel. My bags are rammed through an x-ray machine and I repeatedly have to answer the same set of questions about the contents of every bag. If you fly at all, you know the drill. "Are these your bags? Have they been in your possession at all times? Has anyone given you anything to carry on the plane? Please jump through this fiery hoop, prepare for a strip search and roll up your sleeve. Oh, and we will need a blood sample." Well, I may have added a question or two, but it seems like a ridiculous and necessary ordeal … until I stop and remember that the security check is a life-saving process for my good and for the safety of every person on my plane. We should have this same attitude about our thoughts.           

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ICB), Paul instructs us to "capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ." Capturing thoughts is an obedient and powerful tactic of spiritual warfare, taking hold of wrong thinking and wrestling it into a disciplined submission. The Word of God is the filter through which every thought should pass. When those old, false mental tapes begin to play, dismiss them with Scripture. When temptation comes or a crisis looms, lean on His truth. We can't use the Word of God unless it is hidden in our heart.

Years ago, we moved into a great house with a huge back yard, which our children immediately proclaimed as "the perfect spot for a trampoline." Since they had worked so hard helping us move, we rewarded them by buying the trampoline they had wanted for so long. As we unpacked and assembled the trampoline, I also unpacked memories from my college years.

One of my P.E. courses included six weeks of instruction on the trampoline. My class couldn't wait to get started! However, before anyone set foot on that trampoline, the professor spent several class periods going over the safety rules. We didn't need rules!  How hard could it be? You get on the thing and jump! Not so, according to our teacher.

With great persistence, she detailed rule after rule, especially the one about making sure you "lead your body with your head" - or something like that - I really wasn't listening. She persisted, even though it was obvious that we were ready for her to be quiet, move out of the way and let us jump. I guess she thought desperate measures were called for as she began sharing every injury of every student in every class she had ever taught over the years - injuries that happened, she said, because the students were impatient and ignored the rules.

Finally, the teacher ended the class by saying, "Good gymnasts know that where their head goes, the rest of their body will eventually follow." To this day, every time I see a trampoline, those words pop into my mind. And they are just as true when applied to our thoughts.

In the war with temptation and sin, our greatest battlefield is the mind. We are constantly at war for its control. To live right, must think right. Proverbs 23:7 (NASB) says it well, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."  Everything we do or say originates with a single thought. Filling our minds with truth will fill our lives with truth. Isaiah says "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You." (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) In this verse, fixed" literally means "loyal or faithful" and refers to the same kind of faithfulness found in marriage. In order to discipline and guard our thoughts, we must make the commitment of being married to the truth of God. 

If, however, our minds are not filled with truth, the enemy will pollute them with lies. Polluted minds produce polluted lives but mind pollution can only happen with our permission. I am amazed at how many of us rarely have a fresh word from God or a new truth found in a daily quiet time with Him. God's Word is a powerful purification system for the mind, reprogramming and training thoughts to line up according to God's standards. Depositing God's Word into the mind results in a holy discernment and God-given strength to recognize and turn away from sin. It is the idea of placing a sentry or guard at the entrance of the mind, giving him the authority to determine what does or does not come in. We are quick to give the custody of our mind away to lesser things, to unworthy goals or desires and thoughts, to sin. Understand that if it is going on in the mind, it is reality and often the first step toward the edge of a very dangerous cliff.

The story is told of an eagle perched on a block of ice just above Niagara Falls. As the swift current carried the ice and the great eagle closer to the edge of the falls, the eagle ignored the warning cries of other birds and animals. "I have great and powerful wings," he boasted. "I can fly from my perch at any time. I can handle it." Suddenly the edge of the falls was only a few feet away, the torrent of water carrying the block of ice over the powerful cascade. The eagle spread his massive wings to mount up over the impending doom only to discover that it was too late. His claws were frozen to the cake of ice. Sin is like that. 

When we allow our minds to "perch" on sinful thought patterns, we entertain destruction.  Our arrogance blinds us to the ramifications of sinful behavior and soon, we find ourselves on the brink of disaster, wondering how we got there. How many lives are destroyed by a habit that began with one wrong thought?  Have you allowed destructive thoughts to rule your life? No more! Right now, choose God's truth over Satan's lies. Get God's Word into your mind ... and think about it!

Let's Pray 
Father, as this New Year begins, I want to honor You with my thoughts, attitudes and behavior. Right now, I choose to put Your truths into my mind by reading and memorizing Scripture more consistently. Help me to see those things that create negative and destructive thoughts and then give me the strength to eliminate each one. Thank You for the power of the Bible. Help me to plug it into my mind and life today.

In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Read and memorize the following verses: 

            Isaiah 26:3  

            Proverbs 23:7 

            2 Corinthians 10:5

When a negative or destructive thought comes to mind, dismiss it by saying one of these verses aloud.

Ask God to make you more aware of thoughts that do not honor and please Him.

Identify and eliminate any sources of unworthy thoughts (television shows, movies, books, conversations)

Ask your family to hold you accountable. Give them permission to correct you when your words are destructive. Then correct the thought that led to those negative words.

More From The Girlfriends 
I know. Retraining our thought life is one of the most challenging parts of the journey for me. I can think one wrong thought and before I know it, I am overwhelmed by darkness, despair, anger and just plain destructive thoughts! I am convinced that the habit of reading and memorizing Scripture is our greatest weapon in the battle for the mind.

Need help in developing the habit of a daily time in the Word of God and in prayer?  We all do, girlfriend!  Mary's weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey, may be the solution for you. Take a look at the topics for 2010.  Remember, God's Word is the secret to a life of victory and power!

You can also now connect with Mary on Facebook!  I would love to hear your "thoughts about thoughts." 

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.

Originally published Tuesday, 29 December 2009.