Sunday, February 17, 2008

Verse of the week - II Corinthians 10:5

The first steps toward victory in any battle take place in the mind. Taming the tongue requires great diligence, but capturing our thoughts, takes never-ending, painstaking determination. If we seek victory in an area of our lives, we must first win that battle in our minds. God has constantly called me to task in this area. I fall into the 'laid-back' category, and generally refrain from verbalizing my frustrations, but if my thoughts betrayed me many situations would not end so innocently.

The verse of the week is yet to come, but some introduction first. Proverbs 23:6-8 s
ays, "Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. 'Eat and drink!' he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words." God paints such vivid pictures through the writers of Scripture. How often do I outwardly display generosity, but inwardly I'm running my budget numbers, or tax deduction? I pray that my actions overflow from a genuinely generous heart.

Jesus often spoke of the importance of actions born of proper thoughts. As parents we know that true obedience must begin with an obedient heart. I recall the story of a young girl told to stay seated. She sat, while loudly proclaiming, "I may be sitting on the outside, but I am standing on the inside!" True obedience overflows from a submissive heart. We may not verbalize it so plainly, but we still perform shallow acts of deceptive obedience. We need to attack this issue at its root.

Second Corinthians 10:5 says, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." This verse shouts at me every time I read it. As I dress for battle this week, this will be my battle cry. I must take each thought that pops into my head captive, destroying those arguments and lofty opinions that are so far removed from God's perspective. When I begin to mentally roll my eyes at yet another child's request for a snack or drink, or story read; when the phone call interrupts my routine and I prepare to complain internally about the disruption; when an academic concept isn't getting through after multiple explanations, no matter what the attack, I must destroy those lofty opinions that I begin to raise, and take those thoughts captive. God's thoughts and ways are so far above our own. I need to step back and see the big picture, His big picture, and focus on what is good, right, just, holy, pure, of good report.

Thoughts can quickly spiral my day into negativity, transforming my quiet spirit into frustration and tension. Not a temptation uncommon to others, I know, and God has graciously provided a way of escape.This commitment takes daily diligence and God's strength, to capture all we can of our energies and focus for the glory of God.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against
the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

II Corinthians 10:5

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