In the storms of life, the battle is for your thought life.
The enemy injects thoughts of fear, the “what if’s,” Past failures, fears for the future, and discouragement, all to seek you to turn aside from thinking on the truth of who God is, and who you are in Christ. He wants to inject perceptions that are not true, warped, to tempt you to embrace them as though you are alone in the storm and all is lost. All is hopeless. As though at times there is no forgiveness for you, no blood that can cleanse the deepest stain of sin. Or to tempt you to “feel” as though God does not exist and if He does, He certainly does not care about you!
It only takes one drop of unlove, to poison your thought life and tempt you to act on your emotions as “lord” rather than submitting to the truth of the LORD as the guide and Governor for thinking, doing in daily living.
Feelings can be a wonderful gift from God but they can at times also be not from Him and wrong and how often in anger, fear, discouragement or some other sinful emotion acted upon them rather than submitting to the Truth of God’s Word, we subject ourselves to be “governed” by them as though they are “truth” and they are “real” and all else including what God says is not! No, we may never dare to say that publicly but we live like it and so we do say it out loud! And so in choosing to “trust” in “our”- “feelings” as “truth” we often subject ourselves to pain and live in spiritual defeat. We live more by our emotions than in the truth of His Word and we often live “roller coaster” Christian lives – tossed to and fro by every wind of teaching Paul says, with no discernment, and blown over by every storm that comes our way. Like a tall tree, a Pine tree perhaps, yet without deep roots, we succumb again and again to the storms, unsure, unstable, and suspicious of God, and our conclusions and perceptions of God’s love are dependent on “our” circumstances and how “we feel.” If life is hard, we “feel” God must be angry with us or not love us. We fail to remember Jesus ” learned obedience through the things He suffered.” We forget to remember Jesus has said,” in this world, you will have trouble, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.” We have forgotten His Word,” those who DESIRE to live Godly shall suffer harassment.” We have failed to remember trials ate inevitable but God uses them to produce spiritual stability and maturity through them as we respond His way.- James 1:2-4. We fail to remember as I often do, one of my favorite verses, “after you have suffered a little while, THE God of ALL Grace WILL HIMSELF (note He does not leave this to another but personally, intimately caringly, lovingly is Actively involved)
“… Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ WILL HIMSELF, PERFECT, STRENGTHEN and ESTABLISH …YOU…” Think on what He is going to do as a result if the storm! He is involved and going to produce some wonderful character traits And indeed – “spiritual stamina,” backbone, plant you as a tree with deep, deep roots, so you can stand in the storm and though you may bow you will not break! He will impart spiritual maturity, understanding and strength – for your storms so you can not only face them but go through them triumphantly because you KNOW HIM who controls the storm and who is with you in the storm and is working all things, including “this storm” for good-your good- because you DO LOVE HIM-Rom 8:28-29!
As an athlete in pre-season training goes through a rigorous exercise where at times his or her mind tells him to “quit…,” it’s too much…”
But as he or she refuses to yield to their aching body and “feelings” to quit, the very thing that seems to cause so much pain- and it does- is being used to be strengthened under the wisdom, and skills of knowledgeable trainers, who know how to get the athlete to peek condition so that when the games begin he or she is in the top physical condition and can stand the rigors of all out action! A soldier in training, likewise can at times “feel” like quitting, they cannot take one more drill, one more obstacle course, one more repetition, but endure and when the battle comes they are ready, they are equipped! So, God, your God uses trials, “storms” not to sink you but train you, strengthen you, and reveal Himself to you by drawing you closer to Himself not to destroy you but develop you and display Himself to and through you and Equip you to be a blessing to others in their Storms (See James 1:2-5 and notably 2 Cor 1:4)
Your Godly response to “your storms” can produce great blessings for you, OTHERS, and Honor God.
But it must begin with ADJUSTING your THINKING to GOD”S Word. Not merely agreeing with it and amening it with your lips, for James say we must be “DOERS of the Word” lest we “deceive…” who? “…Ourselves!”… “Feelings” which would seek to malign, dishearten you or cause self-pity must be treated with contempt and rejected for they will only lead you to ultimate despair and dishonor God and others will not be ministered to by one who knows brokenness but in their brokenness gives girth the sweet aroma of Christ, in their service to others! Indeed the hand that crushes the Rose gives off the aroma of its scent, personally I have found often those who have suffered most often give off the sweetest, compassionate aroma of Christ to others- as a result, that they Chose to respond His Way to His Word!
I once heard it said,” show me a man of compassion and I will show you his usefulness.”
God uses, circumstances, His Word, and His Spirit to mold us and make us into His image (See Rom 8:29) my heart’s desire as I write this is that if you are in a storm know, based on Scripture you are not alone, have not been abandoned by God, His Word is true, His promises are yours. His faithful love for you because of Jesus never wavers! I want you to have what Ge desires for you- HOPE! ( see Rom 15:13)
Martin Luther said, ” Feelings come, feelings go, my trust is in the Written Word naught else is worth believing!” In the ” warfare for your mind, the evil one throws grenades of half-truths, lies, discouragement, and doubts about God, your salvation, His love and ability ti meet you.
LEARNING TO RENEW YOUR THINKING- (Note the order)
The evil one”s attempt is to have you live in defeat and what better way than to have you live by ever-changing feelings, anything but the Eternal stabilizing truth of the Word of God.
Note the Order;
1.- THINK GODLY THOUGHTS -It is time for you to choose to THINK ACCORDING TO GOD”S TRUTH ( SEE PHIL 4:8) and then
2.- PRACTICE the TRUTH (See Phil 4:9) and you will notice in these two verses the results is …
3.- GODLY FEELINGS OF PEACE will result in the DOING of the Above two!
NOTE THE ORDER;-THINK on Truth- PRACTICE the Truth- godly Feelings result!
We get in trouble when we base our living on what we “FEEL” first! If we ” feel,” God had forgotten us, is mad at us, and doesn’t care then we take those “feelings ” as truth and act upon them and the result is despair, defeat, dishonoring of God, and failure to mature spiritually and a pattern of life that is destructive to us and others!
We live more ” feeling” orientated than ” faith” orientated in God.
Indeed to “trust” our unBiblical thinking is to reveal… we believe “we” are “GOD!”…THINK about IT. I will go with whom or what I trust. I will trust the one I believe LOVES me. And If I am not convinced God loves me, that Calvary was just an event with no personal implications in the demonstrations of God’s love for me…. then I TRUST- whose? “MY FEELINGS!” Do you see the problem? One being we do not believe God, we do not trust God, we have a “god ego” problem where we believe OUR “feelings” alone can be trusted!
We must ask questions, are these “feelings….thoughts” true of God? Are these “thoughts” true of who God says I am in Him? Do these thoughts Lead me to and Leave me with Him? Do these thoughts produce Thinking on God’s Truth? ( See Phil 4:8) Do these “feelings….thoughts” produce me PRACTICING GOD’S TRUTH?
Would my practice be that which as Paul says in the verse,”PRACTICE THE THINGS YOU HAVE..,SEEN In ME?” ( See Phil 4;9) we have a responsibility to be models and patterns to others! I am not speaking about perfection but the direction of our lives is changing to follow Him in learning how to ” RENEW OUR MINDS- TO THINK AS FOLLOWERS OF THE LAMB!”
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS?
1.- IT IS A LOVE ISSUE – LOVE FOR GOD! The first command says we are to love God with all of our … MIND…”
2.- IT IS A TRUST ISSUE -TRUSTING GOD! Taking HIM at His Word. Thinking about God’s Truth and acting on it is a matter of faith.
3.- IT IS AN ACT OF CONCERN FOR OTHERS- My thinking, doing, and feelings, affect others, and too often, way, way too often I cannot say,”….the things you have seen in me PRACTICE…” When I base my life on what may be at times “feelings” which do not align with God’s Word, my thinking is influenced and as is my doing and it is not something to be modeled or embraced- for it is NOT LOVING GOD, it is NOT TRUSTING GOD, it is not LOVING my neighbor!
HOW TO TAKE THOUGHTS CAPTIVE;
WHEN UN BIBLICAL THOUGHTS COME to your mind, take them captive to the obedience of Christ. Don’t allow thoughts of fear, and discouragement to DICTATE To what you think. You are not Passive or a “Victim” to the evil one, your own faulty thinking, you have power, Divine Power to think and do what is TRUE and RIGHT,- Again Note the Order in Phil 4:8-9- God’s TRUTH first, then Godly PRACTICE second. In the Greatest commandment, LOVING GOD First through…. Godly THINKING and then Godly loving of your neighbor- which is to PRACTICE THE TRUTH!!
You CHOOSE TO DICTATE what you THINK ON.
Think on Truth. One way to do this is to CONTINUALLY PRACTICE PRAISE- ” PRAISE the LORD O, my soul. And ALL THAT IS WITHIN. Me, PRAISE His holy Name.” The PSALMIST SPOKE TO HIMSELF! He did not “listen to lies, or his “feelings” but like a general arousing an army, he SPEAKS TO HIMSELF,”…and ALL that is WITHIN ME.” Every part of him he calls to action to PRAISE THE LORD. Irrespective of how you “feel” CHOOSE to PRIASSE the LORD based on TRUTH….PRACTICE PRAISE…. It is a Fight for your thought life!
REMINDER IN THE STORMS OF LIFE;
Truth prevails. Love triumphs. Jesus is LORD. Practice Praise… based on TRUTH. I am honest, some days, when troubles seem to loom, “real” or “imaginary” I would rather pull the covers over my head… but what does that reveal about me at that moment? I am living by my “feelings” rather than by TRUTH.
YOU MAKE THE CHOICE;
Today- again I must CHOOSE What I will think about, Whom I will trust… it is a LOVE ISSUE, A TRUST ISSUE…A CARING FOR OTHERS ISSUE… so I begin this morning in the midst of the storm, I CHOOSE to PRACTICE PRAISE- not because I am some spiritual giant, but because I am desperately needy of Him and to do things other than His Way does not accomplish His Will…SO I SPEAK TO MYSELF THE TRUTH…and ask Him to continue to strengthen me to develop this HABIT of THINKING ON HIS TRUTH…. that I MAY DO HIS TRUTH…. and others may be INFLUENCED IN A GOD HONORING WAY….to PRACTICE PRAISE- because He is worthy!
Learning to live…small step as it may be to some, but nevertheless, seeking to live that I may LOVE Him with my THINKING, TRUSTING Him with my PRACTICE… And He may see fit, for HIS NAME SAKE to Influence others to be encouraged to do likewise. And the “Feelings?” Oh, they will take their rightful place!