Thursday, October 1, 2015
The Courage to Cast Down
Like it or not, we are in a battle. If you haven't noticed, it is raging more and more with every passing day. In fact, I am sure you have noticed. Each day, we have a choice: to be defeated and dejected or to use the weapons God has provided us to walk in spiritual victory.
I have not learned this in an easy way. Nor have I learned it to the extent I need to. No way. For me, the battle is in my thoughts. How about you? In sermons, I have heard this statement: "A thought can make or break you." Every day, we are inundated with thousands of thoughts. The one secret I have learned is that I do not have to accept the thoughts that come into my mind as my own.
For we are surrounded by an atmosphere around this earth and this atmosphere is under the domain of God's enemy, the devil. He is called the "prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2.
1 "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."
The thoughts, ideas, and opinions of this world system stand opposed to God's thoughts. God tells us in Isaiah 55 how our thoughts compare to His thoughts. There is no comparison.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
Today I read in I John 2 and was struck again by how the world system is totally opposed to God's way of thinking. John tells us
"15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
So, that is one way I can test my thoughts. Is it concerning the lust of my flesh or eyes or having to doing with pride in my achievements? Then I can be certain it is not from God and I can cast it down as a vain imagination that rises up against the knowledge of God. For every thought has one of two origins: either from God and devoted to His glory or against God and devoted to the enemy's lies and destruction.
I used to foolishly think God was selfish in order to want every thought to be for His glory, until I learned that His glory gives the highest and best to fallen creatures such as us. Think of what happens when the opposite occurs: what is the benefit of evil being glorified? Only misery and bondage and death.
GOD is LIGHT! In Him there is no darkness at all! (See I John 1:5) When I summon the courage to deny a thought that comes into my head as not being true, and cast it down, I walk in the light with my God. Sometimes, this is hard for me because my mind is screaming that the thought just has to be true, but if I resist it, the devil will flee. James 4 reveals:
7 "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."
Even if it is hard, even if it seems we are in a constant uphill battle, we will overcome if we do not lose heart. We destroy the mountains of lies that the enemy whispers in our ears one by one, like tearing down a brick wall. And then, as that wall of untruth tumbles down, we fill our mind with good things, the things God has for us, and promises for the life to come.
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9
If we do not faint today but let God's Word pour into us, we will have strength and courage to cast down the lies the enemy sends to defeat us.
Andrew Murray, quoted in the devotional, None but the Hungry Heart for the day 12-30 says: "The Father works to will, and He is ready to work to do, but, alas! many Christians misunderstand this. They think because they have the will it is enough, and that now they are able to do. This is not so. The new will is a permanent gift, an attribute of the new life in Christ. The power to carry out this will is not a permanent gift, but must be each moment received from the Holy Spirit. It is the one who is conscious of his own utter powerlessness, as a believer, who will learn by the Spirit alone he can live the Christian life."
We receive hope and help moment by moment as we cast down vain imaginations which lie against God and His Truth.
I hope these thoughts have encouraged you today as you face the many thoughts that come your way. And speaking of hope, I would like to announce the publication of my book Sure Mercies: Hope for the Suffering is now available through 4RV Publishing.(It will also soon be on Amazon.) It tells the story of believers throughout the Church Age who overcame huge obstacles by their overcoming faith. http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/megan-vance.php