If there’s one thing we all have in common it has to be that we all have to deal with thoughts and feelings we don’t like. Some mistakenly think that since they are a Christian they shouldn’t have “bad” thoughts or feelings but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because we have invited Christ into our lives doesn’t mean the enemy gives up in his efforts to trip us up.
It is true that through our being joined to Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, we have died to sin. We are told to count on it, stop presenting ourselves to the enemy, and start presenting ourselves to God. Even though we have gone from a slave to sin to a slave to righteousness; as long as we are in this earthy body we will be tempted. Our old boss, Mr. Sin, hasn’t stopped giving us orders, it’s just that we no longer have to listen to him. We can speak right up and tell him, “You’re not the boss of me!”
The Bible tells us, “There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12). God will always provide an escape hatch for us but we still have to choose it.
Our troubles start with a thought. I know during my pre-Christ days I was completely ruled by what I thought and how I felt. This is the main reason I ended up becoming an addict because if I felt bad it was an excuse to use substances. Come to think of it, if I felt good it was always a good excuse to use substances, either way my feelings were in charge.
Now that Christ and I have been joined Spirit to spirit, I have the ability to say no to those feelings, no matter how overwhelming they may seem at first. God calls us to walk after His Spirit rather than our flesh, or merely our human instincts of thoughts and feelings. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. You see, like many others, I never knew there was a way to take charge over my thoughts. Don’t get me wrong we can’t control every thought that comes into our minds but now that we have the Spirit of God we can redirect them. We can see them for what they are and identify whether or not they are coming from the Holy Spirit or from the spirit of error.
We are told in Romans eight that there is no condemnation for those of us in Christ. This means that all of those thoughts and feelings of worthlessness or self-loathing are not coming from God but from the enemy. After all he isn’t called the “accuser of the brethren” for nothing. No, in fact that’s a big part of his arsenal. You see the enemy knows once Christ has us we are out of his hands forever so his greatest weapon is his ability to get us discouraged in order to immobilize us. Because if he can’t defeat us at least he can stop us from being effective in the war against him.
Let me wrap this up by saying, even though we can’t stop every thought from entering our minds we can start to recognize which ones we are to hold on to and which ones have to go. That’s a good defense, but in Philippians four we discover a great offensive too. We are told to “think on these things: whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.” When the enemy of our minds comes along attempting to inject his thoughts into us we simply don’t take it. We then replace those thoughts with God’s thoughts about us, thoughts about how He loves us and wants what is best for us. In fact, according to His word, we that are in Christ are holy, blameless, beyond reproach and dare I say even perfect. So the next time the enemy comes along tell him he’s a liar and you’re not going to listen to him anymore.