What we think most about has the power to fashion who we become.
It has power to affect how we feel, the way we view the world, how we respond to others. It also influences the environment around us by the very mood we carry into each moment of every day.
When our mind overflows with the harsh injustices and ungodliness which the world increasingly throws in our face, it is easy to allow those seeds of anger and despair to take root in our mind and over time grow into weeds which threaten to blind our clarity and unbalance the goodness right in front of us.
The more we allow negativity and despair to dominate our reading, viewing, thoughts and conversations, the darker the atmosphere we will carry around us, and the less others will want to spend time in our company. That kind of influence filling our heart and mind will almost surely, over time, rob us of living a joyful and abundant life in Jesus.
Recently I was reading 2 Corinthians and could not get past these words -
"...bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ..."
I felt as though the message had lifted itself off the page of my Bible and impressed itself upon my heart, like a budding bloom within a flower press being preserved for life so I'd never forget.
Then I had a vision, fleeting, but quite real and profound. In the vision a bird flew past me and very quickly I reached out my hand and caught it. I sensed the Lord speaking into my heart, instructing me to do this with every negative thought.
My nature is one where if I'm around too many people who are negative, mean or disrespectful I can become quite sad and downhearted, at times inadvertently opening a door to depression.
When the Lord gave me this vision and the understanding of it, a weight lifted off my heart. In fact it was as though He'd given me a weapon - or should I say, He showed me a weapon I'd always had but never knew about, a weapon to use against those thoughts whenever they return.
The key part of this verse (for me) is "to the obedience of Christ" because it's not just about taking those negative thoughts captive, but comparing them to Bible promises and truths, to what Jesus teaches and to what I know of His character through study of the Bible as well as the everlasting faithfulness He has shown me over many years.
This was life changing for me, it has altered my personality for the better and given me a holy tool to use whenever my mind wanders where it should not. And it's not just sad or depressing thoughts I must take into captivity.
I know God is asking me to capture every thought that goes against the nature of Jesus - like envy, greed, disrespect, pride, superiority, and the list goes on.
The more I have allowed the Holy Spirit to help me recognise my wrong thoughts, the easier it is becoming to reach out and grab those thoughts, to bring them into captivity and compare them to the character of Jesus. From there I can choose to adjust my attitude so that it lines up with full obedience to Christ.
Friends, I am not perfect and I needed this life-giving lesson. Abiding in it has brought me a new found peace and confidence in God's unseen plans for my (our) life, and His plans for what happens this side of heaven, regardless of what the world throws across my path or yours.
Only God Himself can show me a portion of one verse, a fleeting vision and the understanding impressed upon my heart all in the space of a minute or less - and with it, change my life for the better.
What is He desiring to teach you today?
Open the Bible, pray, read, and see what happens.
Our Father in heaven gives wisdom to all who ask.
Your sister in Christ