Taking Thoughts Captive

Our old, carnal nature is very susceptible to temptation. Satan attempts to distract our passion for God by stirring up our former desires for sin. His lies remind us of forgotten memories, which trigger negative thoughts and behavior from our soul. The devil knows that if he controls our thoughts, he will also control our actions.

Discouragement often opens our ears to hear Satan’s lies, but focusing on the positive, beautiful aspects of God and His Kingdom keeps our mind on praiseworthy issues (Philippians 4:8). A grateful attitude will ensure our success in this area. The friends we keep, the people we work with and our other associates may influence us to sin or to walk away from God (1 Corinthians 15:33).

However, as we bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ, Satan has no power over us (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). As we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the former lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25). We seek to build God’s eternal Kingdom, rather than to erect our own little kingdom here on earth (Colossians 3:1). Issues which grieve God’s Spirit grieve us as well (Ephesians 4:30).

We can also meet with an older Believer for discipleship, to learn the elementary teachings of the Word (Hebrews 6:1). We devour the Word of God, by using a Bible translation we understand or by using a topical Bible. We attend Bible studies with our church family and in our community. God’s Spirit perfects us in holiness with the mind and divine nature of Christ (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:4).

Prayer:
Father God, if we sow sin, we will reap corruption (Galatians 6:7-8). That is why You encourage us not to fellowship with unbelievers who walk in darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-15; Job 4:8; Proverbs 22:8; Hosea 8:7). You pour out Your wrath on all ungodliness and unrighteousness, which prevent Your elect from knowing Your Truth. Submitting our life to Your Word and living according to Your precepts is the only way we can enjoy a fulfilled life on this earth and be ready to rule and reign with Christ in eternity.

Thought for the Day:
We have less of a desire to partake in carnal behavior every day that we spend with the Lord.

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The Tyranny of Self-Effort

Our human effort can never produce spirituality. No amount of carnal exertion, ceremonies, rituals or precepts can govern the spiritual world. Repentance is the first step to true spirituality. This humbles us and allows God into our life. The more we worship our Creator and King, the more spirituality we encourage in our life. This creates a new attitude and mind-set in us.

God gives us gifts to use to minister to the lost and dying world around us (1 Corinthians 12:4). We testify to others about what God does in our life. Many will turn a deaf ear, because their life is ruled by the tyranny of self-effort. However, some who are tired of servitude to the dictates of the flesh will be ready to surrender their life to God and to enjoy His love and blessings like we do.

The steady habitation of our spirit by the Spirit of God gives us peace and joy, which transcends what the world and its religions can offer to us. Our connection to God becomes our foremost priority. We deepen our relationship through prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other Believers and Christian service in our community. We encounter God’s hand in our life through many significant ways.

God cares about us. He even lived in human form and suffered in every area in which we do (1 Peter 2:21-22; Hebrews 4:15). God cannot fellowship with sin, so we must not grieve His Spirit with our carnality and self-effort (Habakkuk 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). God’s Spirit continually transforms us with the mind of Christ. If we give our constant attention to His will and ways in our life, we will sense God’s powerful presence.

Prayer:

Father God, we relinquish every area of our life, which serves as a distraction to us from following You with our whole heart. We confess every sin, which stands between Your heart and ours. We trust in Your faithfulness and surrender our anxieties and stress to You for Your miraculous healing and provision. Remind us not to allow the cares of this world to choke out our focus on You (Mark 4:19).

Thought for the Day:

A personal encounter with God on a daily basis will free us from the tyranny of self-effort.