Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My False Confession

Last night we were discussing the overcoming negative thoughts which cripple our walk with God.  Sometimes these thoughts are very overt, but other times they are subtle patterns that we don't even recognize.  As I was talking about the overt negative thoughts that I struggle with, I made a statement which I've made many times…. "I know that it will always be in my journey to constantly fight against the negative thought patterns".  My belief has been when I'm diligently serving the Lord, that the enemy will continue to attack my mind with these lies to keep me distracted from the work God has for me.

While I've combated the thoughts directly, I haven't addressed the root of the issue.  The belief that this will be always be a part of my walk with God is a negative pattern in itself.  By making that confession, I have falsely accepted that I will not have freedom from the negative thoughts which attack my mind.

How absurd is it that I don't have faith that God can give me freedom from this when He is the same God that has performed miracles since the world began!?   I am doubting the same God who...

- Freed the Israelites from the slavery of Pharoah (Exodus)  
- Kept Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego safe while in the fiery furnace (Daniel 1-3) 
- Rescued Daniel from the Lion's Den (Daniel 6) 
- Gave David the power to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17)- Forgave King David of his iniquity and used him mightily (2 Samuel 24) 
- Gave His only precious Son for our redemption

In 2 Corinthians Paul addresses this unseen battle and gives us key guidance on how to handle this situation:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ  - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

A couple of key thoughts…

Divine warfare has the power to destroy strongholds. Our God REIGNS, through His POWER and MIGHT, We too are more than conquerors.  Make that confession!   Don't allow the enemy to sneak in and cause us to accept less in this life than the freedom God wants for us.

We destroy arguments and every lofty option raised against the knowledge of God - For us to recognize our lofty opinions, we need to continually seek the knowledge of God through prayer and reading his word.  Ask for his wisdom and revelation and He will show you those strongholds and lies which are causing you to stumble.  (See Proverbs 8 for more on Wisdom)

Take every thought captive - After we recognize the lies of the enemy, find a spiritual truth to counter that lie.  I will take that truth into my own words and make it into an affirmation.   Many times I'll reference multiple versions of the scripture (NIV, The Message) to write the affirmation in a way which is meaningful to me.   When that lie comes to mind, renew your mind with that affirmation from scripture.   Sometimes I even say do this out loud and make that proclamation over myself.

Examples of affirmations

Lie Affirmation
"If they knew about X, they wouldn't accept me"I know there is no condemnation for him who is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)
"I'm not good enough"   I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
"Things are bad, it's ok to be depressed"       I am going to rejoice when I go through trials as you God are maturing me for your purpose   
I challenge you to write out the lies and find a truth to retrain your mind.  As you continue to renew your mind, you will find that the lies come less.  It takes time and is a process, but you must take those thoughts captive!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wisdom, A Lifetime Guarantee!

There aren't many things in life that are guaranteed, but one thing that God has promised that if we seek wisdom we will find it.   Many times we seek wisdom on something specific in a moment of crisis.  For example, you get assigned to a project in a business area that's new to you.  You scramble to get up to speed on that subject area while the project is launching.   While there will always be a chance that you'll need to scramble for knowledge when something pops up, it's those that constantly survey the landscape and seek knowledge which are the most wise.   

Many times we struggle to take the time away from the day to day to build our knowledge and contribute to wisdom.  This applies to both the secular and sacred!  We all know that to grow in God we need to know Him better, but it's so easy to let other things take over our time.  As a leader we also need to grow our knowledge and competency to ensure we are building into our staff and those we influence.  If we aren't growing in both the sacred and the secular, we will not be building into others out of the overflow of our heart.

The good news is, that wisdom is always available for those who diligently seek it and there is a never-ending supply.  So the challenge for today is to schedule time to seek wisdom.  Put it on the calendar, ask God to guide you in your journey to wisdom, stick to it and be a lifetime learner!

I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.   The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.  Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate  I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength.By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just;   by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me."
Proverbs 8: 12-17

Read the entire chapter, Proverbs 8 at Bible Gateway