A thought is a powerful thing. Every moment of every day we process untold amounts of thoughts, for better or worse. Any single thought can turn a whole day around, or ruin it. It can ignite inspiration, or strike fear and doubt. Through our thoughts, we take action, we contemplate everything from our daily agendas to life’s greatest mysteries. It is both a powerful tool as well as our most profound weakness.
As I walk into this new season of my life, reignited by the Spirit of God and His outpouring of Love, the vast majority of my thoughts are about Him, but the mind is never without its imperfections. My focus now rests on “dying to self” daily (1 Corinthians 15:31) and consecrating my thoughts to only that which pleases God. Every morning is spent with God for just such a reason, and every night I send up my gratitude and praise. Remaining in prayerful vigilance is a vital part of our success against the attacks of the enemy; after all, our strength comes from the Lord, not ourselves.
The last thing I want is to appear like I suddenly have everything figured out in a span of two or three weeks. On the contrary, my eyes are only just beginning to open for the first time, and what was completely out of focus is finally starting to take shape. That doesn’t mean the whole picture has become clear, and that’s okay. That’s what trusting in Him is all about; I don’t have all the answers, but I belong to a God that is completely in control of everything, and He will reveal all in His perfect time.
The first thing He went to work on was helping me to let go of the indulgences that fueled my selfish intent. For so many years of my life I would claim with my words that I was willing to give up everything for the cause of Christ, only to secretly resent the notion of letting go of my comfortable life with all my comfortable things and my comfortable dead-end job. I spent my whole life doing what served my self-interest, so why would I want to give that up for something I don’t even understand?
If I could sum up the last 30+ years of my life in one word, it would be “lackadaisical”. Yes I Googled it, don’t judge me.
However, after my encounter with Christ, I’ve realized that everything I was clinging to was futile, pointless, and had no lasting value. In glancing at Solomon’s writing in the book of Ecclesiastes, he makes it clear that everything that is done without God’s guidance is vanity, a chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:2 AMP). Being in the Lord’s presence, feeling his vast love for me, desiring to see His promises fulfilled in my life, are the only things that actually matter. Once I began to accept this, it became easier to let go of myself, because my selfish desires lead only to death, while His desires for me will lead to a life beyond what I can even imagine.
The process of “letting go of myself” is a daily process, for as long as we abide in this earthly realm, we carry our fleshly nature with us. I can already tell that if it weren’t for my daily meetings with God, I would have slipped back into habits that held me captive for so long, because the temptations persisted and still do. On the other hand, these past few weeks have seen some good habits formed, priorities shifting, feeling like it’s ok to be happy instead of wallowing in misery, and being more sensitive to His voice when He speaks to my heart. It’s funny how all these things I was having an impossible time trying to change on my own, suddenly just happen when I give myself over to God.
That’s the part about living Christ-like that many can and will miss; in order to live, you must first die; in order to gain, you must first lose; in order to lead, you must first serve.
The great deceiver waged war on God’s people long ago, and the battleground is set in our hearts and minds. By denying our flesh, we deny the enemy any chance of a foothold in our hearts. By consecrating our thoughts to only that which pleases God, we refuse to listen to Satan’s whispering and thus breaking his influence in our thought processes. When we humble ourselves before God, we open ourselves to His unending grace and favor in our lives.
Our thoughts are a double-edged sword; they can just as easily work against us as they can work for us. So tomorrow when I wake up, I’ll sit up in my bed, take my daily prescriptions, read my Bible app, and then I will deny myself and glorify God in everything I say, do, and think. When I do mess up, I won’t dwell on my mistakes as I used to, but ask forgiveness and then turn my thoughts back toward fulfilling God’s will for my life.
A thought is indeed a powerful thing, but the affection of my Heavenly Father is immeasurably stronger, His thoughts unquestionably higher than my thoughts, and His ways are surely higher than my ways. In these truths I can find peace, protection, and purpose.