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Archive for the ‘2 Corinthians’ Category

This series of posts (When Negative Thoughts Persist) looks at the scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:4 “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”   From 2 Corinthians, we then proceeded to Ephesians 6 to review the weapons which are described by Paul there.

All this that we might effectively battle persistent negative thoughts.  As followers of God, we need to forgive those who wrong us.  However, even after we have forgiven someone, we may experience occasional or even recurring thoughts reminding of what the wrong, how it hurt, how unfair it was or the like.

 The mind is a battlefield, in this post, we will consider a few more of the weapons we have available to us:
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness –  having put on the breastplate of righteousness  The breastplate is a defensive weapon that protects our vital organs, those essential to life. The breastplate protects the warrior from attack aimed at the heart, lungs or other nearby organs.   We must allow Christ, His righteousness to protect us.  We are not righteous in ourselves, because no work of the flesh could ever save us or make us righteous; however, we are righteous as we stand in Christ, who provided the required sacrifice and who is our substitute, our righteousness by faith.
  • The Gospel of Truthhaving shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace   Know the Word of God.  Let it give you sure footing in battle allowing you to stay standing until the end.  When plagued with negative thoughts, review, recite, and/or meditate on a scripture promise or truth that counters the lie that the enemy would tell you.

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In our last post, we began our discussion of how to deal with persistent negative thoughts.  If we are obedient to the command of God, we know that we need to forgive those who wrong us.  However, even when we have forgiven someone, we may experience occasional or even reoccurring thoughts reminding of what they did to us, how it hurt, how unfair it was or the like.
The mind is a battlefield, but we have weapons which are mighty in God according to 2 Corinthians, which we discussed in the last post.
In this post, I want to take a closer look at some of the weapons to see how they can help us in the battle with recurring or persistent negative thoughts (sometimes known as Stinkin’ Thinkin’)
  • The Whole Armor of God – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  No one weapon will protect a solider in battle from injury.  That is why Paul exhorts us to put on the whole armor of God.  Leaving one piece of the armor off can expose the soldier to great injury and render him or her ineffective in battle.   Leave no weapon behind.
  • The Belt of Truth –Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth  Let truth be like a belt to keep your movement uninhibited and allow you to move quickly and easily in battle.  The belt can seem like a frivolous accessory until you get caught with your pants down.  Living in the truth and having truth as our belt keeps us from being susceptible to the devil who hates truth and is called “the father of lies.”  It may be hard to always tell the truth.  Even some of the Fathers of the Faith, like Abraham were caught in lies, but they always paid a price for the lies.  Whenever we fail to put on the belt of truth, we make it harder for us to be successful in battle for the important things.

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Ever have someone wrong you, and you forgave them but negative thoughts persist?    I have found myself with such thoughts more than once.  So what’s a body to do?

Choosing the right weapons

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The battle will wage regardless of the weapons we choose to take up to fight.  Although no one can escape the  battle, the good news is two-fold:

  • The battle is won.  Jesus said, “It is finished.”
  • The weapons are “in God.”  This means that I do not have to think about finding my own weapons or using ineffective weaponry to fight my foes.

What are the weapons that I can use?

  • The Whole Armor of God
  • The Belt of Truth 
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness 
  • The Gospel of Truth
  • The Shield of Faith
  • The Helmet of Salvation
  • The Sword of the Spirit
  • Prayer                                                          –Ephesians 6:13-18

These weapons will help us to bring those thoughts, those persistent thoughts, into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  We will look in more detail at what this means and how this might be applied to our lives more specifically in the next post.

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How many times in the day or week do you long for a do-over?  You just want to turn back in time and make a different choice, say something or just stay silent?

God offers the ultimate do-over in 2 Corinthians 5:17.    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The great thing about this verse is that it is without limitation.  Christ has given the ultimate do-over.

  • Gone are my mistakes and failures (they no longer define and limit me)
  • Gone is the deadness in my heart and conscience (He has given a heart of flesh to replace my heart of stone)
  • Gone is the hopelessness of being unable to change despite the harm to myself and others (now I have Holy Spirit power to overcome sin)
  • Gone is the futility of thinking (now I have the mind of Christ, wisdom of the ages)
  • Now I can have a fresh start (All things are made new)
  • Now I have hope for the future (He has gone to prepare a place for me and has promised to return for me)
The time for your do-over is now.  Today is the day of salvation.  Tomorrow is promised to no man.

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You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 2 Corinthian 3:2-3

1.  As believers, our lives are letters (epistles).

  • Maybe you have heard it said, “You may be the only Bible those close to you ever read.”   If that is so, let your life reflect the gospel as clearly as possible – no mixed messages.
  • God’s plan to share the gospel is through people ministering to people. He desires that our lives be so changed by our relationship with Him that others will wonder, question, and follow.
  • Is the message in the letter written on your heart communicating the message of God’s love to the lost and condemned world around you?

2.  God is the author.

  • Pages don’t write themselves; they have an author
  • God will write your story if you allow Him.  God wrote Esther from captive to queen.  God wrote David from Shepherd boy to mighty warrior to King.  God wrote Joseph from slave to Pharaoh’s second.  God wrote Saul from assassin to Apostle.  God wrote Peter from fisherman to great church leader.  God can write my story to be a great epoch tale of victory over evil if I let Him.
  • God desires to leave His imprint on our lives, marking us as His forever.

3.  He authored us by His Spirit.

  • Give up striving.  This is not about what you do:  how many times you go to church, how much money you give.  This is about surrendering control of your life to Jesus, so He can fully communicate His message to the dying world through you.  To do that, you must first receive the message yourself and let it transform you.   Only then can it hope to transform others.
  • Start soaking up the Word.  Sit with Jesus daily.  Read, study and meditate on the scriptures.  Let them permeate your life.  Let them write your story.
  • Remove barriers to the working of the Holy Spirit in your life.  Confess your sins, allow God to cleanse you by His Spirit.  Pray always and without ceasing, so that you might always be in communion with the author.

May the richness of living for Christ become abundantly clear to you as you draw closer and closer to Jesus.  It was Jesus who promised that sitting at His feet was the “good part” which would not be taken away.  May you settle there and find rest for your soul while you wait.

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