I’ve been using and enjoying the reading plans set out by my iPhone’s Bible app. These plans help keep me on track, reading something new each day, sometimes with a theme and sometimes just diving into a certain book of the Bible. Perhaps for some of you, the thought of reading the Bible sounds dull, repetitive, or antiquated. For me, it reads as the most perfect love letter ever written. It is personal, relevant, exciting, and necessary to my existence. I will admit that there are some parts more thrilling than others, but even the “slower” portions have spoken to my heart of the essence of God.
I started a new reading plan this morning, titled “Battlefield of the Mind”. For 14 days, there will be a short story and an accompanying verse or two for me to read through and ponder. One of the verses referenced this morning was from the second letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
It is safe to say that each of us falls victims to unpleasant thoughts, wrong ideas, and misdirected beliefs about God, ourselves and the world around us. We are often not even aware of these thoughts entering our minds, but when they take root, they will grow if we don’t keep them in check. I explain this every time my son loses his temper (God help him, he is so much like me!). I tell him that if he can recognize and confront this struggle now, when he is young, the battle will be much easier than if he lets it grow out of control. We see this every day in nature. Plants, whether prize-winning flowers or weeds, will grow under the right conditions. If we take away the ingredients necessary for growth, they will perish. The same holds true in our minds. The mind is an incredibly fertile place.
Think back over your life. We could all make lists of “weeds” that have tried to take root in our minds. Perhaps it was something an adult said to us when we were children. Perhaps it was a stinging word from a friend, co-worker, teacher, boss, or a family member. Maybe it was the memory of a past mistake or hurt. Do we succumb to shame, fear, sadness, hopelessness? That is certainly not what God wants for us. That is why we are to take every thought captive. We must test what enters our minds next to the goodness, freedom, and wholeness for which we were created.
We must view the mind as a battlefield. Whichever “side” we supply will be the victor in that battle. I am choosing to give to Jesus all the thoughts that are trying to pull me away from what God would have me believe about Himself and me. He can show me the truth and keep me on course.