The War Inside

War. Take any history class and youll spend the majority of your time discussing it. Now with the United States at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, military conflicts, unfortunately, remain a huge reality. Images flood the evening news, showing the brutality and danger of war zones.

Another war one well likely never see on television is taking place, too, one that touches even closer to home. And just like any war, life hangs in the balance. Many of us dont realize it, but were in this war. Its battleground lies right between our ears.

Satan knows that if he captures your mind, he can completely cripple you. Creating a stronghold over your mind is his best tactic for weakening the potential power your One Word can have on your heart. Gaining such presence in your thoughts allows him to alter the lens through which you view the world and your part in it.

Instead of recognizing this as war, we instead engage in what seem like harmless head games. But if we view this as war, doesnt it then sound insane to sit back, remain idle, or even retreat? It is crucial we fight back, first by identifying the start of our thoughts, then willfully surrendering them by declaring our trust in God as the only one who gives us the desires of our heart.

By thinking our thoughts by taking control of our minds we go on the offensive against the enemy. This clarifies our perspective. Remember the old sports saying the best defense is a good offense.

Our struggles dont come about randomly or by coincidence. There is a purpose behind it and a natural path with a definite direction. It boils down to a need we are not allowing God to fulfill and is ultimately a lack of trust in Him when He says that He will provide for our needs. We are impatient, selfish and obsessed with instant gratification. We dont like waiting on Gods timing, so we begin to justify and rationalize our actions so we can convince ourselves that what we did wrong was actually right.

More often than not, our realizations of truth come from experiencing it  through regret rather than faith.

The thoughts that trip us into temptation dont just randomly show up. They have points of origin. These initial stages of our thoughts usually go unnoticed until it is too late. When we allow our thoughts to stay long enough to take root, they can then lead to great physical and emotional pain. Identifying our thoughts origins is critical if we are to capture them before it is too late.

However, we cannot stop at just identifying the start of our thoughts. Understanding when and why they take place is drastically different from doing something about them. It will remain easy to justify and rationalize our actions, while at the same time, keeping the desire to meet our needs as the determining factor in our decision process. This leads to indifferent actions, in which we ignore the bigger audience (God) we need to answer to.

Until we take the next step in willfully surrendering and declaring our trust in God, we will remain helpless, unable to conquer our thoughts. Willful surrender involves (1) acknowledging that acting on these thoughts may lead to the satisfaction of our felt desire at that particular moment and (2) surrendering that potential satisfaction, denying ourselves that so-craved instant gratification.

Surrendering this thought is a declaration that you are seeking God as your source for life, fullness and joy. We do this through reflex thinking when a thought creeps into our head, we capture it and surrender it over to God, regardless if it takes one time or a thousand to deal with it.

Stack each thought up against your standard.  It is not enough to eliminate your old system of thoughtit must be replaced with a new system.  This is why it is so crucial to understand what it means to bring every thought into obedience to Christ.

  • Identify the start of your thoughts by reading 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Reflect on the following questions: (1) Can you trace the thought path that typically leads you to a response that you know is not useful or helpful (temper, lust, gossip, etc.)?  Where do those responses come from? (2) What situations do you normally find yourself in when these thoughts begin to appear? (3) What emotions do you experience in this initial stage?
  • By responding to the thought, you were hoping to have a certain need met. If ultimately every longing we have is a longing for God, what need were you looking to have met by yourself rather than God? Justification and rationalization stand as two of the greatest threats to the mind. How have these two elements of temptation wreaked havoc on your thoughts and altered the lens you use to view your circumstances?

Are you looking for a way to keep your word in front of you all year long? Register for a My One Word account! One of the key features of a MOW account is an online Word Journal that allows you to capture your thoughts to reflective questions like you see above. You can go back at any time to read your completed journals to see how God has been moving in your life through your word in 2010.  If you already have an account, the questions from this blog have been posted to your Word Journal — log in to your account to start your Word Journal today!