“The enemies chief target is the mind because the most effective way to influence behavior is to influence thinking.” – Beth Moore
A friend once told me to try to pray more than I think. It has been cherished advice since, even if I don’t apply it nearly enough. In each moment when I choose Jesus’ thoughts to my own, I am taking my thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ. This choice is one of trust. When I choose His thoughts over my own I trust Him over myself.
Ps62: 8 “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
If I’m willing to keep believing and sowing God’s Word, even when I’m desperately hurting, or think I have learned what He has set out to teach me, I will see His will and he will align my desires with His desires for me. In the hard moments when I am ready to call out, “Stop, I get it!”, and cry for mercy, He is able to finish what he stared in me. It is in these moments He brings joy and peace amidst the difficult and the unknown.
John 15:5 “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
When I truly tremble at God’s Word, I find His Spirit resting on me, I am in His peace intimately and his hand rests gently on my shoulder when I want to run ahead. It’s not a pull, or a restraint, it’s a tender comfort. He calls me to hesitate, to stop and wait, to trust that He goes before me. When I rest in His power it liberates me from struggling to produce my own.
When I began this journey a few weeks ago I didn’t know where in His Word to start. In this day and age of resources at our fingertips it can also be hard to find what you actually need. Even here, God guided me. A friend shared her Pinterest board with me, which encouraged me to create my own board that focused on me walking closer with God. Through it I begin to saturate my heart and mind with scriptures and devotionals on topics that over the last year God had pointed me to in doses, now he is feeding me from a fire hose. Two great sites I’ve come across recently that have helped me are SheReadsTruth.com and arabahjoy.com. These and many others have prompted deeper bible studies and intimate conversations with God. Other’s words brought comfort as they rung true to my own circumstances. Overcoming shame and forgiveness, self-reliance, pride or helplessness, healing and learning from a breakup.
As believers we are never alone in our struggles. The circumstances may be different but the core sins and temptations we battle are nothing new under the sun. We can lean into each other and into His word for revelation, conviction, redemption and comfort. Make a play list of the songs that draw you nearer to God, start a gratitude journal or one of the scriptures that most equip you for your personal fight, seek out books and resources that can help you most. Ask for help of God and others and watch as he answers.
My prayers, “God, please replace my controlling heart with a heart surrendered to you. Please show me how to relinquish control and surrender completely to your will, to hold all things loosely, especially my dreams and hopes, to place righteousness first, to your glory. God please help me to tear down the walls of offense in my heart, to become vulnerable and repent of my offenses, to humble myself, forgive and draw closer to you. I only want your will. I know you have a greater plan. Father draw me close to your cross to be ever present in your forgiveness of my sin, then, now and onward and to truly be able to be kind and accept others, to never let my love grow cold, to never become someone who is always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth – your love.”
With these and many other words I cry out to our God, who is faithful and answers. Prayer keeps us in constant communion with God as His word corrects our faulty thinking and feeds His Sprit within us. The closer I draw to God the clearer His Will becomes. It allows His Spirit to influence my behavior. It puts so much in perspective, things that were never worth the fight, the anxiety, and the pain.
Jh15:7 “If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want; and it will be given to you. 9 I love you as the Father loved me. Now remain in my love…16 go and produce fruit, fruit that will last…”
Sowing God’s word in my heart and mind, following His teaching aligns my will with His will for me. It allows me to tap into His love and bear fruit that will last and prayerfully behavior that is overflowing with the fruit of His Spirit and not of my own.