Friday, March 28, 2014

Take Every Thought Captive

For the past couple of weeks, I have been doing the Intentionally Focused Bible Study with Good Morning Girls. (I'm about take a break though and prepare my heart and mind for Easter with their Easter Study that starts next week. If you are looking for a way to study the Bible, I highly recommend them. They provide verses and then you write out a focal scripture verse, your observations, applications and then prayer requests/praises. It's the SOAP method and a great way to study God's word. And you can watch the videos on their website that further expound upon the verses every couple of days, too.  Anyway, I am a huge fan, if you couldn't tell! You can go on this page of their website and find reading plans for past studies as well.)

This past weekend I had the pleasure to help coordinate and attend a women's retreat and we did Beth Moore's Loving Well study.  I hope to write more on that later, but for now I will just tell you that I learned a LOT and have been working on the intentional focus of my mind as I begin to love well...don't you just love when God threads several small seemingly different truths (two different Bible Studies) into one large jewel of a truth?! Personally, I think it's because I'm a bit hardheaded and He knows I need preparation and multiple encounters with a truth before it takes root.

Anyway, the nugget I want to share with you today is the importance of intentionally focusing your mind.  The SOAP verses (that we write out) for this week have been Romans 8:6, Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Colossians 3:2- look them up now, seriously- they're even linked for you!

The common thread throughout all the verses is obviously dealing with the mind, but it's the intentional focus of your mind on things of God and not things of the world. We have to take every thought captive as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5.  I love that! We can't let our minds wonder where they shouldn't- and that's big for me!  I am CONSTANTLY over thinking, over analyzing, picking apart each detail, forming responses to offenses in my head- you get the point.  And I bet there are many of you like me. 

So I tell you, we have to stop thinking the negative thoughts- whether about ourselves or others, ouch!
We must be careful what we put into our minds, that includes what we listen to, what we watch, and what we read. We must choose not to take offense at every statement, comment, status, tweet and we need to choose not to think offensive thoughts towards others!  I know it sounds easier said than done, but we need to use the guideline Paul lists in Philippians 4:8- we need to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, lovely, pure, commendable, excellent, or anything worthy of praise!

Ask yourself if the thought you are thinking can fit into any of these categories- is this true? Is it honorable? Is it just? and if it isn't then we need to stop thinking it, we need to take that thought captive, and we need to let it go! Seriously picture flinging it off a snowy mountain as you sing the words if you need to! (And for those who may not know, that is in reference to the Disney movie, Frozen) If we actually put each thought through the filter of questions, our minds can focus more fully on God.  This will help us stop our mouths from spewing gossip and help us to not take offense.  Refocusing our minds also helps us honor God in our marriages by thinking (watching, reading) about things that are pure and not dishonoring to our spouses.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. ~Colossians 3:1-2

Let's honor God not only in our actions but also in our thoughts!  Who's with me?!

Lord, help us to set our minds on You, thinking true, pure, honorable, just, lovely, commendable, excellent, praise worthy thoughts, in Jesus' name, Amen! 

Love in Christ, 


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