Thoughts Taken Captive

“Ideas have consequences.”

My Creation Studies professor says this all the time. It’s amazing to trace back major movements in history and see how they usually originated with one main thought.

The thoughts and ideas of Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan and many others paved the way for new inventions, movements, spiritual revival, and political accomplishments. On the other hand, the ideas of Darwin, Hitler, and Karl Marx brought about movements and acts of violence, destruction, cruelty, and discrimination.

This week the Lord keeps reminding me how important our thought lives are.

Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace be with you.”

God tells us to think about things that are true, pure, right, and admirable because we usually act on what we think about.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “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.”

To walk with Christ, we need to take every thought captive to the truth of His Word. As a college student I can stress over what God’s will is for my future. But at every step in our lives there will be times of waiting and wondering what God’s plan is. I’ve been reminded this week that God’s will is less about a place, but more about a way of living.

I want to encourage all of us to make it a daily routine to surrender our emotions, desires, and selfish thoughts, so that we in turn open the door for the Lord to fill us with His thoughts, His desires, and His PEACE. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s totally worth it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”~ Romans 12:2

Save Me Now

Have you ever felt like you’ve reached the end of your rope?

I have.

At one point in my life, I turned to earthly things to find peace and contentment. I thought beauty, success and relationships could somehow fulfill me.

But, at the end of the day, they couldn’t.

I learned how to put on a mask that convinced even my closest friends that I was okay. As long as heads would turn in a room when I walked in, I thought I was happy and secure. But, the thoughts and feelings that flooded my mind every night told me otherwise.

I’d lay awake trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong.

I looked in the mirror and hardly recognized my hardened self. I tried to let an unhealthy relationship convince me that I was secure and worthy of love. I found “confidence” and pride in frequently skipping meals, watching the number on a scale go down.

I spent too much time stuffing down that terrible feeling in my stomach, lying to myself.

I was running from God. I convinced myself that all the pain and disappointment I’d experienced in life was from Him, that it was His fault. I never doubted His existence. I couldn’t. I knew Him…I loved Him.

But, I was angry. I told myself that I would be fine on my own. So, I tried to live that way. And guess what?

I was miserable.

My pride and insecurity rose to new levels, as my value and identity shifted toward everyone else’s opinion of me.

I spent all of my time and energy attempting to become an ideal that didn’t exist. I wanted to be perfect, to never be seen as weak, to have it all together, and to do it all by myself.

But one day, I broke. The false little world I’d created finally crashed down around me. I looked myself in the mirror and literally said out loud, “I can’t do this anymore.”

I knew. It was time to surrender my life back to God. I needed Him, I wanted Him, and I couldn’t last another day without Him.

I also knew that God wasn’t mad at me. He’d been waiting for me to come back. He’d been calling me, showing me in different ways through different people in my life that He loved me and wanted me to be His.

I had spent so much time in fear of being weak that I wasn’t strong enough to see reality and admit that I WAS weak. I was a human being in need of a Savior. I couldn’t do it on my own.

I wasn’t supposed to do it on my own.

That night I sat down in front of my piano and wrote this song.

I’m not sure where you are at today. Maybe you’ve been running, attempting to carry the weight of the world on your back and now you are exhausted.

Let me tell you from personal experience, it doesn’t have to be this way. Jesus Christ is literally right here, with open arms, telling you that He loves you.

I called to Him, and He answered me. He restored me. He fulfilled me. He brought me hope, joy, security, peace, and LIFE.

Are you in need of some saving today?

He’s listening.

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”~ Psalm 18:6

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry”~ Jonah 2:2

“Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:13

“You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14

Dying to Live

I am afraid of being ordinary.

I take a look around, a long look in the mirror, and I see routine. Is it just me, or do we let “what happens happen” far too often?

Sitting in church, I’m easily motivated to spend more time loving people. I actually get pretty pumped about it. But before I know it, it’s 8 a.m. and I’m half awake with spilled coffee all over my jeans. I scramble outside, throw my bags into the car, and race to class. I awkwardly crawl over an aisle of desks, sit down, and pray that our quiz will be canceled. I doodle on my notebook, survive Biology, and head out to meet my friends. I check my phone as I walk through the hallways and spend the rest of my day thinking about what I’ll eat, what homework to accomplish, and strategically figure out how to spend as much time with my friends as possible amidst my class and work schedule. And there you have it, my routine.

I didn’t look to the right or to the left; I plowed straight ahead, focused on myself and what I wanted. But, at the end of the day, what did I accomplish? Who did I help? What did I change? It’s not that I didn’t have good intentions; I just didn’t act intentionally.

I heard this quote in church recently: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” In order to accomplish something, we have to live with purpose. Lofty goals, distant dreams, and good intentions mean nothing if we don’t start working to accomplish them today. Desiring to spend more time in the Word won’t happen if we don’t set our alarms earlier. We say we want to love on people around us, but it won’t happen if we keep our faces in our phones and don’t look up.

To succeed in the long run, we have to be diligent in the small things. We have to be willing to change. We have to be open to the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to take on the whole world at once, but we start with small steps. If we keep our eyes open minute-by-minute for what the Lord has for us, trust me, we will find the extraordinary.

I want to get over myself for the sake of someone else. I want to put aside my silly momentary desires for a greater cause. At the end of my life when I go to heaven, I won’t be able to bring anything with me, except for those people that were on my right and on my left. I want to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that when He says, “move”, I move, and when He says, “Go love that person”, I go and love that person.

Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a Voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

There is a difference between existing and living. I think it’s related to the difference between intentions and action.

So, honestly, intentions aside, what are we doing?

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus says to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Me.” In order to truly follow Christ, we must die to ourselves on a daily basis. Simply put, we have to let go of our plan and submit ourselves to God’s plan. Not necessarily because what we desire is wrong, but because God has so much more for us.

So yes, the Christian life requires sacrifice. God may ask us to let go of something we desperately wanted to hold on to. But, guys, this is where it happens. This is where we trade ordinary for extraordinary.

As C.S. Lewis put it, “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

So, this is a big decision. Do we want safe? Do we want ordinary? Or are we willing to go where God is calling us?

Before we let that little voice in our head convince us that what we want is more important than what God has planned, we have to realize the cost. John 5:24 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

This is a matter of life or death for you and for the people around you. The truth of the gospel that you hold in your heart has the ability to SAVE LIVES. God wants to use YOU to bring life into the lives around you.

So the question is…. What are you going to do about that?

Our world is dying to live.