“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.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
After rounding the first corner of a fitted sheet over my mattress, I moved to the second corner but discovered I had started with the short end. Rotating the sheet, I tried again. But as I smoothed the second corner, the first popped off. Ugh!
I jerked at the sheet in frustration, muttering, “Not my day.”
Wait a minute. Where did that come from? Had I not written to my Facebook friends about the joy of the morning just hours before? “It’s a beautiful morning. Sun shining, cool breeze, birds singing, warm mug of coffee … Happy moment!”
Yet suddenly, my mouth spouted words that categorized the entire day as bad because of one obstinate bedsheet.
In the scheme of things, a fitted sheet is a blip on life’s radar. And no matter what struggles enter my day, I don't need to default to a “bad day” mentality. God is still on the throne, He is good, He loves me, and His blessings embrace every aspect of my life.
Still … I catch myself thinking those irrelevant, negative phrases more often than I care to admit:
You always do that.
They’ll never change.
I’m not good enough.
I can never do anything right.
I know they’re not true. And I could wave my thoughts aside, justifying them in the emotion of the moment, but the problem is, if you and I say or think those negative ideas often enough, they become like tiny seeds that germinate and take root in the well-watered corners of our memories. Soon, the same thought comes more frequently with greater intensity, and we accept as truth what is actually a lie our enemy would have us believe.
I like the how-to advice Paul gave the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “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.”
Why should we destroy and imprison arguments and statements that go against what God says? Because if we don’t, they are free to run wild. They’ll take up residence in our brains. Eventually we'll say them, and those who hear us will be infected too. Those casual, untrue statements are as unwholesome as any foul language and do nothing to build up our faith or benefit those who overhear us. (Ephesians 4:29)
We can’t prevent those thoughts from sounding in our brains, but we can refuse to mull over them. Think about the imagery Paul used: “take captive every thought.” Like putting up a blockade to divert unwanted traffic, we have the choice to confine our negative thoughts and false words. We refuse to let the thoughts continue; in fact, we walk away from their influence.
Another of Paul’s letters encourages us to keep our minds focused on what is true, just, lovely and admirable. (Philippians 4:8) As you read that, you might think, But my thoughts are true! Just not always positive …
If that’s you, consider this: Looking at the positive or lovely reveals just as much truth as looking at the negative side of things — so why not balance our talk with positive words?
I considered this as I took a breath and unclenched the sheet in my fists. It was my day. More importantly, it was God’s day because He made it. Nothing had to separate me from thoughts about the great love God has for me — not even a fitted bedsheet.
You don’t have to let unruly negative talk infect your day either. Fight back with the words God has spoken about who He is and who you are through Him.
Father, I’m sorry for thinking thoughts about myself and others that go against what You’ve written in Your Word. Whenever those sentiments erupt, please counter those thoughts with words of truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
In this busy, jaded world of ours, we often take for granted what we see every day. We may set aside time to spend with God in a quiet room, but we struggle to see His hand in a traffic jam or while walking the dog. But for Karen Wingate, sight itself is something extraordinary. Karen lived most of her life with severely limited sight, and in each of the 60 meditations in her book With Fresh Eyes, Karen's humor and whimsy draw a connection between physical sight and spiritual understanding that will leave readers with renewed joy and delight. Get your copy today!
Check out Karen’s blog for her ongoing study “Becoming a Person of Faith.” Karen would also love to connect with you in the comments section below!
If you need reminders of God’s love when you feel it’s “not your day,” join our Facebook group — the Encouragement for Today devotions community — and be uplifted by Scripture and the prayers of other believers. Join here!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV)
What is true about God and His relationship with you? Create a short list of what God says about Himself and what He says about you. Use these verses for starters: John 16:33, Ephesians 2:8-9, Psalm 118:24, Jeremiah 31:3 and Titus 3:4-7.
Put your list somewhere you can see it daily and use it to fight the negative statements the devil would want you to believe. You can also share your “What God Says” list in the comments!
© 2023 by Karen Wingate. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106