I have found that a primary battleground of worship occurs in our personal thought life. There have been many times when my thought-life has been challenged within days or even hours of leading worship at my home church or in another ministry setting.
Satan, the enemy of our soul, wants to scuttle God’s plans, so he often targets people and leaders God has called to use in ministry work and worship services. The weapons he uses are intended to incapacitate us and keep us from experiencing or serving God. They can be mental or physical ones, but they are always spiritual in nature. The enemy knows that our nature is flawed and susceptible to temptation, selfishness, and sin and he tries to leverage this knowledge to entice us to our own destruction.
Often, just as with his encounter with Adam and Eve, the enemy attempts to plant a carefully camouflaged malicious thought to accomplish his ugly goal. Initially, it may seem harmless or even sweet, but it is ultimately deadly. The idea he tries to implant in us may target our human pride or weakness, or a felt physical need like loneliness, hunger, or intimacy.
The culture of this world often blindly adopts the lies of the enemy and then pitches them as so-called “truths”. We are barraged by images and voices that threaten to undermine our belief and trust in God. The reality is that we live in a world that is both beautifully made by God and relentlessly polluted by sin. This is our reality until Christ comes again to judge and burn away the impure and inaugurate a new, perfect heaven and earth.
Until we are with the Lord in heaven, God has called us to live in this toxic thought environment …
…and even thrive!
The good news is that we are not helpless! When we open the door of our being to the person of Jesus Christ, we are set free from the curse of our condition and are also given God’s Word and Holy Spirit to overcome and emerge victorious over the trials and temptations that come before us.
Once we have entered into this life-changing relationship with God, it’s important to immerse ourselves in His Word on and ongoing basis. The Psalmist put it this way:
“I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I may not sin against you”
The Bible makes it very clear that we are to guard our hearts and minds. In the battlefield of thoughts, our only weapons are God’s Holy Spirit and His Word, and they are without equal!
We are called to turn always to God when we are tempted in our thought life. Many years ago a wise person told me this saying: “You can’t stop the birds from flying overhead, but you can stop them from landing in your hair and building a nest”.
There is one Scripture I memorized many years ago and to this day pray it when I am assaulted by an enemy-hurled thought arrow:
“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
I will shoot this prayer up as a help signal to God and He always faithfully responds to cleanse and transform my mind and heart. I encourage you to do the same. We can’t fight the battle of thoughts on our own, but we don’t need to! God calls us to invite him into our thought life, once, twice, or even dozens of times each day. He will give us HIS power to overcome and triumph over the barrage of thoughts that come our way.
The only choice is whether or not we will avail ourselves of God’s power.
Our thought life is like a garden. It will produce whatever we sow and nurture.
I offer two suggestions for my fellow worshippers of the One True God:
1) Sow the seed of God’s Word in your thought life: You’ll always reap a good harvest.
2) Take captive to God the bad seeds before they take root. Even in the best of gardens the seeds of weeds can appear. A good gardener knows it’s best to pull the weeds when they’re tiny, and a harder to uproot them when they’re allowed to grow.
We can’t handle our thought life alone, and we don’t have to. God is able to renew and transform us if we yield ourselves to Him, as the Apostle Paul wrote,
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
Authentic worshipers honor and glorify God as we continually yield our thoughts and hearts to Him.
God bless you!