Ramblings of a Zealot ~
“Reclaim Your Joy”
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
As I look at our world today, I see so many people who are afraid … they’re worried about the future, fearful about the present, and ashamed about the past … These fears act like emotional drags upon their spirit that keep them from becoming all that God has called them to be …. I know when I am reflecting on my past, whether be my choices or my experiences, I have noticed that my fear increases, my insecurities seem to increase, and any joy always dissipates …..
But Jesus Christ came so that those fears that paralyze us might be overcome. He is the answer to every fear because He comes into our lives with grace, peace, and joy when we place our faith in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. We are forgiven for all of our past mistakes or poor choices, and we can be restored to joy for any sorrows ….
So why is it that so many people today; even Christians, live under the oppression of fear and worry? I think that one reason is that they’ve trusted Christ for eternal life, but don’t honestly believe He can make a difference in their lives today …. This gives the enemy a foothold, allowing him to create incessant anxiety in their lives. And this is one of the prime devices of the devil to keep us in a defeated mindset. As I’ve stated previously, I know well the the emotion anxiety, and it can be debilitating, but it does not have to have dominion over us. It is an option to stay stuck. You have a choice to either wallow in it, and live in that “poor me” or the power to overcome it and rise above ….
In Christ, you have the power to overcome because He has already overcome. You can tell the world and the enemy, “I’m not letting you steal my joy!”
Jesus Christ CAN change not only your future, but also your present as well as your past. He might not be able to change what happened, but He can change how you think about it and how you feel about it ….
This is the one thing that no one can take away from you. And just what might that be, you ask? The power to choose …. You have the power to choose your attitude; and how you will react to any given situation at any given time. No one can make you feel inferior unless you allow them to. No one can make you feel anything: guilt, shame, anger, anxious, fearful, or inferiority, unless you give them that power. You give the devil a foothold when you allow any person, place, or thing to rent free space in your head. There is no prison like the one without bars which is found in our own minds. Thoughts and emotions can hold us hostage if we allow it.
And this is precisely why we are instructed to take captive our thoughts ….
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
(2 Corinthians 10:4-6)
You may be thinking to yourself, what does it mean to take every thought captive? How can I take this command and apply it to my incorrect thinking that I may be obedientbto Christ and have joy?
Well, let’s read it and then we will see if we can figure this out …. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal”, meaning not of the flesh. That is, they are not merely human. This is not a mere battle of human wisdom. “Mighty through God” means the weapons of our warfare have divine power to destroy strongholds. And then he defines this powerful stronghold-destroying activity in two steps. We see in (v 5), first, cast down our imaginations; we destroy arguments and every lofty or proud opinion raised against the knowledge of God; and next we then take every thought captive. It’s like when you move in a battle and you destroy the fortress and then you take captives. We must take every thought captive to obey Christ ….
I have experienced this very painfully. If you put your mind and thoughts really at the disposal of the teaching of Paul and say, “Anything in my thinking that needs to be destroyed, then destroy it,” that can utterly undo you. There have been times in my life where I have wept over the dismantling of what felt like really important structures and thought processes in my brain, so I think that is the first thing we must do. We must listen to Paul. We submit everything we think ~ all of our ideas, all of our thoughts and viewpoints to God ~ and we say, “Paul, let your words dismantle me if necessary.”
And here is the second thing that I think it means; we should ask the Holy Spirit to work on us, because Paul said we don’t fight with mere human fleshly arguments. Our thoughts have power. However so does the Holy Spirit and He is bigger and more powerful, so we should expose ourselves to that power ….
So when I come to the Bible, there is a lot of study I do and I love to study and I love to assess scriptures and parables and figure them out. I cry out, “oh, Jesus help me, I know that my mere intellect will not dismantle the deeply rooted errors of my mind so I avail myself, I open myself, to the Holy Spirit and I seek your face” ….
Paul said in (Romans 15:18), “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.” Now I think that is the same obedience as in (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), when he brings our thoughts into obedience to Christ. And here he says, “I won’t dare speak of anything except what Christ has wrought in me.”
So this is what I am getting at when I say, expose yourself. Lay yourself open to the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through the words of the apostle Paul so that everything can be dismantled and then your brain, your mind, your thoughts can be taken captive and everything brought into conformity to Christ …
Just like Paul, we are the warriors, and the enemies that hold us hostage are those people whose voices still linger in our thoughts, and those thoughts that are proud and lifted up against God. And just as Paul defeats those mindsets and arguments in the power of the Holy Spirit, our thoughts and our minds are taken captive and we become people with the mind of Christ or obedient to Christ. This day, make it your goal to reclaim your joy and live in the joy of Jesus Christ, trusting fully that He can change not only your future, but your past and present as well because He has already overcome! Glory to His name ….
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
God is with us …..