Women's Devo | June 2021

What Do You Think?

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (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;”

The Holy Spirit is calling us to re-imagine the way we are living by changing our thoughts. It’s easy to be pulled into natural thinking while living in this world, but in these verses, God gives us wisdom on how to use his power to address the destructive ways of our minds. The average human is believed to experience 70,000 thoughts per day so we will certainly need God’s supernatural ability to tackle this mountain.
How we think determines our destination in life. Proverbs 23:7 says that “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” What we think about will form our beliefs, and we will speak and act based on what we believe. As it says in Luke 6:45 “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” You probably remember that James 3 talks about our words being likened to a bit in a horse’s mouth (verse 3) and also like a rudder on a ship (verse 4). Your words are steering the outcomes of your life and can be traced back to your thoughts. Therefore, it’s critical we get the first step in this chain reaction right. While most people reading this have given Jesus their hearts, there needs to be an intentional, continual practice of giving him our minds.
Where do wrong thoughts come from?
Isaiah 55:8 reminds us that God thinks differently than we do. Our natural minds can’t even comprehend the vastness of what he knows. We see a small portion of life around us, but he sees the past, present, and future, even the motives and intents of our hearts. Much of what we think on is naturally inspired as we try to function in a natural world. But your first thought, or even a seemingly “good” idea isn’t always the right though.
Martha, for example, in Luke 10:40 was convinced that her sister Mary was in the wrong for being “lazy” and not helping her serve Jesus while hosting him in their home. She even had the boldness to tell Jesus to do something about it and correct her sister. But Jesus was actually thinking the exact opposite of Martha and quickly put things into the right perspective. Mary’s sitting and listening was infinitely greater than any act of service Martha was worried with. He went on to paint the correct picture in her mind, that there really was only ONE THING necessary, and Mary was doing it. Talk about a mental shift! It’s amazing to me that this truth continues to confront my wrong thinking and bring God’s perspective as I prioritize my to-do lists.
There are many voices that are speaking to us. We have to be guarded about what we give our ears to. Well-meaning (but wrong) friends, people outside AND inside the body of Christ, news outlets, and social media are constantly sharing information with us, and incorrect thinking can slip into our minds easily. Peter loved Jesus and wanted what he thought was best for him. In his mind, suffering and dying was not a good idea for his friend, so he rebuked Jesus when He told them His plan (Mark 8:32). Peter was well-meaning, but thinking outside God’s plans, and Jesus wasn’t afraid to address it calling him “Satan” for not setting his mind on the things of God but the things of man.
Yikes! That seems harsh. But is it possible our incorrect thinking is causing more damage than we realize?
Speaking of Satan, you remember he is a liar and the father of lies. There’s no truth in him. He is constantly at work to steal, kill, and destroy the abundant lives Jesus purchased. He is the culprit behind many wrong thoughts we experience. We can’t stop him from throwing wrong thoughts at us- it’s what he does. But we don’t have to grab onto what he’s suggesting. My former pastor loved to tell us, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” It’s time to take action and start chasing some incorrect thoughts away!
Thinking God’s Thoughts
Romans 12:2 tells us we are TRANSFORMED when our minds get renewed. The word “transformed” in the Greek looks a lot like our word “metamorphosis” (think from caterpillar to butterfly). God will impart transformative power when your mind starts thinking biblically. Philippians 4:8 is a checklist to run against any thought we have. When I’m dealing with a dominating thought, I have to ask myself, “Is this thought true, honorable, just, lovely, commendable? If it doesn’t meet the biblical criteria, it needs to be chased away - or brought it into captivity. His word exposes our incorrect thinking on matters and must become the standard by which we think.
I remember when my youngest was 2 and discovered his “loud voice”. Any time he was unhappy he would let out a horrible, high decibel scream that sounded like (what I imagined to be) a wounded pterodactyl. It made me feel crazy every time I heard it, which unfortunately was several times a day for a moody toddler. I had told myself and my husband, “I can’t handle it when he screams like that” and while we were taking measures to train him to respond differently, I had trained myself to “lose it” whenever the scream went off. I had empowered an (incorrect) thought that gave me permission to not take responsibility for my actions because in my mind it was too much to handle.
But thank God for the word! One day while I was reading Colossians 3 in the Amplified Version, I was confronted with God’s thoughts. Verse 12 read, “And put on….patience [which is tireless and long-suffering and has the power to endure whatever unpleasantness or injustice comes with good temper].”
Gulp. Now I had a problem. God was contradicting a strong thought that I had gotten comfortable with and I had to choose who I was going to agree with. Even though I didn’t feel the patience God was describing, He wouldn’t offer me something that wasn’t possible. So, I began taking that thought- which was trying to raise itself up against the knowledge of Christ- captive. I had to stop empowering the wrong thought and exchange it for truth. I couldn’t instantly change our 2-year-old, but I could lock up that lie of the enemy and make my thinking in this area obey what God said. The truth was the Holy Spirit had a supernatural patience that could outlast any toddler tantrum and I leaned in to begin changing my way of thinking.
As women of God there are undoubtably thoughts lurking in our minds that try and trump the word of God and his ability at work within us. It’s time to confront the lies and fears that are holding us back from moving on in God! The quality of our relationships and outcome of our lives depends on it. With God’s power, let’s wash our minds by the word and be transformed into the likeness of Jesus as we serve this generation for Christ!
Nadine Bowles is a native of Minnesota but has enjoyed living the southern life the past 9 years. She is married to the love of her life, Josh, and enjoys serving Jesus together with him. As a couple, they have served in various ministry capacities the past 16 years and currently pastor Ocilla Church of God in Ocilla, Georgia. She loves eating exotic foods, journaling, home renovation, and exploring new countries, but her favorite adventures usually take place in the backyard with her 2 redheaded boys, Ben (10) and Sam (7).

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