So here’s the deal: I might let an offhand remark slide in person, but once I’m alone, I’ll think back to the conversation, letting it stew, then simmer, then boil. This morning I did it again: I let my thoughts run rampant. The more I created a tense conversation in my imagination, the more constricted my chest became. I was physically reacting to my own weird mental musings. Because it was all in my head, I figured I couldn’t help myself.
Then, thankfully, the Holy Spirit—who lives inside of me and gets all the credit for this—pushed a passage through the noise to the forefront of my mind:
“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).
All of a sudden I pictured little evil minions (that looked remarkably like Kreacher from Harry Potter) frolicking around, spreading toxic thoughts, and enjoying the anxiety they were working in me. So I did what the apostle Paul suggested and I took them captive—throwing them in a little jail and no longer giving them permission to wreak havoc. My heart rate slowed, I calmed down, and I felt peace.
I realize I’m not alone in this. A drawback of our current society is that moral relativism and personal freedom have become such a rallying cry that we have forgotten personal responsibility—even in our own minds. Just because we can give full rein to our thoughts doesn’t mean we should. But we often do. We sit and think the worst of others, of their intentions, of their politics, of their personal decisions—without any hint of love, mercy, or kindness.
We need to stop.
The Holy Spirit wants to develop qualities in us—the Bible calls them “fruit”—and he does it by first renewing and transforming our minds. Jesus’ triumph on the cross has set us free from Satan’s power. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. He has given us freedom from guilt, freedom from eternal punishment, freedom from the belief that our minds and emotions are uncontrollable, freedom from feeling superior to others. He has given us freedom to serve, freedom to worship, freedom to be joyful in all things, freedom to forgive as we have been forgiven.
So, today, thanks to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I’m remembering that I have been given the mind of Christ—and so have you. And his mind control will change the way we think.
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. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through faith in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:8,6,7). (Yes, I know I put them in reverse order, but I wanted to end on God’s promise to you.)
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