Devotion for January 1, 2014: Thought Wars

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:4-6)

The weapons of our warfare…

…pull down strongholds.- A stronghold is a place that is not easily conquered but is easily defended. When evil gets a stronghold in our lives it can be deadly for a long time.
…casts down arguments and every high thing- It’s so clear that Paul is not talking about real earthly or “carnal” warfare but the battlefield of the mind and worldview.
…brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.- It’s like a benevolent dictator. “Hey stop that! That’s not a right way to think about (fill in the blank). Think this way..”
…lead to obedience.-The point of changing our thinking is changing our actions. It really does come in that order.

What are the “weapons of our warfare”?

The Word of God-
As we think about all of the things that the verses say that “the weapons of our warfare” do this is the most obvious answer. God’s Truth found in the scripture has the power to obliterate the arguments that I make about my behavior and ways of thinking that “exalts itself agains the knowledge of God”.

The Holy Spirit-
God Himself helps us to understand and apply scripture to our lives.

Prayer-
Prayer guided by the previous two helps to align my will with God’s will for me.
See Ephesians 6-This isn’t the first place that Paul uses battle language to talk about our spiritual walk. Look at the list of equipment that Paul describes there.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— (Ephesians 6:14-18)

Application
We really do become what we think.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Heavenly Father, I so want you to guard my heart and mind today. Sometimes the greatest enemy of my mind and heart is me. Defend me from myself. Help me not to self destruct. Help me to think the right things so I can do what is right in Your power. I love you. Amen.

Accountable to God: Day 44

March 9, 2012 

Today’s Text: 2 Corinthians 9:7

Today’s Key Thought:  Worshipful giving isn’t a “have to”, but a “get to”.

Lastly, Worshipful giving should be done cheerfully.  What does it mean to give cheerfully?  Well, Paul gives us a hint to it when he says that our giving should not be done “grudgingly, or of necessity.”  When someone does something nice for you and you ask them why they did it, the last thing we want to hear is “because I have to.”  When someone does something nice I personally hope that they wanted to do it.  Giving that is done out of obligation, or with a bad attitude is not worshipful giving at all.  Paul says that “God loves a cheerful giver.”  When we give out of a worshipful heart, knowing that everything we have is God’s anyway, and knowing that we will reap what we sow, giving becomes a blast.  It’s something that we get to do, not have to do.

Application:
If you were really being honest, how is your attitude when you give?  Is it a “have to”, or a “get to”?  If your attitude is not right, what should you do?

Accountable to God: Day 43

March 8, 2012

Today’s Text: 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Today’s Key Thought: Worshipful giving is both sacrificial and purposeful.
Today we transition to the second letter Paul wrote to Corinth.

Next we find that worshipful giving is sacrificial.  Paul tells the church at Corinth that sowing sparingly will lead to reaping sparingly, and sowing bountifully will lead to reaping bountifully.  Knowing that God has given us everything we have, and that He will bless our obedience in His way, why would we not want to give generously, and sacrificially?  He has given us so much.  Think about His sacrifice on our behalf!

We also find that worshipful giving is purposeful.   This is not to say that we can just decide to give a tiny amount and God will be ok with that because “that’s what I decided in my heart.”  Rather, our giving should be an expression of our heart, and should be a discipline of our lives because we have given our hearts to God.  We resolve to give from the inside because of the change that God has made in us.  As we our lead by the Spirit we give according to His leading our hearts.

 Application:

Are you being lead by God in your giving?  Is it sacrificial?  Is it purposeful?  What do you think that kind of giving looks like?

Accountable to God: Day 6

January 16, 2011
Today’s Text:  Read Romans 5:12, 2 Corinthians 5:14, Ephesians 2:1-3

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” Romans 5:12

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead” 2 Corinthians 5:14

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”  Ephesians 2:1-3

If we are going to live a life that pleases the Lord, we must give ourselves wholeheartedly to Him first.  That is the focus of this week’s study.  The Christian life is a Christ-centered life, and if we are to focus on Christ the first thing we must remember is what He has done for us.

In today’s verses, all written by the Apostle Paul, we learn not only what we were, but what we are now that Christ has saved us.  Not only were we going to die without Christ, before we are saved we are spiritually dead.  After we are saved we are spiritually alive!  This isn’t just religious terminology.  God has given us so much!  As we realize what Christ has done for us, how can we help but give ourselves fully and completely to Him?

Application:

Here is a great question to help you apply today’s devotion:  What do you think giving yourself to God looks like in your life?