2 Corinthians 10:5b: “We … take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Twelve year old kids scrambled outside to board busses in the pouring snow. Jeremy quickly gathered up enough to form a snowball and playfully threw it at his friend Brad. All classmates quickly joined in the fun. … Not Scotty. He formed his snowball—packing it as tightly as he could—and threw it hard at a boy who was using crutches to walk. That boy fell down. He used crutches to walk because he had a broken leg.
Another kid wanted to throw a snowball hard at a girl who wouldn’t sit with him during lunch. But this boy remembered his manners. He refocused on his mom. She would frown at this attitude. Instead, he threw his snowball as far as he could, then smiled as it crashed into a bus window.
The second boy got it right. The secret to fighting temptation is to refocus.
Whatever we resist, persists. The Bible never teaches to resist temptation. But it does teach resisting the Devil. The secret to overcoming temptation is not to push back, but to change focus.
Whatever has our attention has us. Temptation begins in our minds. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and it’s filled with many goodies. Verses 5-6 says, “Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all Your commands.”
Whenever we think about God, (how much He loves us, for example), we’re not thinking about other stuff.
It’s true! Focusing on godly things pull us in that direction. When we focus on stuff like scandals in magazines or on TV, we’re pulled in that direction. Whatever we focus on gets our attention.
Whatever gets your attention gets you!
Free will means that we can change our minds anytime we want to.
Temptation follows a predictable pattern that never changes: A), Attention. B), Arousal. C), Action. Once one’s mind gets hooked—it can’t fight—and so we act. Quickly changing focus as soon as we know that something isn’t right, stops it from taking hold. That stops the action of sin. The pattern changes from wrong behavior to right behavior.
No sense fighting temptation. We can simply refocus.
Take Home Nugget
Taking every thought captive to Christ takes practice. We rarely control circumstances; often we cannot control how we feel; but we ALWAYS control what we think. Let’s turn God’s gift of free will into a weapon to defeat the Devil.
It’s our choice. Changing the way we think changes the way we feel. Then the way we act is truly our choice!
Wandering mind, refocus! Sinful thoughts, refocus! God’s Word, FOCUS!
Adapted from “You Can Change the Way You Think” by Rick Warren. August 25, 2016. For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, visit rickwarren.org
Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com