Editor's Note: As the holiday season gets into full sway, some of us may have a tendency to feel overwhelmed with all the demands the season brings. In the article below, Nancy Alcorn offers sound scriptural advice to help you overcome this tendency by controlling your emotions and choosing what you think by aligning your thoughts with His.
Some people think that whatever pops in their heads is what they have to think about. That's a recipe for disaster.
Thinking is a choice. Just as you exercise control over your body and how you behave, so God expects you to exercise control over your mind and what you think. You choose your thoughts the same way you choose to forgive or choose to say yes to Christ. It takes your will saying yes and then your actions supporting that choice. The Holy Spirit gives you divine encouragement and empowerment to think the thoughts you have chosen to think—His thoughts, not ours. John says, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
At this point, your emotions will scream like a little child because they are used to controlling your mind. They used to set the agenda; they used to run the show.
So here's what you do: Find the volume knob on your emotions and turn it way down. If your emotions don't agree with the Word of God, then they are speaking lies to you. A commitment to Christ is not about how you feel. It is by faith. Inside of you is a faith muscle. The Bible calls it the measure of faith (Rom. 12:3). Just like any muscle it takes time and practice to isolate it, flex it, and feel it working. Soon you realize you're gaining strength. Your feelings and emotions will take notice. Your desires and attractions and opinions will actually change. This is why the Bible says so clearly for us to take an active role in choosing our thoughts:
- Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:2).
- Cast down vain imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
- Put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).
The above Scriptures do not mention accommodating your feelings or going wherever your emotions take you. It's impossible to accommodate your feelings and walk in freedom. It's like making a peace treaty with the devil and hoping to come out of it alive.
Remember that the enemy has been empowering your negative, lying emotions to try to take your mind captive again. He wants to cancel the power of that commitment you made to Christ. When he sees you're serious about kicking him out and choosing your thoughts rather than entertaining everything that comes into your head, he will probably try to make a deal with you for partial control.
When people try to use their freedom in Christ to fulfill their own desires, it ends in disaster. The Bible warns:
- "... as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God" (1 Peter 2:16).
- "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13).
Getting God's perspective means serving an eviction notice to the enemy and making a firm commitment to choose what we think. Then we can begin to renovate our minds in specific, practical ways.
Adapted from Ditch the Baggage, Change Your Life by Nancy Alcorn, copyright 2015, published by Charisma House. This book shows you how to walk in freedom, no matter what you've been through or what issues you faced in your past. The author gives you seven time-tested, proven and practical keys to live your life as it's supposed to be lived in Christ. To order your copy click here.
Prayer Power for the Week of Nov. 29, 2015
This week, take time to meditate on the Word of God and establish your thoughts accordingly. Surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to use the Word to transform and renew your mind so that His peace and joy permeates your being throughout your life and not just during the holiday season. Continue to pray for worldwide revival, especially in our own nation. Pray for the safety of those traveling to the Holy Land, and continue to lift up those who have authority over us (1 John 1:7; Eph. 4:22-24).