“I am suffering…but God’s Word is not chained.” 2 Tim. 2:9 (NIV)
When I read those words above I stopped dead in my tracks.
God’s Word is not chained.
I suppose it hit home with me especially in light of a recent conversation I had with a friend. We were talking about the times in our lives when fear and worry come out of nowhere causing us to question God’s goodness and His promises. In a matter of minutes we can go from joyfully trusting to wanting to hide under the covers and not come out! My sweet friend was feeling tormented by fear. She knew where it was coming from. She knew the enemy was behind it. But she simply could not shake it. One of the thoughts she kept having was “Did God really give me that promise, or was I just imagining it?” Immediately the story of Adam and Eve popped into my mind. Satan is crafty and deceptive, but he uses the same old bag of tricks time after time. And why not? He knows they work!
“He (the serpent) said to the woman, ‘Did God really say…” Genesis 3:1
Now compare that to these rogue thoughts that enter our minds all too often: “Did God really say what I thought He said? Did He really give me that promise? Is God’s Word true and does it really apply to me? Does God really care? Is He really good?”
Sounds familiar, right?
I’ve heard it said that Satan has a distinct method of operation. If he can get us to doubt God’s Word, maybe He can get us to doubt God’s goodness. And if he can get us to doubt God’s goodness, he can appeal to our flesh and set a trap for us wrapped in self-pity, fear, worry, (fill in the blank). The battle truly begins in our minds. In scripture we are warned to guard our minds diligently.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
The word used for heart in the original language is translated in other places as “mind.” What we think and dwell on will determine the very course of our lives. What a sobering thing! And while God’s plan for our lives includes trust and peace, Satan’s plan leads to destruction. One of the primary areas he targets us is in our thought lives. Romans 1:28 is the perfect picture of Satan’s end game:
“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they did what ought not to be done.” Romans 1:28 (NIV)
But we don’t have to be victims! God has given us powerful weapons to fight back. He has already won the victory on our behalf. We just have to choose to walk in the freedom of His victory. He has given us the weapons we need to fight the unseen battle raging all around us.
“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 (NIV)
When thoughts creep in and wrap us in chains, God’s Word, which praise be to God is NOT chained, has the power to break them.
I love how the New Living Translation puts it:
“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NLT)
I love that picture! There truly is a battle waging war in our thought lives. We must recognize the battle we are in, know the enemy’s tactics, and knock down, capture, and destroy any thoughts that keep us from knowing and enjoying God fully.
When I think about these truths in light of my life as a mother, I want nothing more than to teach my children how to fight the battle of the mind the way God intended.
I want it to become second nature to them. What is difficult for me to remember as an adult could become a normal impulse for my children if taught diligently from childhood. When my child is afraid of the dark, I can remind her that God’s Word says He has not given her a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). I can lead her to personalize and pray back to the Lord verses like Proverbs 3:24, “Lord, I ask that when I lie down, I will not be afraid; when I lie down, my sleep will be sweet.”
When I am struggling with patience and my children are suffering the consequences of it, I can choose to stop, right in front of them, and pray out loud Philippians 2:13:
“Lord your word says you are working in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases you. Help me to overcome my lack of patience toward my children right now and to love and instruct them in a way that honors and pleases you. Thank you for being patient with me, even when I don’t deserve it.”
When my children inevitably struggle one day with their self-image (or when I do for that matter!), I can remind them that God’s Word says they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and His works are wonderful (Psalm 139:14). He has called them by name and they are His (Is. 43:1). They are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for them to do (Ephesians 2:10). The Lord delights in them and rejoices over them with singing! (Zeph. 3:17)
If you are struggling in a certain area, feeling defeated and harassed by the enemy, I want to encourage you to test the Lord in this. Ask Him to give you a word from scripture—a promise to stand on. Spend time reading and studying God’s Word. Read His promises and pray them back to Him. When a particular scripture burns in your heart, write it down, memorize it, hang it on your wall, meditate on it, pray it, and claim it. Tell that lying foe he must be quiet; you are no longer held captive to his lies. You are choosing to stand on God’s Word as truth. Remind Him what God’s Word says about you. You are a beloved daughter of the King of Kings. How dare Satan think he can lord over you! He is defeated and at the name of Jesus and the Word of God he must flee!
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (ESV)
Lord, help us to win the battle of our minds by the power of your Holy Spirit and the very Word of God, which you have given to us as spiritual weapons. Thank you that we do not have to live defeated. We can choose to walk in freedom and truth. We want to take captive the thoughts that so often captivate us. We submit to you now. And as we sing about our risen Savior this Easter weekend, may our souls find rest in the victory you have won on our behalf. There is truly no God like you!