Hi this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Turning the tables.
Have you ever been stuck? I have. I am so glad that winter seems to be losing its icy grip on the landscape. Last weekend it seemingly made a last ditch effort to hang on…but I think by in large, it’s over, at least for another year. When I was a teenager I was living in the frozen tundra that is otherwise known as the greater Buffalo, NY area. Snow would sweep in sometime around Halloween, definitely by Thanksgiving, and would swirl with consistency until Easter was on the horizon. It made for slick snowy roads and high snowbanks that seemed more like concrete than the white powder that had been piled to construct them. As a teenager, and with all of the foresight teenagers have, my limited driving and thinking skills left me stranded atop more than one snowbank alongside the road I was supposed to be traveling upon. When that happens you are what is commonly known as…stuck. You can’t go forward; you can’t back up. The car’s tires are held up off of the road’s surface by the snow trapped under the vehicle and you are well…stuck. You aren’t going anywhere because you are held captive by the snowbank. Speaking from experience, there isn’t much to do during your captivity except rethink every poor decision that got you there. Until you retrieve the shovel that hopefully is contained in the trunk and start shoveling there is nothing to do but have a good old fashioned pity party.
Sometimes people get stuck without a snowbank within a thousand miles. They get stuck and seemingly can’t get any traction. The poor decisions that got them stuck in the first place are now holding them captive running around and around in their minds pushing away any positive thoughts that dare to try to make an entrance. They fixate on past missteps and ruminate on poor choices. They play over and over the scenarios that got them where they are in that moment…stuck. They are held completely captive by the messaging and can’t seem to get anywhere. We call that particular snowbank…negative self-talk, and it can be very deep!
The Bible gives us the answer to this problem. 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to “Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ”. Whenever you realize your thoughts of regret, disappointment, frustration or anything else have been holding you captive, it’s time to turn the tables and take those thoughts captive…and as this scripture instructs…make them obedient to Christ! In other words, you get to be the captor instead of the captive…everything can change. Turning the tables isn’t possible though unless we have the necessary tools to do it. Just like I needed to keep that shovel in the trunk back in my teenage years to free me from the snowbanks, we have to keep the necessary tools handy to free us from negative self-talk.
When you want to battle piled up snow, you need a good shovel. When you need to battle piled up lies, you need to know the truth. Memorizing God’s word and the things it has to say about who we are in Christ can make a huge difference when we are trying to extract ourselves from the embankments of defeatist thoughts piled up and placed in our path by our spiritual enemy. Allow me to recommend a few of my favorite “shovels” tailor made for regaining traction.
• Shovel full of truth #1 – I am a child of God – John 1:12 – Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
• Shovel full of truth #2 – I am forgiven – Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
• Shovel full of truth #3 – I am one of Jesus’ friends – John 15:1 – I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
• Shovel full of truth #4 – I am made in the image and likeness of my Heavenly Father – Genesis 1:27 – So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
• Shovel full of truth #5 – I am created by God and made new in Christ Jesus – Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
• Shovel full of truth #6 – God made me just the way He did…on purpose! – Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
• Shovel full of truth #7 – This world is not my home, I am a citizen of Heaven – Philippians 3:20 – But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Finally, shovel full of truth #8 – I am not a victim…Jesus makes me a victor! – Romans 8:37 – No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Don’t let those negative deceiving thoughts hold you captive any longer. Turn the tables. Instead, take captive those malicious thoughts impressed upon you by the devil and make them obedient to your loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Allow the truth to give you the traction you need and set you free…and watch that snowbank get smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror.
So now, turning the tables and shoveling out with the truth of God’s word…Go be Awesome!