(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 2 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question or even scripture on the comment section below this post. Let's dig deep and join to together to fight this battle!)
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he...
Throughout this chapter, Joyce Meyer points out the parallel between our the quality of our thoughts and the state of our physical life. Aside from the verse cited above, the very first point she makes is that we can't "have a positive life and a negative mind" (p. 27).
As I reflect on the battles in my own mind, I can see clear patterns of how this works. If I am not vigilant, my thoughts and will automatically follow how I may feel physically or emotionally. If I am tired, it is easy to let my thoughts go down with my energy level. Before I know it, if I'm not careful I will be talking myself out of feeling productive. If I am feeling sad or anxious, my thoughts can spiral downward into all the reasons why I will fail at something or why I should not have hope. Also, if my mind is unoccupied, a random suggestion or thought can derail my focus and in certain situations lead to negative thinking. It is no coincidence that we feel attacked in our thoughts when we are feeling physically or emotionally vulnerable. As Nicole pointed out last week, our enemy has studied us carefully and knows our weaknesses.
The weapons Joyce mentions are praise, prayer and the word of God. We've heard the expression in sports that the best offense is a good defense. If we are going to win the battle in our mind, we've got to take action beforehand to make sure we are headed in the right direction with our thoughts.
Let's start with praise-I have heard that we can choose to either start our day saying "Good morning Lord!" or "Good Lord, it's morning...". I find that it helps me to begin the day with some sort of blessing like this. Like Nicole, I am also homeschooling my son with autism. This has been a wonderful blessing for our entire family and is truly an honor. However, there are days when I'm tired, not feeling well or just not always as motivated as I'd like to be. We start the day singing "This is the day that the Lord has made" (VeggieTales version). As soon as the song starts playing, he's on my lap smiling at me while I sing. Each and every time it makes me smile inside and so glad that we have this special time to learn together.
Prayer- It really was a good reminder for me to read that we can't conquer our thoughts on our own. No matter how much we strive or how many good intentions we have, there is no way to do this without God. In our prayers we can ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us where and how to improve. God alone can give us the grace we need, this has to be a cooperative effort.
God's word-Throughout all of our bible studies, the importance of staying in the word is always highlighted. This really makes so much sense in the context of this book. By taking the time to renew our minds and meditate on God's word, we are in the key position to advance in this battle. For one thing, renewing our minds keeps us from feeling spiritually depleted and vulnerable to attack in this way. For another, we can fill our minds with good thoughts, God's thoughts, so that there is no room for negative thoughts to take up residence.
It is so important for us to understand how this works so that we can stay focused on our God-given work and not lose our peace. Joyce also reminds us that our actions and speech are the fruits of our thoughts. As I mentioned before, none of us should feel like a failure because we've tried and tried but just can't fix our thought life. We really do need the guidance and grace from the Holy Spirit. This is something that can take time to undo and heal, so we need to be patient with ourselves and trust God fully. He wants more than anything for us to lead positive lives with positive thoughts and won't give up on us until we do.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. -Ephesians 2: 8-9
LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.