Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Little by Little

(Below are Jessica's thoughts for Chapter 4 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 scripture in the comment section below each post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)

And the Lord your God will clear out the nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you. -Deuteronomy 7:22

This is a chapter I really needed to read, right now. I have been struggling with discouragement and it has been very hard to keep focus on what I need to do. That plus the beginning of the holiday season, and some other stressors make me really "get" the whole "Battlefield of the Mind" concept. I'm going to start out with what jumped at me right away, as if God meant it just for me.

"When you fail (which you will), that doesn't mean that you are a failure" (p. 40). Just last night, in a moment of weakness I asked my husband, "Am I failing Matthew?". In the light of discouragement (or as Joyce puts it, lack of hope), I was only seeing what he couldn't yet do. The truth of the matter is that my son is growing, learning and progressing-but little by little, often in a back-and-forth fashion, not in huge spurts. Joyce reminds us that we should turn to Christ and let Him be our strength when we feel weak. As long as we keep getting back up, and leaning on God, we can't fail. If I am doing what God wants me to do (which I believe that I am) and he is there every step of the way (which I know he is), then I know that only victory can be the final outcome.

Why are you so cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted withing me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. -Psalm 42:5

Joyce identifies condemnation and discouragement as key weapons that the devil uses in an attempt to keep us from reaching our victory. This is a good time to use our weapon, the weapon of the Word, and speak out loud the truth of God over our lives. There are some key verses that I lean on heavily in difficult times:

Jeremiah 29:11
Romans 8:28
Philippians 4:13
Isaiah 40:31

Hope is the opposite of discouragement and getting ourselves in line with God's will for our lives will involve putting more weight on what God says for our lives than our feelings or even what we see in front of us. Hope creates strength and energizes us. There is great power in praying out loud the word of God and also in praise during the times you least feel like it. Praise keeps us connected to God, the source of all things at all times. It also confuses the enemy when we are praising when it feels more logical to despair.

I like how Joyce gives us two different scripts to illustrate negative versus positive thoughts. In this respect, I would like to humbly offer this prayer:

Dear Lord, I thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. I thank you for your love, faithfulness and patience with our human frailty. Thank you for setting us free from condemnation and for carrying the cross on our behalf. It is by your blood that we are made right with you. Help us to remember this always, especially in times of discouragement. Help us to always stay mindful of what you say about our future and our potential. Thank you for telling us in your word that you want good things for our lives and for your encouragement and your mercy. Give us the grace we need to develop the fruit of patience that you placed within us as we persevere toward our victory, little by little. We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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