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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Monday, February 1, 2010

Boot Camp

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." Psalm 139:23

I was remembering this morning many years ago, when my dear friend (now husband) went through boot camp for the summer, in between college semesters. He was in the ROTC program and eventually became an Army officer when he graduated from college. He shared numerous stories of the vigorous training that he went through during this time away from home. Even though it was a difficult time for him, he learned how to be a soldier.

The Lord brought this to mind this morning as I was praying and thinking about this spiritual adventure that I am undertaking this month. My goal and destination for the end of February is to experience more joy and peace and less stress and anxiety. So I was pondering how I get from point A to point B. Obviously I am praying and asking the Lord to guide, direct and teach me along the way. I am digging in God's Word and learning more about these fruit of the Spirit. But is something else needed as well?

I discovered that it also is crucial to train my thoughts. Hebrews 3 encourages us to fix our thoughts on Jesus. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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."

So how does one take every thought captive? I have discovered that this is not an easy thing to do. It takes consciously stopping a train of thought and choosing to think of something else - over and over and over and over again - sometimes multiple times throughout the day. It takes a lot of discipline. Thankfully I am assured in Hebrews 12:11 that, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." So I am claiming that harvest of righteousness and peace in my life, even though I can't always see it right now. I know that as I continue to take every thought captive, and think on the things that God desires of me, I will eventually see success.

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