by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
It’s not as if wrong thoughts are defeated in one swoop. The barrage of them comes again seemingly incessant with an attack of discouragement seeking to seep in. Sadness then looking to leak out in response. A vicious cycle. Discouragement to sadness to maybe-it-is-okay to discouragement again. Ack! The feelings are real. Do I succumb?
Sometimes the reality is yes. But other times—most times—even though the reason to have such feelings may be valid because of this hard place, sometimes it is constructive and helpful to consider these thoughts from yet another God-given view.
Certainly, grief and pain are. Thus, naturally these will be accompanied by thoughts that can bring me down into a puddle of tears. Sometimes it’s like a state of frozenness where I don’t want to move. Where I don’t think I can. I am as if paralyzed with the shock and sadness of what has already been and long to escape the now that I never wanted to be.
Yet as God Most High wraps Himself around me expanding His comfort within (because He is Comforter) He also brings me out to a vantage point and invites me to see—no beckons and even urges me—to recognize the spiritual battle not only in my situation, but in my current thoughts.
I have every right to my feelings. No person can tell me to move on or get over it or that what is impacting me is not a big deal or should not be. Such comments stem from faulty human beings. Like me, they have limited views with impaired objectives.
God shows me some things differently and lays out a productive, alternate choice. He knows the attack on my mind and heart. He knows the enemy’s desire to slay me through this mental attack. Yet, He is also showing me that succumbing to the onslaught of such thoughts does not always have to be. Instead, what can help is to recognize the battle and His role for me in it. Not to be victimized by it, but to be galvanized to be part of His effect in this unceasing battle for souls. For there is a battle here. It is without break.
Like the palest yellow light which edges the eastern horizon and then expands above it before the dawn, I become increasingly aware of this call to be enrolled in His army. It is the fighting force of His kingdom which is here but not fully yet. That bringing of His different sort of love-power into this realm already as we wait for what is yet to come. It is the squadron through which His kingdom is coming as His will is done on earth as in heaven.
One of the main locations where the battles must be fought before anywhere else, is in the mind. The enemy drops sneak attack thought bombs exactly where he knows I am most vulnerable.
God invites me to put on His armor, and to be vigilant. To grab hold of thoughts when they come. Instead of letting them pull me into negative spaces where the enemy wants to drown me in these, I can pre-empt the attack by strategically and intentionally grabbing hold of thoughts before I allow them to affect me.
Whatever is going on right now which has hurt or still hurts makes me more vulnerable to this thought onslaught. Where I am already wounded so that my emotional and spiritual nerves are exposed and raw, I am also prone to react more strongly than necessary.
However, if I will make the effort, and ongoing ask the Holy Spirit for help, I am invited to take all thoughts captive to Christ. All. To be aware of what I am thinking and consider whether a given thought is valid when considered in the light (the truth) of what Christ shows me. To literally pause in my thoughts before being overcome by an emotion and ask. Why am I discouraged? What is the reason for this despondence? Where is Christ in this moment? How would He respond? How is He wanting to work through me? In other words, what is His truth? Those thoughts which do not match how the Lord God would speak to me are to be soundly rejected. On the spot!
In the armor of God described in Ephesians 6 there is one offensive weapon: the sword of Truth which is the Word of God. The rest of the armor is defensive. To take thoughts captive to Christ before allowing these to have effect is to use my God-given sword. Where I can compare the root source and motive of my thoughts to what God says in His Word. This is a way when the enemy’s attempts to cripple come, I can fight back. And even progress in usefulness for God. This leads to victorious, escalating, freeing Christmas joy!
Resolutely and with faith born by the Holy Spirit at work, herewith I unite myself once again to Your sovereignty, which manifests in Your care. Though I live in the flesh in this temporary existence, You are in all and over all. You care for all. Exquisitely. Beyond what I will see and what I can know. It is in You therefore that I delight. For Your plans cannot and will not be thwarted. Thank You for today. Thank You for all You have done. Thank You for what is to come. No matter what the enemy does, You win and You reign. Jesus, You conquered! Thank You that You were born.
3 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].
12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
SONG Recommended: BE NOT AFRAID –So You Sent Your Son album
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