As a review from our last two parts of this devotion…
A foolish lady hears God’s Word but doesn’t apply it. Her life is built on the instability of her own subjective “truth” as she sees it based on her personal preferences, desires, and affections. Her foundation is weak, and life’s trials hit her hard. Whether she admits it or not, she is consistently picking of the pieces of a fragmented life.
A wise lady also hears God’s Word, but she is careful to apply it. Her life is built on the firm foundation of the objective truth of God’s desires for her. She can and will lay aside her personal preferences, desires, and affections if they conflict with what God has taught her about His ways. When the trials of life hit her, she feels the effect, but she is able to withstand the circumstances without devastation.
The key difference between a wise and a foolish woman is her ability to rightly apply or obey God’s Word.
Obedience is both internal as well as external. It is easy to focus on doing right in what we do and say because others see that. But obedience isn’t about performing for a human audience or trying to always be right so other people will be impressed by how “godly” we are. Obedience is about agreeing with God and believing Him in a responsive way. Obedience is worship. Even our thoughts should respond to God in a spirit of obedience. THAT is what I needed to remind myself of this week as I lay in bed having a violent wrestling match with my thoughts. And that is what I did. I turned my late-night wrestling match into a worship session by lining my thoughts up with the promises of God.
The verse that I used to draw strength from in my time of weakness was 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
My fearful thoughts were “speculations” and “lofty thing[s] raised up against the knowledge of God.” In my fear, I was mistrusting God. Every time I thought “what if…” or “why didn’t I…” I denied that I was in the hands of a God who loved me so much that He was not willing to spare His only beloved Son on my account. If God the Father would give His Son’s life for me, I could trust Him to walk with me through anything.
Laying in bed that night, I was able to participate in divine warfare. I tore down the fortresses of fear, worry, and anxiety by “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
Instead of thinking this scary open-ended thought that breeds more scary thoughts:
What if this thing that scares me actually happens?
I began to think of closed-ended truth statements that do not invite more fearful thoughts:
Even if this thing that scares me actually happens, Jesus, I know You have promised me that You will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:8). And even if the things that worry me come to fruition, I believe in Your promise to cause all things — both good and bad — to work together for my good and Your glory (Romans 8:28). And Jesus, even if my anxious thoughts become reality, I can trust in You because through suffering, You are able to help me learn to persevere, which will lead to proven character, which is going to produce the kind of hope that doesn’t disappoint, because I will learn more and more to find my all in all in You, Lord (Romans 5:3-5). And what could be better than growing closer in my relationship with my God who made me, gave everything for me, and loves me with an everlasting love (Philippians 3:8)? Nothing!
Sisters, THIS is how women with fearfully racing minds and heavy hearts get to sleep at night! We lean into Jesus. We press into Him with every fiber of our inmost being — down to every single word of every thought that crosses our minds in an attempt to build a fortress to keep the joy of the truth from us. We take up our spiritual armor. We claim His promises. We stand on the firm foundation of choosing to obey Jesus with our thoughts. We take each and every thought captive. We make those thoughts obey the Lord. And after we destroy the fortresses robbing us of our peace, we rest in Him. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, we rest.