As you’re going about your day, do you feel as if negative energy is trying to pull you down? Maybe you’re feeling some kind of way, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Your thoughts are invaded with things from the past which still seem to haunt you in the present.
Or, maybe you’ve battled with an addiction previously, conquered it with the help of God, and yet here comes temptation flaunting itself in your face once more. Recently we had a friend pull out a can of snuff. In conversation, he reached in his pocket, then offered the can to my husband and I. He stopped what he was talking about long enough to say that his mama always told him it was rude to partake of something in front of others without asking if they’d like some first so he was offering his chewing tobacco to us. He laughed as he extended it in my direction knowing that I surely would not ever take it. That’s when I laughed, declined the offer, but politely told him that not too long ago this innocent offer would have been troublesome for us. He stared back at me as I finished by saying that thankfully my husband kicked the habit a few years ago and no longer chews tobacco. This guy’s face dropped, and he let his arm, which was previously extended out in front of him with the can firmly in his grasp, drop with it. He stumbled over his words for a second before saying, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know …” We were smiling when we told him that it was no big deal now, but he insisted that it was. He said he did not want to be the temptation of his brothern and that he did not want to do anything that might cause my husband to be weak. My husband spoke up then and said it was a hard demon to slay back then, but he did it. He went on to say that he’s at a place now where the sight, smell, nor seeing someone dip no longer bothers him.
Maybe it isn’t something as simple as a can of chewing tobacco that someone offers to you. Perhaps you were once an alcoholic who tried to drown your sorrows in the bottle of whiskey, and yet when you’re out with friends now, they order drinks from the bar. Would you have enough willpower not to order one, too, knowing the affects alcohol has had on you and your life previously?
Temptation is all around, even in the form of what we place before our eyes. Whether it’s in magazines, on television, in movies, or even on our smart phones in the search engines or social media. Temptation abounds. You have to constantly guard your heart, mind, and soul in all areas.
I’d like to encourage you with a few scriptures today, one which speaks of taking a stand against the devil’s schemes. We have to be aware at all times that he lurks trying to destroy our lives. I had someone just today talking about how when they are happy and are enjoying an outing with their family, it seems like something is going to happen that will cause them to lose their temper or get anxious. They questioned why this seems to always happen when they’re all out there just trying to have fun. Why? My theory is that the devil cannot stand to see you happy. He prefers that you are miserable, and he will do everything to ensure that you live a miserable existence. When we’re living for God, the devil gets angry and attacks us. Notice how when you’re living in sin, it doesn’t seem like you’re bothered. That’s because the devil has you right where he wants you, in a world full of sinful ways. But, the moment that you try to redeem yourself and get back on the straight and narrow with God’s help, the devil begins to launch his attacks against you. Just know this. GOD is stronger than any temptation that the devil tries to put in front of you. GOD will not allow the devil to win. Evil will NOT prevail. God has the final say, and I want you to know that God Is For Us, In Us, With Us – and isn’t that a reassuring truth?! You do not ever have to feel like you’re in this alone. God is ALWAYS there. He is our biggest fan! And if you ask Him into your heart, there He will stay! AND, what’s more is that God is with us no matter where we may go or what we may face. He’s there fighting with us and often times FOR us.
Be encouraged today and allow God to help you replace those negative thoughts with good, wholesome thoughts. If you’re replaying a difficult situation over in your mind with the shoulda-coulda-woulda thought process – STOP! Literally, say STOP out loud if you have to in order to redirect your thoughts. Or, try this. Wear a rubber band around your wrist, and every time you start going down that same ole destructive path with those thoughts, POP the rubber band on your wrist. OUCH! This is a reminder because it HURTS … physically, yes it does. Not only that, though, it HURTS us when we start hearing the beep … beep … beep of backing up and going in the past over a situation that is already over with! There is no going back. There is no changing what happened or the outcome. What’s done is done. Stop going back over the situation in your mind rehearsing it 14 different ways. STOP the madness. Just like the physical pain you feel when you snap that rubber band, you’re causing yourself mental anguish by allowing the thoughts to continue!
For every negative that comes into your head, replace it with a positive thought. Praise God for things that you are grateful for. If you have gratitude in your heart and mind, your thoughts will follow. If the devil tries to get on your shoulder and whisper negatives in your ear, stop him in his tracks and start thinking GOOD thoughts. Think of how beautiful your children are when they are just standing on a white sandy beach looking out at the rolling waves as they crash against the rocks. Let your mind be consumed by the laughter that fills the air when your child runs toward you as the waves lick the shore. Shift your mind and shift your focus! You must take control of those thoughts that try to run free. You wouldn’t let your horse buck, kick, and bolt off if you were on it, now would you? NO! So don’t let such a thing happen in your mind! Just as you would attempt to regain control over your horse, regain control over your thoughts. Ask God to help you, and I assure you that HE WILL!!
The verses I mentioned earlier are as follows. Think on these things and go forth to enjoy this beautiful day that the Lord has given us!
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”