It started like most good ideas do, like most bad ideas for that matter... with a thought. Sometimes it’s a suggestion from a friend, sometimes it comes to the surface in your own heart and mind.
Like a phone call I received back in February of this year. We were talking about The Heart of a Warrior weekends and possibly offering one in his part of the country. Tim has a big heart for this message and to see the hearts of men free. Then he said it, the idea crossed the ocean of his heart to mine...
“You ever thought about offering The Heart of a Warrior in a YouVersion Devotional?”
To which I replied, “What’s a YouVersion Devotional?”
Tim went on to explain about the YouVersion Bible App and how a good friend of his is the content director. So Tim introduced us via email and explained a bit about Zoweh, The Heart of a Warrior, and his idea for this message to enter into their subscribers' lives, maybe a couple of the 290 million+ who have downloaded the Bible App.
We launched our first devotional, The Heart of a Warrior 14-Day Journey, in April this year... 40,000+ downloads later and read in over 30 countries... what a good idea!!!!
Not every thought is your own.
How’s that land on you? Have you ever thought about it? In the spiritual realm there are two kingdoms and two rulers. Jesus called Satan the ruler of this dark world, a prince of darkness (Matthew 12:24, Ephesians 6:12), and He also declared that now, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matthew 28:18). Two opposing forces and influences, one with the power of Life, the other... death.
Ever thought about it, how it works, and that it is at work, right now, as you read this, all around you?
The enemy of our Life and Freedom in God is continually attempting to twist the story, bring into question God’s love, diminish our significance and speak lies into our way of interpreting, thinking, and our next step or our next words or deeds. A valuable piece of property to control... a person's thought life.
BUT, God is fighting for us and battling the spirits of darkness in order to see us experience the love our enemy is hell bent on bringing into question. It all needs to come into question.
How we can partner with God from a place of settledness, belovedness that we might be a part of advancing His Kingdom, loving well, encouraging, affirming, inviting, supporting, and loving one another?
OR are we sensitive to and aware of how we can be used by the enemy of Life and Love to diminish, judge, and wound others?
Oh, we have a role... that’s the point. We have a huge role. Who do you think is responsible for carrying these packages of Life or of death, these Life sentences or death sentences? We are—human beings, "image bearers"—and it all starts with a thought a.k.a. suggestion, invitation, prompting, wooing, luring, temptation. They all “sound” like something and lead to something.
Oswald Chambers taught me,
You want to know the origin of a thought, what its source is—darkness or light? Carry it to its end... how will it result, where will it take you or someone else, what is its fruit?
The Warrior Sons and Daughters of God must learn the Art of discernment; practicing the practice of paying attention, being awake and not being a victim of thoughts but, rather, victorious over them. It’s a much harder practice than you think... until it's not. Mostly because the vast majority of apprentices of Jesus are not awake. The Holy Spirit is carried around within me, but His voice is all too faint and muffled out by the crowd of thoughts competing for my attention and, soon, my action. I'm getting better, and that is the invitation, isn’t it? To get better?
We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true/experiential] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (AMP)
You have got to be awake in order to do that, to understand how it works, and to engage in the conflict.
I pray you find yourself awake and paying attention, observing where you see and hear the invitation and barrage of thoughts, and you develop the skill in picking well rather than them so often picking you. It is a grand and large story. The influence you have is immeasurable. Who knew 40,000 hearts would enter in?
God knew, and it will take some work to learn how to partner with Him, hear His voice, sort it out; and then act, offer ,and share. That's how it works. Easy peasy? Not really, but it can become that way with practice.
Dear God, Holy Trinity, we worship you, we praise your name; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thank you for leveling the field, for coming for us, for winning us to yourself, and for giving us all we need to live and love well. Thank you for the authority and power, Jesus, in which you reclaimed all things. The first Adam lost them (Romans 5:14-18), you came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) and now, we are invited to learn and practice and enforce the victory you have won over darkness... and we claim that victory now, Jesus, in your name and through your Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. Greater are you in us, Holy Spirit, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Father, train us up in our minds... heal us of the wounding and diminishing thoughts the enemy has supplanted within us. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the agreements we have made with our enemies and how it all works. We pray for healing and training, Father, so that we can live and love freely as you have intended for us to live—with you, under your loving influence, awake, and engaged to your presence and your voice.
Jesus, thank you for revealing what an intimate walk with the Father looks like. Take us deeper into the Father’s voice, instruction, and direction, today. We pray and declare our alignment with you and your glorious Kingdom. We proclaim your victory over Satan and all his work set against us and against one another. We confess we have been used by our enemy to diminish ourselves and others. We declare again this day that we want and intend to partner with you to advance your Kingdom... to love well and to enter into the training and art of discernment.
Holy Spirit, raise us up with you, show us your incredible guiding ways. Thank you that you have done and are doing so much that we are unaware of, but we want and need to be more aware. Awaken us, show us, reveal to us, teach us, counsel us in the ways of our thinking, and our abilities to move well or shut down thoughts depending on their source. We bring the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) against all the spiritual forces opposing you, us, and your Kingdom. We pray for a beautiful collaboration between our hearts and will and yours for the offer of Life and Freedom, and Restoration of all things.
Amen and AMEN!