This too shall pass
Have you asked yourself, is 2020 over yet?
Are you celebrating the fact that this trying year is about behind us?
I too have experienced this feeling and I want to say temptation, repeatedly… and yet each time there is an awareness in my spirit that knows this doesn’t serve me. We can’t fast forward through trials and tribulations.
In fact, if we don’t intentionally slow down, reflect, and wake up from the speed at which we normally float through life while things are “good” and “comfortable”, we will completely miss what God is seeking to reveal and teach us…
And what might result could be a different and possibly even more challenging event or situation that will present itself to serve as the “wake up call” we missed from before.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
Yes, we can be grateful and have faith that this too shall pass, but we must ensure we have our eyes open and set on what we should.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 states
“For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]! So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.”
Take Your Thoughts Captive
There is an abundance of fear, confusion, strife, division, anger, hatred, malice, ill will, gnashing of teeth, and offense in this present time. But it’s a personal choice whether to indulge in it or not.
John 14:1 reveals this as Jesus comforts His disciples
“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.”
Later in the chapter, Jesus goes on to say,
“Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]”
What you think about and how you feel may not always seem like a choice… but it is.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says:
“We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ”…
This is generally where the teaching/preaching of this scripture is complete and yet in verse 6 “being ready to punish every act of disobedience when your own obedience [as a church] is complete.”
In Paul’s letter to the church he doesn’t just bring up that we must hold thoughts and purposes captive to the obedience of Christ… he calls out to punish not taking action.
I believe we can do this ourselves as well, in prayer, and with revelation from God, He will show us what thoughts and purposes DO NOT align with Him. So that we may take them captive, repent, and move forward.
Oftentimes we give ourselves permission to allow these thoughts, feelings, and purposes to remain. We justify what they are there and will even make “sophisticated arguments” as to why they aren’t really in disobedience to God. And sadly our friends, family members, and even the church will not call them out as Paul concludes we should in verse 6.
In fact, if you’re blessed enough to have someone in your life that calls you out for changing your thoughts, purposes, and actions… you’ve likely distanced yourself from them or allowed yourself to feel judged or persecuted by that person.
Keep Your Eyes and Thoughts on Things Above
So where should our thoughts, purposes, and actions be at ALL times including such a time as this?
“Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], and in these [sinful things] you also once walked, when you were habitually living in them [without the knowledge of Christ]. But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self— a renewal in which there is no [distinction between] Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, [nor between nations whether] barbarian, [nor in status whether] slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all [so believers are equal in Christ, without distinction].”
Great division and separation are rampant among us today, even within the church. This scripture speaks against that. How will this change? Where do we start? Each one of us must begin within ourselves. We can’t change how others act, behave or live their lives… But the good news is we can shift and make changes in ourselves.
Another great scripture that shares where our thoughts should be focused on is Galatians 5:22-26, the popular fruits of the Spirit verse.
“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.
If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.”
If you find yourself thinking, feeling, and experiencing confusion, fear, frustration, or other negative thoughts don’t judge or condemn yourself… But also don’t allow those thoughts to remain. Take hold of them. Cast them down and pray about them.
A Continual Pursuit
The studies often conflict themselves but it’s believed that we think on average as many as 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. And for us women, it’s common for there to not be any pause or break between those thoughts, unlike men.
That’s right ladies… when you ask your man what he’s thinking and he replies nothing; he’s telling the truth!?!
Men tend to have pauses and breaks between their thoughts, whereas women’s thoughts commonly are nonstop and even overlap each other.
Don’t be surprised that keeping your thoughts, purposes, and intentions in alignment with Christ takes consistent, persistent, and ultimately constant attention and effort. If you feel like you’re holding thoughts captive all day… you’re probably doing it right.
Pray continually and ask God to reveal what thoughts you need to hold captive? What purposes and actions are not in obedience to Him?
And when He reveals it to you and you’re unsure what to replace it with, pray about that too.
I often do what I call thought downloads… where I dump and unload on paper EVERYTHING that’s running through my mind.
It’s interesting to have a birds-eye view because often once it’s on paper and I read it versus thinking the thoughts, I often see where it’s complete nonsense, yet while it was all in my head I was in complete agreement.
I’ve found that it’s not always about replacing the thoughts with something fluffy and happy. It’s about awareness, understanding, and discernment.
Find Scripture that proves your thoughts to be in disobedience and read them daily, write them in your journal, and pray for God to empower you to shift and change in alignment with Him and His Word.
Now some of you might ask, what does this have to do with horsemanship or horses…
To that, I’d like to ask you what thoughts, purposes, and feelings do you have around yourself as a horseman or horsewoman?
Do you feel like you’re less than or not enough?
Because if you do… That doesn’t align with who God says you are.
Does your horse have a health condition that’s causing you to feel afraid, frustrated, or confused?
Watching your thoughts, feelings, and purposes in EVERY area of your life is important.
If you’re as horse obsessed as I am, God will speak to you through them in ways you might not have been open to hearing or seeing Him in any other area of your life.
Religion, dogma, or legalism might seek to put God in a box… But He is everywhere and can speak to you through far more than church services and pastors.
Read the Bible, pray without ceasing, and until the next post, get out there and enjoy your horse!
Want to listen on the go? Check out the “Faith” tagged episodes on the Better with Horses Podcast