When times get tough, it’s so easy to watch our lives from the side lines and think, “This is just the way it is.” Or worse, “This is just the way I am.”
I recently heard someone attempt to explain their problems from a hopeless, Christ-less worldview. “I just can’t help it…this is the way I am,” were the words used. And I truly felt sad.
Those words made me realize how, even though we can’t always change our situation, we are still responsible for our reaction to whatever comes our way. As believers, how we respond matters and should glorify Christ. And we can start doing so by transforming our minds and changing our attitudes.
To be honest, the past three years have been both the most challenging and the most growing for me as a follower of Christ. I’ve faced many ups and downs. There have been days where I have genuinely thought to myself, “Why can’t this just be easy?” In those moments, I have to intentionally call to mind 1 Corinthians 10:5:
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Surprisingly, Paul in this verse is not directly telling us to take our own thoughts captive; he is actually talking about the minds of others, specifically the Corinthians. John Piper explains the context of this verse in his Ask John podcast:
“Paul is the warrior, and the enemies are those people whose minds and arguments are proud and lifted up against God. And when Paul defeats those minds and arguments in the power of the Holy Spirit, their thoughts and their minds are taken captive and they become people with the mind of Christ or obedient to Christ.”
But that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. It means that, when we sin just like the Corinthians did, we need to make it our goal to take our minds, our thoughts and our attitudes and align them with the word of God–destroying every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and taking every thought captive so that it obeys Christ.
So when I’m tempted to believe lies such as, “I can’t do this. This is just the way I am. God doesn’t care about me,” etc, I need to fill my mind with truth, reminding myself that God has a purpose for every situation he places me in. This can be lived out practically by feasting on scripture.
Below are some of my favorite verses for casting out the thoughts of the enemy from my mind. These are great verses for memorizing or even writing on a notecard and keeping close by. My prayer is that they help you hold onto God’s promises, even when life gets hard.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son. Romans 8:28-29a
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:1-3