by Sherry Bitler, Guest Writer
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
It is 3 AM right now. I cannot sleep. I toss and turn and silently pray, “dear Lord please clear my thoughts and let me fall back to sleep”. It doesn’t work. I tiptoe out of the bedroom. Snuggling into the living room couch with our little dog, Sophie, who silently followed me out of the bedroom. I begin to pray. When sleep feels far away, I decided the Lord must want me to pray for whoever is on my mind at that moment. Tonight, a dear friend’s daughter is in the hospital struggling to overcome a migraine that has gripped her body. A prominent preacher’s son has committed suicide. My husband isn’t feeling well. Three days ago, a friend marked the first anniversary of her child’s fatal motorcycle accident. A 5K for multiple sclerosis is fast approaching that I don’t feel capable to participate in. I am concerned for a family member that doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ (bitterness burns in her heart), and, of course, my own personal needs. Praying makes the darkness more congenial. Prayer makes sense out of my disturbed rest.
I want to better understand the mind of Christ. Impossible I am sure until Heaven, but I hold onto the desire. I long for strength to stand up boldly to those who argue against the existence of a loving God. I want my thoughts to be glorifying to the Lord.
However, my immediate thought is always about me, what I can do or not do, what I want, what I expect, what I think I understand. I realize that what I desire, what I believe, what I know is truth, is at war with the “natural” me. The Enemy still gets in my thoughts. My defenses are often weak, especially when I am tired, in pain, or emotionally or spiritually out of sorts. I am still such a work in progress, still longing for a deeper intimacy with Christ. My need for Him grows more clear every day.
I long for more control in my actions, responding rather than reacting. It takes practice. Breathe, count to ten silently, and then speak… For me stopping to pray is crucial. Even as I head toward someone who has asked to speak with me or whose body language announces they are angry or upset, I whisper “Lord please give me what I need”.
Prayer – just talking to God – is a treasured gift providing peace and confidence.
In any circumstance that I don‘t fully understand, I long for the Holy Spirit to guard my responses. I pray. I try to wait. I try to listen. I try to be still before the Lord. I ask God to please erase distractions, erase unhealthy emotion, and to please help me purify my thoughts and obey Christ. I am the manager of my attitudes.
I long for Heaven while striving to live life here glorifying the Lord. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 convicted me as I read it the other day, “taking every thought captive to obey Christ.”
It means taking captive my negative self-worth thoughts, my giving into temptation thoughts, my selfish thoughts, my envy thoughts, my judgmental thoughts, my critical thoughts, as well as my grateful thoughts, my tasks needed to be completed thoughts, my compassion thoughts, my service thoughts. I want to weigh my thoughts until I am confident I am obeying Christ. This is a battle cry as I seek to better understand and conform to the mind of Christ.
I am grateful the battle has been won. God, incredibly loving us, sent His Son, Jesus. He died. He rose. He sits next to the Father in Heaven. He bore my sin. He took my place. I am free. I work to obey Him, to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever in gratitude. Because of Jesus, I know I will walk in Heaven for all eternity, even though I still often fail here on earth.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your love beyond reason, a love I do not deserve. Please help me to rest peacefully in that love through the routines of the everyday, the celebratory times, and the times of despair and lack of understanding. Please empower me to take captive my thoughts, denying the evil one and those who argue against You.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
In this interview, you’ll hear Sherry describe what it was like to hear the diagnosis of M.S. and how it changed her life. Listeners with a similar diagnosis will be encouraged by the way Sherry has confronted this disease and learned how to continue to invest her life in the lives of others, even though she is sometimes physically limited. This conversation will also help “healthy” people learn how they can come alongside of someone whose constant companion is M.S.
Sherry Bitler: Founder of a local traditional Christian School, a homeschool cooperative school, and a summer program for children at a popular Christian Conference Center. She is a spiritual mother to hundreds of young women. Challenged by her daughter-in-law, she began writing a blog, The Grateful Grammie, several years ago as part of her legacy to her grandchildren. She loves time with her husband of 47 years, their four children, their spouses, and twelve grandchildren. Sherry shares more about living with Multiple Sclerosis in this interview: When MS is Your Constant Companion.
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