Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Are You Ready for the Upcoming Storm?

For days now, there has been one subject permeating every conversation--the upcoming winter storm.  The weather alerts have been issued.  The roads have been salted.  The elderly have been warned to stay indoors at all cost.  The public has been urged to prepare for power outages and traffic delays.  And, of course, the grocery stores have long been out of bread and milk.  (Silly me, I forgot that step, and Jason used the last of the milk this morning in his coffee.  OH NO!!!!!!)  We did, however, stock up on firewood, so I think we'll be fine.  In fact, at the time of this writing, I haven't seen a single raindrop or snowflake.  Right now, the sun is still shining.  But hey, when and if the storm comes, we're ready, right?

I realize I'm being a bit dramatic, but I'm always cracked up at the intensity of the panic in the South when the weather forecast calls for ugly weather.  I mean, every source I've come across is stating less than one inch of accumulation.  One inch, people!  Good grief!  Still, I understand the need to be prepared, and I would rather that people overreact than not act at all. . . especially when it comes to preparing for spiritual storms.

Funny, we don't often prepare for them the same way we do physical storms, do we?  We don't stock the shelves or batten down the hatches.  In fact, more often than not, we don't do anything to prepare for the oncoming spiritual storms, and the results are disastrous.

First Peter 1:13 says, Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind. . .  To gird up the loins means to prepare oneself for battle.  But notice, the verse is not talking about physical armor but rather that which protects the mind.  Later on, in I Peter 1:4, it says, Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind. . .  There it is again--armor for the mind.  Do you realize that before you do anything, you think it?  You may not realize you're thinking it, but you are.  The body cannot act or react without the mind first telling it to do so.  Therefore it is safe to say that all spiritual battles (or storms) begin in the mind.  And yet, that is the one area that we so often leave unprotected.

So, how do we protect our minds from stray thoughts and naughty nudges?  The book of Philippians answers that question.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)



I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. (Philippians 3:14-16)

How do we arm our minds?  In a simple phrase, think like Jesus.  We're all familiar with the popular slogan, "What Would Jesus Do?," but it's time we expounded on that and asked ourselves, "What Would Jesus Think?"  And if we're ever in doubt of whether or not Jesus would think a particular thought, we need only run it through the filter of Philippians 4:8:  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If a thought doesn't fit under any of those qualifiers, then it is not a good thought.  It is an enemy and must be dealt with accordingly.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5) Get rid of it!  Don't allow it to settle in and get cozy.  It doesn't belong there, and if left to linger, it has the potential to destroy you.

God doesn't waste words.  There is a reason He has given us the instructions on how and why to arm our minds.  Just as we prepare our homes for upcoming storms, so should we prepare our minds for the oncoming attacks of the devil.  We know they're coming.  We've seen the alerts and heard the warnings.  God has given us specific directions on how to prepare, and if I may give you one more verse of Scripture, here's what we need to do with those directions:  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:9) 

We've learned, received, heard and seen.  We know what to do, so why aren't we doing it?

Guess what.  I just glanced out the window and noticed that the precipitation has finally begun to fall.  I'm not worried because I took the time to prepare.  Now, can I say the same about my next spiritual battle?  Can you?  

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