by Brent Evans
Before Jesus started his formal ministry, He went into the desert to spend time gaining strength and clarity of mind and heart. The scriptures tell us He was tempted in three ways to divert Him from being who He was and fulfilling His mission. His experience is a great example of safeguarding your mind and heart.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Matthew 4:5-7)
Consider the consequences if Jesus had not stood against that temptation. He would have been diverted from being who He truly was and from His mission on earth. There was some logic and some truth to Satanís words, but their purpose was to cause a diversion from what was really important and a distortion or limitation of the truth by leaving out essential truths and priorities.
Satan comes into our thoughts and hearts to divert us from our eternal destiny. We can withstand these thought attacks by continually referring to the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit while keeping our focus on the glory of God and reaching His Kingdom. The battleground for the Kingdom of God is in our minds and hearts. It is the pure in heart (free from falsehoods and distortions) who will see God.
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Three key questions in safeguarding our hearts are:
Who Am I?
(You are a child of a Heavenly Father who loves you and wants you to fulfill your eternal potential as a joint heir with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God.)
What is My Mission Here on Earth?
(To learn and grow as a child of Heavenly Father and to live in such a way that you can become more like Him, thoroughly enjoy and benefit from obedience to true gospel principles, and eventually come back into His presence.)
What Thoughts Attack My Mind and Heart to Divert Me From Fulfilling Who I Truly Am and Completing My Lifeís Mission Successfully?
(It is estimated that we have an average of 60,000 thoughts a day. Make sure that false thoughts do not take root and divert you from what really counts. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, and the battleground for the Kingdom of Heaven is within your mind and heart. At least once a week, take a thought inventory so you can clean out what is waste and blocking your eternal progress.)
My seven-year old grand-daughter Kaylee shared with me how she does it.
Every night, I read the scriptures, think about butterflies and all the beautiful things in life, and then shove all the bad things out.
Destructive or diversionary thoughts are always distortions of the truth. As Heavenly Fatherís children, we are always safe in His keeping, and are always in perfect situations and circumstances to make progress in claiming and fulfilling our royal heritage. To Godís children, even troubles and disappointments have their value. As the late Senator Sam Ervin Jr. remarked: Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.
The prophet Habakkuk in the Old Testament wrote, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will Joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hindsí feet (a hind is an animal that can climb mountains swiftly), to walk (not to stand still in terror, but to walk) and make (spiritual) progress upon my high places (of trouble, suffering, or responsibility! (Habakkuk 3:19 Amplified Version of Bible)
Ö If you abide in My word Ö you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. (John 8:31,32)
Some destructive thoughts gain strongholds in our lives and hamper our happiness and progress continually. Paul tells us we must fight them with the words of God:
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons of flesh and blood), but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds. (Inasmuch as we) refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the (true) knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians)
In this battle for the Kingdom of Heaven within ourselves, we are to take upon ourselves the full armour of God.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:12)
Some destructive thoughts are like fiery darts. They spread quickly and damage large areas of our life. Examples:
An Example of Safeguarding the Heart:
Fanny Crosby was born in 1820. At six months of age, she became blind after a doctor inappropriately treated her infected eyes with a hot poultice. She could have lived her life handicapped by bitter, discouraging thoughts (fiery darts), but she didnít. As a young child only eight or nine years old, she wrote this poem:
O What a happy soul am I! Although I cannot see;
I am resolved that in this world Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy, That other people donít;
To weep and sigh because Iím blind, I cannot and I wonít.
She would never blame the doctor who caused her blindness.
Donít blame the doctor. He is probably dead before this time. But if I could meet him, I would tell him that he unwittingly did me the greatest favor in the world.
In 1913, at the age of 93, she wrote:
If there is anyone in this world happier than I, I want to shake his hand, for I believe myself to be as happy as it is possible for a mortal to be in this world. Life with me glides on like a little boat on a waveless stream with flowers on each bank.
This precious person lived to be 95 years old. Although only 4 feet 9 inches tall and blind, she traveled to wherever she was needed to share her testimony of Jesus Christ. She became one of the most famous women in America and was honored by presidents and other great people of her time. But feeling that the poor needed her the most, she lived among them. She seldom accumulated much money, usually gave away what little she had, and lived in utter poverty. With her heart secure from the buffetings of Satan and filled with Godís love, she wrote the words to over 8,000 hymns, including:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long: This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.
Behold! A Royal Army
Behold! A royal army, with banner, sword, and shield, Is marching forth to conquer On lifeís great battlefield. Its ranks are filled with soldiers, United, bold, and strong, Who follow their Commander And sing their joyful song: Victory, victory, Thru him that redeemed us! Victory, victory, Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord! Victory, victory, victory, Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!