The other night in class, one of our assignments was to compile a list of redundant words to avoid in our writing. These words were easy enough to determine. They were the ones in our works that were repetitive or that detracted from our purpose as the author.
After going around the room a few times, we had managed to create a substantial list. Words such as ‘just,’ ‘well,’ and ‘suddenly’ covered the room’s whiteboard.
This accomplishment, however, was accompanied by an anxiety. You see, the assignment didn’t end with the final words added to our list. We would now have the task of ensuring our works were devoid of them.
The goal of the assignment wasn’t to intimidate or discourage us but rather to bring attention the power of words.
Words that furthered our stories couldn’t be bogged down with superfluous words that filled empty space. Those kinds of words didn’t have a place in a well-written story and their presence wouldn’t be tolerated.
Psalm 19:7-10 reads,
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Am I the only one who struggles with a healthy thought-life? I know this is exactly where the enemy wages his darkest battles against me and yet sometimes I just give him free range.
Perhaps because of mental exhaustion or emotional discouragement, I sit back and watch him tear through my thought-life with the destructive force of hurricane. I allow the rejections and disappointments of my past to affect how I perceive the future. I let him play games with my mind and insert confusion.
I permit the enemy of my soul to slip in deceptive thoughts and redevelop that negative self-image I have struggled with for many years.
How does this happen?
Easy. By dwelling on things that aren’t of God.
If your thoughts are rooted in fear, doubt, discouragement, or any other negative emotion, they are not of God and we have no place for them in our lives. At all.
When we set our minds on the things of Christ, we breakdown the bridge between our hearts and the lies of the serpent.
Philippians 4:8 reminds us to dwell on things of excellence and that are worthy of praise.
If we are living in a pit of self-doubt, our mind is not dwelling on things of excellence. If we feel unlovable or lonely, we are not dwelling on things worthy of praise.
When we dwell on the Lord, however, our thoughts and attitudes begin to undergo divine transformation. He places hope in us where there was doubt. He gives us courage for fear, and strength for weakness.
We do not have space in our souls for Godly and fleshly thought. We must choose one or the other. To march through life in victory or to trudge through in defeat.
Set your mind on the things above, remembering that God’s ways are higher and so much greater than ours. We may have suffered very real and very recent disappointments, but take heart. God has not forsaken us.
Keep your eyes locked on His loving gaze and seek Him in everything you do. Read His Word, pray at all times, and worship Him. Fill your mind with things honoring God, and stomp the devil back to hell where he belongs.
You are saved.
You are redeemed.
You are loved.
You are cherished.
You are His.
So, when the enemy throws those same old lies at you and tries to rehash a dark place in your life, think about the cross. Think about Jesus.
Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
Since Scripture tells us the things that proceed from the mouth comes from the heart (Matt. 15:18), we know that if we want to please God, we must set our hearts to things of excellence, to our Father.