May 12, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from May 8-14 are provided by Emerson Lin.  Emerson, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, serves as a staff at Kairos Christian Church, while studying at Talbot School of Theology.  He is married to Annie.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

2 Corinthian 10:4-5

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Tennis has always been a large part of my life. I started learning how to play when I was 7 years old and spent majority of my time training for tournaments. I became obsessed with the game and would spend hours watching professionals play. One thing I noticed is that professionals in the top 30 are equal in skill: they all can hit serves at amazing speeds, have great footwork, and their forehand and backhand are fluid. However, what separates the top 5 from the rest is—their mental game. The reason why Roger Federer was able to hold his no. 1 position for years was because he had a strong mental game. Yes, he would get frustrated, but losing a game wouldn’t hinder him from finding a solution to beat his opponent. At the core of it, tennis is a mental game.

Similarly, our Christian life is not just a battle in our spirit, but it is also battle in our minds. Paul mentions in verse 5 that “we must take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” An important aspect of winning the spiritual battle is redeeming our thoughts. In fact, the Bible is filled with passages that emphasize the importance of guarding our minds. For example, Romans 12:2 says: “Do not conform to the pattern of this word, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”; and Philippians 4:8: “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.”

The reason we need to make our thoughts obedient to Christ is because our minds lean towards disobedience. Paul captures this in Romans 7:19: “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing….” Our minds naturally wander towards sinful thoughts and easily become distracted.

I believe there are two practical ways to make our thoughts obedient to Christ: First, we can guard our mind from “garbage.” There is so much garbage on our computers, phones, and televisions. If you are struggling with taking every thought captive, try limiting what you see on your screen. Second, we can pursue the knowledge of God. Christ calls us to be disciples, which means learner. As we learn more about Jesus, we start ignoring the garbage that can flood our minds.

Do you struggle with making your thoughts obedient to Christ? Take some time to think about which areas your mind wanders off to. Once you’ve done that, pray through these issues. Ask God to renew your mind so that you are one step closer to winning this spiritual battle.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know I am sinner. My mind is so quick to disobey You, my mind wandering toward thoughts that are opposite of what You desire. Please give me the strength to slowly renew my mind by limiting the amount of garbage I see. As Your disciple, I want to become more and more like You. Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 4


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Psalm 119:65-72: Do good to your servant according to your word, Lord. 66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. 68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. 69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. 70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. 71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. 72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to the psalmist, what are two reasons why it is important to be disciplined by the Lord (vv. 67 and 71)?
  2. In verse 69, how does God’s law protect the psalmist?
  3. How should we view God’s law (v. 72)?

Notes

  1. First, so that we do not go astray, and second, so that we can learn how to walk on the path of righteousness again.
  2. God’s law guards the psalmist’s heart from the lies of the arrogant enemies.
  3. God’s law is worth more than the material blessings He has given us.

EVENING REFLECTION

In light of today’s devotion regarding the battle of your mind, what steps can you take to guard your mind more? Do you need to focus more on limiting your media intake, or do you need to focus on reading God’s word more? Continue to pray that He will renew your mind more each day.

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