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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. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10 (NIV)

In the years of my ‘spiritual recovery’ these verses (along with others) exemplified the battle I endured and the awakening I had to what God’s grace really meant for me. Not only did I gain a new appreciation and understanding of grace, I realized the value grace gives me.

It’s so easy to let my mind wander; so easy to see a woman and admire her beauty and then, if I’m not careful have those thoughts linger.

It’s so easy to let the doubt of my ability creep in unaware and to lose sight of the fact that success doesn’t come from my ability to perform but from my openness to letting God use me through his Holy Spirit.

In my younger years we used to love playing ‘capture the flag’. We’d spend hours designating the prize, (the flag) and use whatever means possible to protect it from being ‘captured’ by the enemy.

In real life what is at stake is far more valuable. In real life the prize isn’t a flag or some other earthly item that has little real value. In real life the prize we protect is our peace of mind; our relationship with God; our relationship with others; those things we hold dear. But it can all be taken away with a fleeting thought; a lapse in judgment; a giving in to the desires of a ‘desperately wicked heart whom no one can trust.’

My failure at times to take captive my thoughts has taught me two things which I hold dear to my life. One is my desperate need for a Savior and my reliance on Jesus to empower me when attacks come through his Holy Spirit.

Secondly, I find myself far more patient and understanding when I hear the stories of those who, in a fleeting moment have let their thoughts be taken captive by the enemy. When I remember my own weakness and failure it is far easier to bear yours.

If you are in the midst of bearing the consequences of thoughts turned into actions let me assure you there is forgiveness at the foot of the cross through Jesus Christ.

If you are under that internal attack in which every thought seems to attempt to distract you from the goal; if the enemy is throwing everything at you to pull you away, let me remind you there is power in that blood of Jesus. He understands your weakness. He understands how easy it is to let rebellion, worry, doubt and sin enter in. He is near you, ready to forgive, strengthen and encourage.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I don’t know what battles of the mind will come my way. What I do know is that I’m weak in and of myself. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to take every thought captive so I can enjoy the passionate love relationship you desire to have with me. Amen.


In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:3-4

There is an old Native American legend regarding evil and good. Evil is portrayed as a dark dog that lives within each of us; good is a white dog that also lives within each of us. The two are at constant battle for control of our lives. The dog we choose to feed the most is the dog that wins control of our lives.

In a sense, the legend isn’t far from being wrong. Paul describes a similar scenario in his own life when he says, in Romans 7, the good that I want to do, I don’t do. Instead, the very things I hate, the very things I despise, I find myself doing over and over again. Paul, like the rest of us, want to see the ‘dark dog’ die, yet we continue to feed it at least enough to guarantee power to wage war in our lives.

Any of us who have walked the journey of life at all are well aware of the battle within. There are so many things out there that cry out to us. Things that make us feel good (for awhile at least), things that ‘seem right’ (even though they contradict God’s law), things that sneak up on us and attack us at our weakest moment.

For some of us it’s an addictive habit like smoking, drugs or alcohol, or lust. For others it’s anger, language or food. Still others battle daily with feelings of failure, insecurity, fear and doubt. We work hard to build or salvage broken relationships, save our homes or jobs and rescue our children from harm. It’s draining just to think about it!

The Apostle John gives us a formula for victory. It’s a lesson he learned at the feet of Jesus himself. The secret to victory over the world isn’t found in religion. It’s not found in social action, counseling, self-help books or volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Recovery groups and fitness programs won’t help either.

The secret to victory over whatever you are struggling with is love. Not love as the world gives, but love that comes from a growing relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Many of us know that but few of us see victory. One reason may be that we forget, or have never learned, that relationship takes time. Victory won’t come over night. The bad news is that we are responsible for every bad decision we’ve ever made. We can choose. The good news is that even if we’ve made a boatload of bad decisions in life, Jesus Christ will forgive us and help us back on the road to recovery.

Don’t expect to win every battle every day. Take little steps. Relationship comes as we read God’s Word on a daily basis, pray for guidance and strength and refuse (one decision at time) not to listen to the enemy voices that want to bring us to defeat.

People who are victorious over the things that bring them down are the people who determine every day to walk just one step closer to the light. The are the ones that have learned to celebrate the small victories in life and bounce back from the occasional defeats as they learn to love Jesus Christ above all else.  

PRAYER: Father, from this day forward I have resolved to move closer to you in relationship through the love and forgiveness only Jesus Christ can offer. Forgive me for the times I’ve made wrong choices. Empower me with your Spirit to learn to walk closer to you and love you more. In Jesus name, Amen.


Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9

He was caught red-handed. There was no way to hide it now. It was in the open. His integrity lay in a shattered heap on the ground. How would he face his family? How would he face the family of the person he killed? What would happen with his faith? Would God act swiftly and with revenge? All his years of waiting, running, fighting for what was right was destroyed in an instant.

He felt anguish, guilt, fear, shame and, interestingly, relief. I’m talking about the story of David and Bathsheba. Here he was, King of Israel and caught in a lovers triangle. He’d slept with another man’s wife and got her pregnant. He had her husband murdered to try to cover up his crime. He ran, but he couldn’t hide.

Before we are too hard on David we need to look at our own lives. Maybe it isn’t adultery and murder that plague us. It could be anger, lust, addictions of any kind, doubt, or envy. We may be able to hide those things for awhile. Some of us get good enough to hide them for years! There are a few that are able to live their entire lives fooling other people. But even if we can fool everyone else, we will still have internal consequences to deal with.

Sociologists and psychologists tell us that many emotional, physical and spiritual issues in a person’s life can be traced to one thing: guilt or unresolved guilt. Guilt is a powerful force that can affect us in every aspect of our lives. We do things to try to cover up that guilt, but those things make matters worse. We grow fearful of what other people may think so we live in fear.  We blame others or try to drown our sorrows in new relationships, drugs and alcohol or some other activity. We run in fear of being found out because we don’t want to suffer the shame or consequences. The things we do to try to hide our ‘secret lives’ only make matters worse and take a devastating toll on our personal lives and relationships.

People who finally ‘come clean’ often express a feeling of relief. They don’t have to hide anymore. They can get the support they need for the healing process and their entire outlook on life changes for the better. Coming clean may mean we have to confess some things publicly, but most importantly it means being honest with God and with ourselves. He is the only one who can heal us of our wounds. Confession of our struggle isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength.

Regardless of what you are struggling with today, Jesus can offer you the healing you need. He doesn’t expect you to clean yourself up first. He won’t be critical when you fall (again and again). Jesus knows the root cause of our actions when no one else does. He isn’t about making us feel guilty; Jesus wants to make us feel clean.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank You for knowing the struggle I go through every day. I’m afraid of being caught. I’m losing sleep. I feel completely out of control. I even doubt your existence at times because the pain is so bad. Forgive me for failing so many times. Help me to have the courage to change what I need to change so I can live in integrity. Amen.

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