And we destroy every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ICB)
It was the bottom of the fifth in the playoff game and the coach had his players gathered around him. The first innings of the game had not gone so well. Balls were dropped, some of the best batters had struck out, well-practiced plays had fallen apart and now his team was behind by five runs. It seemed like the umpire was not really in the game, calling what they thought were obvious balls as strikes, allowing some safe-at-base rulings that just didn’t seem right. The boys were tired and discouraged, voicing their thoughts that there was no way to win this game now.
The coach looked each boy in the eye, from one to the other. He wanted them to know that he still believed in them. That they could and would gain a victory. That they needed to take those negative thoughts and turn them around. Maybe things hadn’t gone so well those first several innings, but the game wasn’t over. There was still a way to turn this around if they would persevere, get their head in the game, and keep going. The coach’s talk did the trick. It was a new, energized and more determined team who returned for the next inning.
Just as negative thoughts were an enemy to that baseball team, so they are an enemy in our lives as well. It’s so easy to be angry when someone hurts us. It’s OK to have those feelings, but it’s not OK to act on them or to carry them around with us all the time like so much garbage. When we have negative thoughts or feelings, it allows the enemy to gain a foothold in our lives. He likes to use those thoughts and feelings to stir up more strife and even make us feel bad about ourselves.
We can turn those negative feelings around by giving them to God. He knows them anyway, so we might as well confess them. “God it makes me so angry when….” Or “Lord, I hate that….” Or “I wish so and so would just go away!” I think you’ll find that God has a way of answering these feelings with “Yes, but….” Is this a hard thing to do? You bet it is. But, just like a double play on the ballfield, it gets easier with practice. The more kindness and love you can show to Dad or Mom or siblings or friends, the more God’s light can shine. The more you keep your head in the game, focused on Jesus, being as much like Him as you can, the greater the victory.
What’s the best way to get your head in the game? Read God’s Word. The more of God’s Word we have in our hearts, the easier it is to turn those negative thoughts around. Then when we confess our feelings, God’s “Yes, but…” becomes clear to us.
“I hate it when…”
We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28a (ICB)
“I get so angry when…”
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT)
“I wish so and so would just go away.”
The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” Luke 10:27-28 (NLT)
Remember, no matter what things look like, no matter how far your “team” is behind, no matter if the enemy is playing beyond the foul line and the umpire seems to be nowhere in sight, God can and will turn it all around for good.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
A Stander in Nebraska