A friend told me that she was awakened to an odd noise. Lying in bed wondering what her adult kids were up to, she remembered they were gone for the weekend. Thinking that her mischievous puppy might be in the trash, she started to get out of bed only to find the puppy asleep on the floor!
Alarmed, she listened more intently. Was someone in the house? The scratching noise seemed very close. Not wanting to alarm her husband……yet…… she tip-toed to the bedroom door to listen.
The noise was a few feet beyond the door and was coming from their attic. They had an intruder! The trespasser was not a two legged kind but a four legged kind. EWWWWWW!
She pounced on her husband as if it was an emergency. “Honey wake up! Listen! Can you hear it?” He sat up startled out of a sound sleep. The varmint sounded like he was having a feast behind the light fixture.
The next morning an exterminator was called. They scouted out potential entries. They placed traps in her attic and yard to return the following day to check them.
Her story made me think of a metaphor.
The unseen varmints in her attic are like the thoughts that run rampant in my mind. They moved in undetected. They multiplied and ransacked my soul. Thoughts such as:
· I am not good enough,
· I am unloved,
· I am ugly,
· I am stupid.
The embarrassment she felt about her trespassers is identical to how I feel about my thoughts. I don’t want you to know. They make me feel ashamed and humiliated. Therefore I try to keep them hidden. Yet they become recognized by my attitude and behavior.
Although my thoughts had been allowed to multiply in the past, I am becoming proactive for my future. Because the thoughts are false: I am good enough, I am loved, I am beautiful, and I am smart. That is unless you catch me first thing in the morning before my first cup of coffee. J
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “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…”
Like the steps my friend had to do to demolish the stronghold in her attic, I had to with my thought life.
1. Become aware of the problem.
A subtle noise caught her attention that night to make her aware of an unforeseen problem in the attic.
Likewise, my bad attitude or wrong behaviors made me aware of a problem in my thought life.
2. Set traps.
Traps were set up in various places to lure and catch her unwanted visitors.
In the same way I had to catch my unwanted thoughts that kept sneaking in.
3. Discard the waste.
Once caught, the troublesome pests had to be disposed of.
Like my thoughts, I had to catch them and discard them. This was not easy. Taking each thought captive requires diligence to dispose of contradictory thoughts and clean them up with godly thoughts.
4. Clean up.
She became obsessed with cleaning up because she said the residual was EVERYWHERE!
Just as the critters left evidence of their invasion, so did my thoughts. Every little crevice needed to be scoured and disinfected. Sometimes an unpleasant task yet worth the effort.
5. Seal off any access point.
Her unwelcomed guests had gained access from an unknown place.
However, my wrong thoughts could be traced back to a wound. From some mishap in the past, the thoughts gained access and multiplied. Recognizing the source of entry enables me to seal off the access to prevent further damage or destruction to my belief system.
6. Rest assured.
The eviction ordeal was a process for her. It didn’t happen overnight. It was drawn out over a period of time.
Likewise, renewing my thoughts which have inhabited my mind for 50 years is a process. But I can be confident as Philippians 1:6 promises, “He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Her house is quiet as a mouse now (no pun intended) nevertheless I find myself jittery. Just as she never wants to relive her experience, with some thoughts neither do I. I choose to stay attentive to my bad behaviors or attitudes for they are ALWAYS indicative of a wrong thought pattern.
While she learned about trespassing inhabitants in her home, I am learning about trespassing thoughts in my mind.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2