A good gauge of where you are at in your relationship with the Lord is to measure the influence of everything else. In any given situation, there are two forces at work. The Lord and the enemy. Ideally, as believers we want to be under the Lord’s complete influence. But inevitably we occasionally find ourselves slipping into the familiar patterns of our flesh— especially in negative situations. Think about how you react when you’re ready to dive in to a new day and you encounter something unexpected. Maybe you are late to work, and traffic is slower than ever. Or maybe you just got your little one dressed and on your way out the door you realize their diaper is leaking out the side, and now down your arm. We all know how quickly these seemingly small events can lead to the destruction of an entire day. But I want you to take it even further— I think by allowing our circumstances to be the primary influence on us, moment by moment, day by day, we are making a decision to give ourselves over to the jurisdiction of the world, instead of putting the things of this world under the authority of the Lord. This can lead to an entire lifetime of putting God second, and subsequently never fully recognizing his power in our lives. I want to challenge you to start a new habit. A habit of holding every experience, thought, and reaction accountable to the Lord. Everyone reacts poorly once in a while. And most people have probably thought on the worst days that the pain will never end. I don’t think the measure is necessarily in a person’s reaction, but in their reaction time. How quickly did you notice that the enemy was at work in your thoughts? How fast did you recognize the spirit of discouragement was not placed there by God? And how long did it take for you to be able to say to the accuser in Jesus name, “Get out, stay away from me. You are the father of lies.”
The couple of examples I gave above may sound insignificant. And they are small compared to a lot of the struggles we face in this life. But I believe that holding even these minute difficulties accountable to the Lord changes everything because it changes our perspective. In Jesus name, we have power over our circumstances, thoughts, and actions. We just need to better our reaction time, making it second nature to look at our thoughts as influencers— the Lord or the enemy.
In Zechariah chapter 3, we continue with the vision of the Lord to Zechariah. Satan, called the accuser, is standing before the Lord making accusations against the high priest, Jeshua. After Satan’s allegations, the Lord responds in verse 2, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you.” I want you to stop here and read the verse to your self again but replace Jerusalem with your own name. The Lord has chosen you. And because of this he intercedes on your behalf so that you are not left in your sin. The enemy’s charges have been thrown out and he has no jurisdiction in your life.
In verse 4, the angel instructs Jeshua to physically change his clothes. The changing of his clothes represents the cleansing of his spirit. He is no longer dirty, reeking of sin— but he has been made clean, and is ready to step into the fullness of his new life. This part of the vision points to the coming Messiah and how he will clothe us in salvation by offering his own life for our iniquities.
When we look at the power given to us, through Christ’s death and resurrection, it is clear that the freedom and power in which we have been called is possible— when we fully trust in the Lord. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is my prayer for you and for me. That we would have eyes open to the power available to us and learn to walk in the fullness of our salvation.
Ephesians 1:18-21 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
When we strip off our old selves, and clothe ourselves fully in the Lord, putting every part of ourselves under his will, we are given supernatural authority. My challenge for you is this, next time you begin to allow negative thoughts to resonate in your mind— work quickly to hold them accountable. Once you recognize their origin, cast them out, and fill up with the truth. Make Jesus Lord of all parts of your life, including your thoughts. Lean in to him and learn how to walk in complete freedom.
What ways does the enemy influence your thoughts? Do you recognize negative thoughts and feelings as weapons of the enemy?
Write down the characteristics of your old self. And then write the characteristics of life as a son or daughter of the king. (Chosen, redeemed, created for purpose) Speak out loud to the Lord as you take off the old and put on the new. This will help to send the message to your body and also be a tool to help recognize any thought that comes in.