Devotional by Sandy Hopkins
When I ponder the word “freedom” and consider what it means to me – my thoughts instantly take me back to the days when I had very low self-esteem and little confidence. On the outside everything about me probably looks similar to the way I did all those years back – but on the inside it’s a whole other story. I am no longer the same person, in fact the transformation I underwent profoundly changed my life forever!
You see, my self-talk was really bad, plus I was really hard on myself whenever I made a mistake. Not a great combo if you’re a perfectionist. I was also very sensitive to peoples words and reactions to me and I took things personally. Gosh, when I look back on the old me I wonder how and why I waited so long to ask God to help me change. I was so bound up by fear, rejection and comparison – but pride, that was the factor that stopped me from wanting change! What would people think about me then?! Would they talk about me behind my back?
When I got to the point that I didn’t want to live this way anymore and became desperate enough to plead with God to help me – that’s when things started to change. And God made it very clear to me that it was going to be a partnership – Him working with me and helping me, combined with me wanting to change and being willing to implement what He asked me to do. The way change took place for me was by putting this scripture into practice…
“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
In The Passion Translation of the Bible the same verse actually says “We capture, like prisoners of war…”
I find it ironic that the scripture that helped set me free from all my insecurities cannot even be found if you do a “word search” on freedom on the Bible app. The scripture was “quickened” to me as I read my Bible and continued to attend church regularly. It seemed like every second sermon I heard used that scripture! And when I meditated on that verse and looked it up in different versions of the Bible – it seemed to me that God was high-lighting the fact that taking something captive was not passive. In fact it was aggressive.
So that’s what I began to do – I aggressively arrested my harmful thoughts and replaced them with a scripture. Scripture, after all is The Truth – the bad self-talk was a lie from the pit of hell and it had formed a “track” or “groove” in my thinking that replayed whenever I did something I perceived as stupid. I memorized a scripture that counteracted the lie and physically stopped my train of thought and spoke the scripture over my life in its place. I asked God to remind me whenever He wanted me to do this – and He did!
The process sounds simple enough – but it took eight solid months of repeating the scriptures over the lie before I had breakthrough. The breakthrough only came when I started believing the scriptures. I am still astounded that I believed the lies of my foe – I mean I had swallowed them hook, line and sinker and they were not easy to dislodge!!
I realized my breakthrough had come one day when I laughed at myself for doing something I would normally have crucified myself internally for. What a great day that was! I recognized it as breakthrough and have never been the same since. And I’ve also come to the realization that most people have too many things happening in their own lives to spend time thinking or talking about you or I.
Applying 2 Corinthians 10:5 to my life was the way I renewed my mind and renewing my mind was the pathway to freedom for me. I can honestly say that whenever God has wanted me to make any significant change in my life since then, I have implemented this scripture to help me focus and make that change. It took focus, consistency and hard work – and I am beyond grateful that I did it (with God’s Help)!
So if you’re reading this and need change, I encourage you to start with your thinking, PLUS start some great habits – like reading your Bible daily, be planted in a local church AND why not kick start things by joining us at Devoted Conference on February 28. An intensive 2.5 day immersion in the Word of God and a positive atmosphere may be just what you need!
“But we are certainly not those who are held back by fear and perish; we are among those who have faith and experience true life!”
Hebrews 10:39 TPT