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Caterpillar Thoughts in a Butterfly Brain

Posted Jun 13 2008 5:04pm

Last night, during our class, we were discussing the “Battle of the Mind.” For anyone who doesn’t speak Christianese, that is the shorthanded phrase we use to describe the struggle to maintain control over our thoughts. As everyone on this planet can attest, sometimes we just have no clue where a thought comes from, how to react to (repent from?) a particularly disturbing or distressing thought, and how to prevent similar thoughts in the future.

I want to keep this post short and sweet, so I’m not going to rehash everything we talked about. Suffice it to say that we are not helpless victims in this conflict over our thoughts. Yes, we grew up with environmental factors that influence how we think (positively and negatively). Yes, we have to counter the constant influence of a fallen world. Yes, we know we have spiritual forces working against us. BUT:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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 10:3-5

We really don’t have an excuse for rolling over and allowing our thought life to run all wild over us because the weapons we have are divinely powerful to stand up against the thoughts that we know are contrary to God.

DIVINELY POWERFUL. Think on that for a while. You think your thoughts are so messed up that the God of the universe cannot reign them in? Think again.

The most powerful thing we can use against the thoughts that are bringing us down is Truth. If environmental factors, worldly influences and the enemy has trained your brain to think a certain way that you know is not lining up with the will of God in your life, your first and greatest defense is to know the TRUTH. It will set you free, says Christ. The more Truth you absorb, the more it retrains your thinking patterns.

Do not conform any longer 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

That word “transformed” in the Greek is the one we get the word Metamorphosis, and “renewing” means a complete change for the better. To go through a metamorphosis, one form is changed completely to another. The classic example is the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. I read somewhere that if you took a DNA sample from a caterpillar, it would read “butterfly.” In other words, you can’t tell the difference. But if you look at the two, the butterfly really seems like the better form. Caterpillars creep around, they are destructive to plants because they eat and eat and eat, and they give me the willies. Butterflies are beautiful, graceful, sip nectar and help spread pollen so that flowers can grow.

We have butterfly brains, but we think caterpillar thoughts.

And the only remedy to that is a transformed and renewed mind. A retrained brain.

To take thoughts captive, we have to work to expose the lies. Did you know that in order to train money handlers how to recognize counterfeit bills most of the effort is focused on getting an intuitive feel for authentic currency? A seasoned bank teller is going to sense something is not right with a counterfeit bill not because he or she has been exposed to so many fakes, but because they have handled so many authentic ones. It’s the same with truth…focus on appropriating the truth into your mind and life, and your ability to spot a lie increases.

I’m going to post more about taking thoughts captive and about being real and honest with God about where we are in our thought lives. I’ve gotten a lot of experience (both good and bad) in this area over the past couple of years and have tons to say about what worked for me and what didn’t. Maybe you have methods that have worked well for you. Please please please, don’t be shy!

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