“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
– John 8:31,32
In this text Jesus reveals that holding to his teaching is a critical element of true discipleship and spiritual freedom. And holding to Jesus’ teaching could certainly include reading and pondering his Word, but it is more. You hold to Jesus’ teaching when you embrace it through reading or hearing it along with living in light of it as you continue through your day. This speaks of spiritual discipline…the intention and effort one gives to remain under the influence of the truth and presence of Jesus rather than just randomly visiting it.
To hold to Jesus’ teaching a person also has to learn what it means to “take every thought captive” as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
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.
I believe that most people hover in darkness, fear, negativity, anger, confusion and despair because they allow their thoughts to be controlled by lies. If the truth sets you free then the lies we live under bring bondage. For many, the prescription for freedom will essentially include first of all, discovering and rehearsing the truth as revealed by Scripture and the Holy Spirit. But is also must entail recognizing and renouncing any lies influencing one’s thinking. Such lies not only need to be renounced but also replaced with the truth each lie contradicts. A new habit must form where the disciple rehearses the truth and stops rehearsing the familiar lies that sadly had come to feel like the truth.
Along with these thoughts I believe it is imperative for a believer to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Without intention it can be easy to focus on the proverbial glass that is half empty rather than half full. When Jesus fed the 5,000 he focused with gratitude on the few loaves of bread and fish that was available rather than how sparse the provision was (as did the disciples). Negative people are often the one’s most acutely aware of what’s wrong or lacking in any given situation and have the unusual ability to disregard anything positive. When you combine an ungrateful heart with a negative perspective you have a person that’s not too fun to be around! The words “toxic” and “grumpy” come to mind.
But there is good news for such people. Change is possible through repentance and spiritual discipline. By utilizing God’s supernatural weapons we can begin to demolish negative attitudes and thoughts that are not true…we can take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ!
Do you believe this? If yes, are there any lies that you have lived under that need to be confessed, renounced and replaced with the truth? Consider listing the lies and then find a corresponding Scriptural truth you can rehearse and use to gain and maintain the freedom that Jesus has put within your reach.