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The Python and the Chihuahua

March 30th, 2009 Posted in encouragement, Pastor's corner, sermons

What we think about is really important.

In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things” (NKJV).

Another translation puts it this way: “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (THE MESSAGE).

What we think about ultimately affects what we do

Therefore, we must nip in the bud any thoughts that are impure, spiritually harmful, or that feed the beast of worry. This means refusing to play the “What If” game, driving yourself to despair.

You remember the first temptation, when Satan came to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the Serpent was more Cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (NKJV)

He did not introduce himself by saying, “Hi, I’m the Devil, the enemy of God, and I have come to ruin, destroy, and pull you into hell with me and my demons!” He may be wicked,but he isn’t stupid!

The Devil is like a snake

When the Devil comes to us, he comes with subtlety, snake-like, slithering in when you least expect it. People don’t always keep their guard up for him either.

I read about a large python that ate a family’s dog, a silky terrier-chihuahua crossbreed. The children, ages 5 and 7,  watched as the snake finished his meal.

This is sad, but also odd. The local zoo owner, who eventually came and picked up the snake, said, “The family that owned the dog had actually seen it in the dog’s bed, which was a sign it was out to get it.”

“They should have called me then,  but (the snake) got away . . . and came back,” he added. 

We can be like that with the Devil

He has essentially plopped himself right in our bed, and we pay him no mind. “Oh, he won’t be back,” we think to ourselves.

But just like that python, he is stalking you! Don’t underestimate his power, and don’t leave your mind open to his attack.

As a snake, Satan attacked Eve’s mind. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (NASB).

Why?  Because it is here in “command central” that we reason, contemplate, and fantasize. Your mind can reach into the past through memories, and into the future through imagination.

Train your brain!

You need to train your mind to think properly and biblically. We read in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we should cast down “arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

This is why I am teaching this new series on Sundays and Thursdays called Essentials: What Every Christian Needs to Know. Because we as believers need to learn how to think more clearly.

Just some things to think about today.

14 Responses to “The Python and the Chihuahua”

  1. IB says:

    Thank you for this blog. It totally spoke to me. I’ve been struggling with impure thoughts and the Devil is very cunning in slipping things in. I know that God always provides a way out . . . I just need to turn the volume up louder and take a way out when I’m tempted.

  2. Dan says:

    Pastor Greg,

    Thank you for such a great reminder of a basic truth. It is so important what we think about. To steal the phrase from you, it’s essential.

    I’m encouraged by your challenge to think.

    It’s so easy to fall into the rhythms of life – a habitual way of living – that we tend to believe it’s always someone else who needs to get their act together. For instance, we all know to encourage our young kids to be careful how they think. We constantly ride our middle school and high school students regarding who they allow to influence their thinking.

    But we often forget to realize how “we” are thinking. Or worse, we have stopped thinking.

    We fall into kind of “feeling-our-way-forward,” “what’s-in-it-for-me” kind of existence.

    I think that’s why the author of Hebrews was so adamant when he warned us not to drift away! [“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1 NASB)]

    When we stop thinking, or fail to train our minds to think properly and biblically, we risk drifting away. We risk a gradual hardening of the heart.

    We become like the wandering Israelites: refusing to believe in Him in the face of His gracious signs and miraculous provisions. We begin to demand of God new signs and miracles because our hearts are hardening to His previous work. When we stop thinking biblically, it leads to sin, wandering and ignorance of God’s ways.

    So thank you for this post. Thank you for today’s challenge.

    Dan from Charlotte

  3. Debbie says:

    I agree, in Philippians 4:8, Jesus fits all those things. Jesus is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praise worthy. So we meditate on Jesus, the Word that became flesh!

  4. Ily says:

    I read this verse in a book. The book said we should mediate on this verse and really understand what it is telling us. I’ve read the verse over and over just to make sure I understand it. It is amazing how I was even able to read your point of view. Thank you for the blog.

    I officially completely understand the verse!
    :)

  5. Misty says:

    Thank you so much for this entry. It’s something I am struggling with, and I almost let it prevent me from fully accepting Jesus into my heart. I ask God daily to help me in dealing with the misleading thoughts that takes me away from him (and it works too! :D).

    This isn’t the first time I’ve been struggling with something and your daily devotional, podcast, or blog entry has coincided with the issue and helped ease my mind.

    Glory be to God, our Father and may God bless you, dear Pastor Greg. :)

    aloha

  6. Renee says:

    Thank you, Pastor Greg. I really enjoyed reading this post. I am going to put my head on straight and be very careful what I listen to and what I am seeing with my eyes. That is a great reminder that we must be on guard. God Bless You and your beautiful family. Your ministry is truly helping me grow and teaching me through the Holy Spirit.

    With sincere thanks,
    Renee :) S. Fl

  7. Scott says:

    Very difficult with all the influences at every turn, television, ads, etc. Even good TV shows have bad commercials. So difficult. A little compromise can turn big very quick.

  8. John says:

    I don’t think of myself as a downer. I wouldn’t say I have low self-esteem. I think I’m positive and upbeat in life and so forth. I walk with the Lord.

    Despite all this, I’m stunned by how the enemy comes at me hard reminding me of where I’ve come short, what impure thoughts I may have had about someone. It’s surreal how I begin to play out these thoughts in my head, and soon I have tension and my nerves are on alert. I lose concentration on whatever I’m doing. My mind is suddenly divided, and now the enemy has taken over, just ruining a moment, a day.

    I recently heard a pastor say how important it is to forget the past and to be on alert about entertaining that which you know is not good in our minds.

    Great message, Pastor Greg! I pray I don’t lose sight of this. I know God wants us to grasp it and to cling to it.

    John in O.C.

  9. Linda says:

    “Train your brain.” I like that, Pastor Greg. How true it is to remind ourselves when our thoughts are wandering down the wrong paths. To clear my head, I tell myself that “my God is bigger than any of this and more powerful.” It always helps to remove the junk thoughts; it leaves room for better thoughts.

    Thanks for the reminder,
    Linda B.

  10. Maria says:

    So true. Just a great teaching that we really need to revisit daily (sometimes, even more often). Let us all encourage our children, friends, spouses, etc., on a regular basis to guard their minds. It is right up there in importance with saying “I love you” to them regularly. Caring about their protection from Satan is saying, “I love you.” So thanks, Greg, for encouraging all of us in truth as it is love toward us!

  11. Denise says:

    Pastor Greg, that’s crazy how the enemy knows when we’re down and out, how he studies us and knows when to attack. Thank you for pointing out the fact that we need to train our mind to think more biblically. You’re a great pastor. My boyfriend and I both love attending your church. Denise

  12. Shelley says:

    Thank you, Pastor Greg. I really need to retrain my mind in obedience to the Word. This is very helpful. I hope to hear more about this in your messages. I need to learn to walk with God in the ways that please and honor Him. I am hoping to listen and obey. I fail a lot, but I keep trying. I really want the real deal, to be a real Christian.

  13. J.C. says:

    Dear Pastor Greg,

    The last few months I have been understanding better that it is our mind where we get attacked and where we need to be more vigilant and careful with the thoughts we meditate on.

    Thank you for this teaching because it further affirms and clearly explains this true battleground.

    High Regards,
    J.C.

  14. Sandy says:

    Wow, Pastor Greg, what a great teaching today. Thank you!

    Hee Haw from Texas,
    Sandy

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