I opened my mailbox and groaned. Sitting on top of the usual junk mail was a card that I had mailed to my friend Suzanne a few days earlier. “Return to Sender” was boldly stamped across its front. She had obviously moved, without sending me a new address. Now it, too, was part of the junk mail I received for the day.
I have often wanted to return junk mail. This day was no exception. Junk mail is an annoying nuisance.
Yet, God used it to remind me that I spend more time dealing with “junk mail” than with “junk thoughts,” such as envy, self-pity, and doubt. These are just as time and energy consuming. I often let discouraging thoughts linger much too long--allowing them to gain a stronghold in my mind.
I may not have control over external circumstances like mail. God reminded me, though, that I have been given a way to return unwanted thoughts by rejecting them. Second Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) encourages us to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,” and to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” By refusing to dwell on destructive thoughts, such as self-pity and fear, we are returning them to the sender--Satan. . . “a liar and father of lies” (John 8:14). Jesus paid the price for us to do that. He died that we who know Him as Savior may have power over these unwanted thoughts through His Holy Spirit.
As I looked at the junk mail on the table, my annoyance turned to thankfulness.
Through the Holy Spirit, I can refuse to accept destructive and defeating thoughts. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). When God is the sender, I don’t have to be disappointed in the mail.
©Barbara Baranowski, 2017