The Royal Switch
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My friend, Ed, thought he had the perfect hiding place, and he told me about it. Now, Ed's not really his name, but it is a true story. The incident happened this way. About 20 years ago he was a teenager, and he came from a nice Christian family - nice Christian boy, except for some of his reading material. Now, it was before Internet days, so he had a habit of going out and buying Playboy and some other magazines like it, and he hid them in an old, unused icebox where no one ever went. And he was sure no one knew the place. Well, when he went to get his dirty magazines one day, they were gone. But that's only part of it. In their place there was a Bible. He knew his Dad had to leave it there. There was never any yelling, his Dad never talked to him about it, but he bought no more magazines because of that little switch his Dad had made.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 10, and I'm going to begin reading at verse 3. "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 pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Now, this talks about weapons that will tear down strongholds. And as you study this passage, it becomes obvious that spiritual strongholds are sinful ways of thinking that, well, maybe they've been part of our personality for a long time. Maybe they're wrong ways of thinking about the opposite sex, about depressing feelings in your life, or about a relationship with someone who's hurt you, maybe it's lust, or depression, or bitterness, self-pity. And then it goes on to say, "We can take captive every one of those wrong thoughts to the obedience of Christ."
Now, until you can master the source of sin, which is your wrong thoughts, that sin will master you. How do you do that? Well, Ephesians 6:17 talks about the spiritual weapon that will work. It says, "Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." Learn a lesson from a friend's wise father. Where there had been dirt in the form of those magazines, he put God's Word. He didn't just remove the dirty; he replaced it with a Bible. Now, if you want to beat sin...if you want to beat those wrong thoughts, then you've got to have two strategies working for you. First, take out the garbage - the garbage thoughts - and don't collect any more. That means turning your eyes away from the magazine rack. It means flipping the channel when something comes on that has no business going into your mental computer. It means not ever clicking again to go to those places on the Internet. It may mean, as it did for some of my friends, of putting a picture of Jesus on their computer, or another man who said, "I can't even afford to have a computer at home. I've got to beat the monster inside." It may mean avoiding negative conversations that fuel the dark side of you; canceling a subscription to a magazine, or cable TV, monitoring the music you listen to - whatever it takes to be free of the bondage.
Secondly, you have to put the Bible where the dirt has been. You take a Bible bath daily. You dwell on what you read. You write it down in a journal so you remember it. You use it that day so it becomes part of your personality. There's no substitute for memorizing the Word of God.
D. L. Moody said it so well, "Think sin - think scripture." I like what someone wrote in my Bible one time, "Either sin will keep you from this book, or this book will keep you from sin." Now you have a weapon that can tear down a stronghold of sin and tame the most sinful of thoughts.
"Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." Put God's Word in the same hiding place where you've been hiding that sinful stuff. That is the royal switch.