We just finished up a message series where we learned about different spiritual roadblocks that can we can encounter in life. We learned to allow God to do a construction work in our lives and to cooperate with Him so that we can back into the fast lane of life unhindered. We discussed things out there that can trip us up such as love for the things of this world, fleshly cravings, and circumstances that cause discouragement.
However, what happens when the hazards that we face aren’t external? What do we do when the hazards that we’re dealing with are in the back seat of our car? What if it’s even worse, the container holding these hazardous materials is our very own skin! Road construction won’t do a bit of good for it because we carry it around with us wherever we go.
Do you find the same issues popping up whether around your family, friends, coworkers, classmates, or even your very own self? Have you tried changing jobs, schools, neighborhoods, spouses, etc. and problems still continue to arise? It might be time to do some self-examination. If you’ve noticed that issues seem to follow you around, then the hazards just might not be everyone else nor the situations you find yourself in.
By definition, if something is toxic, it is capable of causing serious debilitation or even death. In reality, we all possess toxic materials inside of our lives. We must appropriately deal with them before it’s too late and we find ourselves weak, ineffective, and dying.
The worst spiritual condition that can exist in a person’s life isn’t the atheist denying even the existence of God nor is it the Satanist set out to destroy the work of God and praise our enemy. Nope, not at all! In fact, Jesus has an easier time dealing with them than He does with many Christians!
According to His own words, Jesus considers the worst spiritual condition that can exist to be a passionless Christian who doesn’t realize their own condition. This is the most toxic of conditions!
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
This week, we’re beginning a message series where we’re going to learn about some toxic things that can exist in our life that God wants to cleanse and heal us of. Every day we are exposed to toxins and some of those toxins can seep deep into the core of who we are and take root without us ever knowing it.
We think we’re spiritually rich, but those toxins have made us spiritually wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Let’s face it, it’s simply awkward for everyone if we continue to allow our fellow brother or sister in Christ to walk around in the nude (spiritually speaking of course)!
Throughout this series, we’re going to learn how to identify and remedy toxic materials from our own lives.
We’ll cover toxic areas of our thoughts, influences, relationships, words, and religion.
Some toxins have fast and immediate affects, but most act slowly and make their impact over a long period of time. That’s why we can be in a wretched, toxic state spiritually and not even realize it. All toxins, however, corrupt those exposed to them.
This week, we’re confronting the hazard of
toxic thoughts. Most of our life issues stem from and bear fruit from the roots of our thoughts. When someone does something outrageously stupid, what’s the question that we usually ask them? What were you thinking?!?!
Our thoughts are stewing and brewing non-stop inside of us. We think constantly, even while we are asleep. What we often do not realize nor understand is that we have control over the thoughts which we think.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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.
If one is able to steer the mind, they gain control of the whole person. Con artists know this reality full well. God’s word teaches us the same truth. If we want to win the spiritual warfare that we are in, we must start with the battlefield of our mind and not allow our enemy to con us.
Not every thought belongs in our heads. Some of them
need ran down, thrown to the ground, hand cuffed, and banished forever. As a person thinks, so they are. I’d actually take a step beyond that and add that as a person thinks of another, so they will be to that person. If I think someone is a thief, I will expect them to steal. If I think someone is dishonest, I will expect them to lie. If I think someone is lazy, I will expect them to let me down when I need them.
Do you see how toxic such thoughts are? They corrupt the prophetic people that we are called to be who always hope, trust, encourage, and persevere. What we think about each other and the people around us will drive our attitudes and actions toward one another. What we think of ourselves will define our future.
Video – Examples
Here are some key phrases that indicate that our toxic thought level is in the
red zone! When we think such things, they are like toxic hand grenades! They don’t only hurt us. They also hurt who we are thinking these thoughts about and they hurt anyone in the nearby radius, too! Toxic hand grenades are phrases like:
There they go again
I’ll never be good enough
Seriously, what is their problem?
Keep your eye on that one
I’m just getting what I deserve
I can’t believe they
Oh boy, here they come
But what if…?
Things are never going to change
God is punishing me
Similar to these toxic hand grenades also are these toxic landmines placed in our minds. We know they exist when we see someone and we think that they are thinking certain thoughts toward us and so we think that we need to act a certain way and talk a certain way. At the right time, in the right place, with the right look or comment, BAM!, they go off inside of us.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Biting, devouring, destroying; vivid descriptors of toxic thoughts and behavior! When we possess toxic thoughts, that is exactly what they do. They bite, devour, and destroy ourselves, others, and most unfortunately, they destroy what is supposed to be the church, the body of Christ.
When we think of others, do we think of how we can serve them? Or when we think of others, do we think of how wrong they are and how much they need to change? In essence, thinking that they need to serve us by bending and bowing to our opinions about their lives? Do we think of serving them or of how they should be serving us?
When we think of someone, we need to begin to stop and question ourselves. Are the thoughts that we have toward one another loving? Do they bring life or death? Do they build up or tear down? Have our thoughts become toxic, corrupted by the world? Have our thoughts been renewed by the Holy Spirit; are they Spirit-lead? Do they truly love as in God’s standard and definition for loving?
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
Now this doesn’t mean that we’re going to be best friends with everyone. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to agree with everyone. It doesn’t mean that we even have to like everyone. Some people will just always grade on us and rub us the wrong way, so to speak. However, our thoughts toward others should not be coated with corrosive toxins as a result. We don’t all have to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but we do have to bear with one another IN LOVE.
We can completely, totally disagree with someone and still think and act loving toward them. Jesus loved those who opposed Him enough to confront them with truth. With those caught in what was thought to be the worst of sins, Jesus extended grace and mercy and forgiveness. They completely acted in opposition to everything that Jesus was to His very core, yet He loved them.
With those who thought they did not sin, Jesus boldly confronted and was brutally honest with them. It didn’t always look or feel like love, but it was love. Often, Jesus even perceived their toxic thoughts and confronted them. His genuine love toward them persisted even when He hung on the cross they nailed Him to verbally forgiving them for their toxicity.
To cleanse ourselves of these toxins, we must first be aware of them. This happens most often through confrontation because we don’t usually see them in our own lives. This was the case for those that Jesus confronted, they simply didn’t see themselves as they truly were.
When others confront us about toxic thoughts that come out of our mouths and through our actions, we need to listen humbly. We need to be careful not to spew out even more toxins by defending or justifying ourselves. We either humble ourselves and allow God to lift us up or we exalt ourselves in pride until God is forced to humble us. Let’s choose our healing over our toxicity!
1. Confess and ask forgiveness from Jesus. He’s faithful to forgive us and CLEANSE and PURIFY us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
2. Confess and ask forgiveness from those we’ve exposed to our toxins. In cases of gossip or grumbling and complaining, this can be a long list at times (James 5:16).
3. Make it right. If it is possible, right any wrongs and cleanup any messes that we’ve made by spilling out our
4. Guard ourselves. Just like putting on a hazmat suit to avoid toxic materials, so we need to guard our thoughts against future toxins.
Proverbs 4:23-27 (CEV)
23 Carefully guard your thoughts (heart in other translations)
because they are the source
of true life.
24 Never tell lies or be deceitful
in what you say.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. If we act nicely to someone, then speak negatively about them to others, we’re being deceitful and telling lies. Instead, loving people means that we’ll talk to them directly about any issues that we have with them and not to anyone else.
25 Keep looking straight ahead,
without turning aside.
26 Know where you are headed,
and you will stay
on solid ground.
27 Don’t make a mistake by turning
to the right or the left.
While guarding ourselves, we’re to take
every thought captive. However, how do we know which thoughts to plant within our lives and allow to grow and which thoughts to throw out? Also, it’s not so easy to just stop thinking about something. Has anyone ever tried NOT to think about something? The more that we try not to think about something, the more that we actually think about it!
When we figure out that a thought is toxic in some way, we need to go a step beyond just throwing it out, we need to replace it. When someone becomes infected with something toxic, the doctor doesn’t just put an end to their life. Although that would cleanse the infection, they also kind of missed the whole point of trying to save and heal that person, right?
An infection needs a cure, and antidote, something to counter-act the toxin. The cure that God has given us is His word. Whatever the toxic thought might be, the antidote can be found in Christ. When the Apostle Paul was again reminding the church about the need to guard our hearts and thoughts, he also included a guide for us to apply to our thought life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
This verse all by itself is an incredible guide for us to use to bridle our wild thoughts and to bring peace to the chaos that rages within.
Yes, we all possess toxic thoughts in our lives. However, today is a new day. God’s grace, His love, and His mercy are all brand new. Today can be a day of healing and deliverance. Today can be a day of cleansing as we are made new. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Let’s allow God to do His work in and through our lives uncorrupted by toxic thoughts.
Next week, we’re going to learn about some of the toxic influences in our lives that may be how we became exposed to these toxins and how to protect ourselves from them.