12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
Oh the downward spiral of sin. From hatred within our hearts to action by our hands. It starts from within! Just as in this narrative man is drawn to commit atrocious acts due to their selfishness and overwhelming emotions. These brothers were shackled by their selfish hearts which saw their brother being favored and reasoned ‘why not me?’ They allowed the hatred to be maintained, likely investing in it, meditating on the annoyance that was their brother. Instead of demolishing arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, by taking their thoughts captive and making their mind be obedient to God’s commands (2 Cor. 10:5) they allowed their thoughts to take them captive and lead them into deep sin.
Christians struggle with being discontent, or hateful towards others and they don’t understand why God doesn’t remove this. Yet they are allowing their minds to still be mostly filled with… well their own thoughts. Scripture tells us our flesh, our natural selves are evil… right? (Galatians 5) So we must train all parts of our flesh.
Our minds are the setup for our actions. Our mind is the place where the war with our Spirit and flesh take place. Though there is an outward war against the principalities of the air there is also a war within us we must address. Without this knowledge we attempt to defeat the enemy approaching us while simultaneously being crippled by a spy who lives within our ranks (our flesh). We are weakened from within before even entering battle.
Without yielding to the Spirit and applying God’s Word over our thoughts regardless of how much WE think WE are right, we are giving way to the enemy. As a nation we struggle with obedience to God’s Word because it is barely even in our life. We read periodically, perhaps even daily, but that’s not meditating on His Word. That’s not taking thoughts captive by His Word. APPLYING GOD’S WORD IS MORE THAN CHANGING OUTWARD ACTIONS! Applying God’s Word is using it daily in your minds, allowing it to shape and take captive your fleshly presuppositions. Let’s look at the rest of this account to see another reason why many christians struggle with their internal battle.
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
As a nation this is where we have landed. We see sin happening and instead of saying “NO! WE MUST REBUKE THIS!” we find ways to lessen the badness or look for a private way to address it’s presence. We are not bold enough to be outspoken in front of people and call sin SIN. We hide behind pride, fear, and (honestly) our lack of faith. Of course we are afraid and unable to stand up against vile sin, our minds are partially led by the same sin. Our flesh rules most of our mind which is WHY we have the fear and apprehension towards boldly standing in opposition to it. Our faith is not guiding us, it’s just along for the ride.
Now I want to reiterate what I say often: we call out sin among those who are believers. Those outside of the blood of Christ we share the simple truth God has given us: All man is evil, and deserving of punishment for their disobedience to God’s moral law. Additionally Jesus Christ (who was God) came to pay for that debt. All it takes is faith in that payment to receive His gracious covering of your sins. Not stopping all of our sin.
No sinner can stop sinning. Only with the power of the Holy Spirit will we find freedom from sin. (See Romans 7-8). So we must extend the Gospel to the world, of course you can use their sins to show them their heart. However, make know the issue that they do not want to change it. Find relatability there: Of course you (the sinner) cannot stop wanting these things, neither could I! That’s why Jesus came, to take care of the penalty for that sin and also offer us freedom from the POWER of sin. The power over sin is found in sanctification (the desire to yield to the Spirit and follow God’s commands). We can be free from the penalty of sin yet still overwhelmed by it’s power if we are not properly walking in sanctification. Still saved, yet experiencing hell on Earth.
Lord, thank You for giving us the Spirit to convict us in accordance with Your Word. Thank You for giving us Your Scripture so that we can clearly see Your desires, even when the war in our minds are being lost. Thank You for allowing us access to Your plan and desires! Help us to win the war in our mind and proclaim Your Word over our thoughts. Lead us to take captive all of our thoughts so that we do not find ourselves overwhelmed with the power of sin.
The struggle within our thoughts is real. Remind your friends who are struggling that they are losing within their mind and THAT is why they are losing outside of their mind. Remind as many as possible about the necessity of meditating on the Word.