rev-joaquin-willis_web.jpg Many are imprisoned and defeated by their own negative thinking.  An absence of optimism produces   flawed reasoning, and leads to sinful choices.  Negativity can easily dig in, allowing us to hide from ourselves.  Soon, a stronghold of secrets expands and controls us. Eventually, we will become uncomfortable with ourselves, and seek to escape the burdens of our heavy hearts. 

In 2 Corinthians (10:4), Paul says, “Satanic strongholds require divine demolition.” If we infer that God gives divine power to demolish discouraging thoughts, we must realize that devotional thoughts can replace them, leading to “Victorious Thinking.”

For instance, “Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11).  Moses doubted his ability to do what God asked, but God gave him two rods to help, one physical, one mental. By lifting the physical rod, Moses was able to part the Red Sea (14:16), to strike the rock for water (17:6), and to effect the Amalekites’ battle (17:11).  As long as Moses lifted the rod, the Israelites advanced; defeat ensued when the rod fell.

In Exodus (3:14b), Moses questioned God about what he should say as to who had sent him.  God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”  Moses was to reply to others, “I AM has sent me to you.”  The “I Am” statement was a rod of mental strength.  We weaken ourselves when we fail to use God’s power within us, by declaring “I am sick, I am weak, I am tired.”

In Romans (12:2), Paul said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.”  When we open and invigorate our minds, we ready ourselves for what God wants.  We need to spend time in prayer, in scripture, in meditation, and in devotional thought.

In preparation for leadership, God placed Moses in the desert of Midian, to look within, and to deepen his spiritual powers.  Catherine Ponder, in Millionaire Moses, says, “The word Midian means ‘strife and contention’” and that Moses needed some time there to overcome the strife and contention within himself in preparation for the journey he was about to lead.  Instead of trying to force our will upon others, we might better serve our spiritual goals by looking inward.

In Matthew (22:42), Jesus asks a provocative question:  “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is he?”   When the Pharisees were asked about the nature of the Messiah, they answered, “David’s son.”

Jesus quoted to them (Psalm 110:1): “The Lord says to my Lord: sit at my right hand.”  If the Messiah was David’s son, why did David call his own son, Lord?

Your answer to Christ’s question is an example of Victorious Thinking. Clear, devoted, and dynamic thoughts are made whole when aided by sound theology.

When we are tempted to proclaim that we are tired, or sick, or weak, or discouraged, we must draw from our sure knowledge that, with God’s help, we can make it through.

With God’s help, I am able. With God’s help, I am well. With God’s help, I am strong.  With God’s help, I am encouraged.  God related to Moses, from the burning bush, the meaning of “I am.”  The power within us is the power within “I Am.”

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at