Negative thoughts will rob your joy, your hope, your life. They’ve stolen a large part of mine.
I have a confusing personality—a strange combination of extrovert and introvert. The part people see is outgoing, friendly, talkative. The hidden part is shy, withdrawn, insecure. Those who know me well may find this hard to believe but it’s true. Didn’t I warn you it’s confusing?
People bring out the best in me. I’m the classic social butterfly—and so optimistic I can be annoying. But that inner self at times prefers being alone…and there’s where my trouble begins.
My inner self is home to worry, fear, regret, low self-esteem—scoundrels I’ve wrestled for most of my life. They hang together in a crate labeled negative thinking. Do you struggle with these pests, too? If only we could call an exterminator to eliminate these invaders that steal life one moment at a time.
Recognizing the enemy is a crucial factor in battle.
In this battle for the mind, Satan is the enemy—a subtle and cunning thief and destroyer who never tires of harassing us. His favorite target is our control center—the mind.
The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Wellspring means source or fountain.
The heart seems a remote place and what goes on there is vague. I’ve come to this understanding.
The heart feels what the mind is thinking. To guard our heart, we must guard our thoughts.
Four elements of guarding against negative thoughts:
- Take thoughts captive. “…The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Resist wrong thoughts, brushing them off as you’d brush a bee from your shoulder.
- Think about good things—the whatsoevers Paul talked about in Philippians 4:8. Choose to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, admirable.
- Renew the mind by meditating on God’s Word. “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Memorizing Scripture, storing God’s truth in your heart, gives you a strong arsenal to combat an enemy attack.
- Sing praise and give thanks. “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). Offer praise and thanksgiving by a decision of the will—even when circumstances aren’t favorable—because God is worthy of our adoration and appreciation.
I have a tendency to live by feeling. In unfavorable circumstances, I don’t feel like choosing to take thoughts captive, choosing to think about good things, choosing to renew my mind by meditating on God’s Word, choosing to praise and give thanks.
One verse brought amazing stability to my life. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
In biblical times a city with no protective wall lay defenseless against enemy attack. Letting emotion rule left me defenseless against the enemy of my soul. I had to halt his access to my life through feelings.
Source of the feelings trap is negative thinking. Thoughts control mood.
Every waking moment, we’re thinking. Since our enemy relentlessly plants negative ideas in the fertile soil of our thought-life, we must relentlessly guard our thoughts.
Negative thinking is poison, and poison is deadly. Don’t allow it access to your joy, your hope, your life.
Getting rid of negative thinking and all its cousins is a choice, a decision, a mindset. Start by making Psalm 19:14 a daily prayer.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Negative thoughts belong in the garbage dump.
Do you wrestle with negative thinking? Please leave a comment—and share this with friends who need encouragement today.
© Dianne Barker 2018 (reprinted)