I have a confession to make. I struggle with negative thoughts. Yes, I know I have been a follower of Christ for 46 years, in full-time ministry for 30 years, and I am the president of a vibrant growing ministry. Yet, I struggle with negative thoughts at times.
Most recently, it happened when I had negative thoughts from comparing myself to someone else who has a very influential ministry. If you have ever struggled like me, you have learned that you do not overcome these thoughts by saying to yourself, “Just don’t think about it”.
For me, as I look back on my life, this has been a pattern from time to time, not every day or every week. It is what the Bible calls the “flesh”. The flesh is a set of patterns through which we have learned to cope with life or to attempt to meet our God given needs for love, acceptance and significance. These are negative ways for me but I also have positive ways. The problem is that both are wrong and sinful.
I do not know about you but it seems like negative thoughts most often come right before I go to bed each night. That was my first clue years ago that this was a spiritual problem.
So, how do you deal with negative thoughts? First and foremost, you need to realize that these thoughts are not coming from you. They are actually a type of temptation. When these thoughts come, they are designed to defeat you, discourage you, or bring you down into depression. You are smack dab in the middle of spiritual warfare. Knowing this, you can defeat these thoughts.
To deal with these thoughts, you can pray or even tell yourself the truth, “These thoughts are not from God and not from me!” This situation is not my life. These people are not my life. Jesus is my life. (Col. 3:3-4) My needs for love, acceptance and significance are already met in Christ and I choose to believe that even it I don’t feel it! (Col. 2:10) So, in the name of Jesus Christ the risen Lord, be gone and leave me alone. Then, I often thank God for how much He loves me over and over. That, more than anything else, calms my racing thoughts. Ps. 50:15
We have nothing to fear but we do need to recognize we are in a spiritual battle. And most importantly, please realize this. We already have the victory but need to apply it. Why do I say we already have the victory? Because the Victorious One lives in us! “Greater is He (Jesus) Who is in us than he (Satan) who is in the world!” 1 John 4:4.