Have you ever been troubled by your thoughts? Maybe you know what it is like to be burdened by chronic worry, fear, despair, or anger. Sometimes our minds can feel like a battleground. However, as a Child of God, we don’t have to let negative thoughts live “rent free” in our minds. In fact, the Bible talks about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Cor 10:5). In this article, we will walk through the steps to kick troubling thoughts to the curb.
God is the king of the universe. Yet, his reign and rule should also be over our minds. Negative thoughts can turn our focus from God. I believe the enemy loves to see God’s people wrapped up in negative thoughts. Satan will rob you of the freedom, joy, and peace that comes from being a Child of God. So, what do you do when you are burdened with thoughts you know are not coming from God? When I face negative thoughts, three words come to mind: ARREST, EVICT, and REPLACE.
Arrest the thought
When a police officer arrests a criminal, that person’s freedom to move about is taken away. Negative thoughts can run through our minds like a fleeing felon. “What if things don’t work out? What if I don’t get better? What if I get fired? What if someone gets mad? What if I don’t have enough?” You get the point. If you are spinning your mental wheels instead of praying, praising, or giving thanks, something has to change. Arrest the thought. Refuse to let this negative pattern continue. How? Recognize what is going on in your mind and ask God to help you stop this pattern. Sometimes when I’m struggling in silence, I ask for God’s help in an audible way. I pray out loud, “Lord, with your power, help me stop, and arrest these thoughts. They are not from you and have no place in my life. In Jesus name, amen!”
Evict the negative thought
Eviction is the process of removing someone or something that does not belong. The best way to evict a negative thought is to call it what it is: SIN. Is it a sin to worry? Yes. Confess to God that your thinking has not been from the Holy Spirit. God already knows this. However, there is power in agreement with God on any issue. Sometimes I pray, “Lord, I have been wrong to worry. This sin has taken my focus off of you. Please forgive my sin and wrong focus. Help me trust you with this concern moment by moment. You are big enough and strong enough to handle it. This problem is too big for me and it is yours to bear. Amen.” (see 1 Peter 5:7-9).
…there is power in agreement with God on any issue.
Replace the negative with good
Negative thoughts are like weeds. They can spring up anywhere at any time. So, I have to replace the negative with things that will bring my focus back to God. Prayer, bible study, and listening to spiritual songs are some of the ways to get my focus back on God. However, let me specifically recommend Scripture memorization. There is no better tool to “re-train” your brain and restore peace than memorizing Scripture.
God wants us to be free. True freedom comes from knowing and doing God’s word. We will never know true freedom apart from His word.
We need to know what God thinks about the challenges we face. Write a few verse on a card that deal with what you are facing. Read the card 4-5 times a day. In a few days you will know them by heart. Remember, Scripture is God’s Word, it is what He thinks. Replace negative thoughts with God’s Word. If you arrest and evict a negative thought, you must replace the empty space with God’s Word. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Colossians 3:1-2; Ephesians 4:1-3, Psalm 27 and Psalm 91 are great passages to commit to memory.)