how do I get rid of negative thoughts?

 “Be careful also not to let the devil be the interior decorator for your mind… His mission is to keep your thoughts dark, pessimistic, and defeated. If you are defeated in your mind, then for him, the battle is already won.” 1

Oh, how I have partnered with the enemy in listening to and buying into his condemnation. He came in under the radar and caught me off guard. Before I knew it, I was in total agreement with his lies.

I was serving in a women’s Bible study and stepping out in faith to share a personal devotional that the Lord had given me to speak about publicly as an encouragement to the others.  No sooner had I done so, and the tormenting thoughts came.

You have nothing of value to say.

                        They see right through you. You’re a fake.

Over the course of several days I started looking for evidence to further prove what I was hearing. I was looking for evidence of condemnation. That was a sad state, but do you know what is worse? I know that there are many who live for years under the oppression of condemnation.

I experienced a release on the day that I woke up to the reality of the spiritual war at hand. It just hit me: all that I had banked on as truth was actually lies. At that point, I knew what to do- I ran to the Father and asked for forgiveness. He, who had saved me from my sin and delivered me from all oppression through His Son, Jesus, was ready to receive me. I told Him I was now ready to hear His words concerning my service to the body of believers.

Do you know that the very day I prayed and asked for God’s evaluation was the same day I received a special note in the mail? It came from one of the ladies in the Bible study group who wanted to encourage me. She shared that my words were always meaningful to her. “Every time I listen to you speak, I am encouraged, inspired and energized as well,” she said. Now, anyone would love to hear a complement such as this one, but I didn’t look at it from the perspective of getting man’s commendation. I believed the encouragement came directly from the Lord. God knew the day I would return to Him and seek His truth, so He purposed for my friend’s note to arrive just in time.

What thoughts are trafficking in and out of your mind? Are you built up by what you hear? Understand that you can’t control what thoughts enter, but you can choose what you will entertain in your mind. If you think on statements that make you believe you are worthless, powerless, unwanted, and a failure, know that those are not the words of God. He declares the fullness of Christ over you, but perhaps you are not in tune to His voice (See post, “the devotion of hearing“). The Bible states that for all who are in Christ Jesus, we are automatically a part of His sheepfold. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

If you can relate to the negative thoughts ruling your mind, your new life free from condemnation is found completely in Christ. That is exciting news! The world offers many prescriptions for a healthy mind, but unless we are basing our life upon Jesus Christ, we never truly are set free. If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, pray the prayer below. If you have believed upon Christ and are living for Him but realize that you also have believed the lies of the enemy, confess to God your unholy alliance and receive His forgiveness. The Father wants you to live freely and wholly, and Christ is the way.

Father, I confess that I have lived my life apart from You, but today I realize my need for salvation and deliverance. I believe that Jesus, the Son, is the way, the truth, and the life, and there is no other way for me to come to You, except through Him. I believe that His death and resurrection have secured for me the forgiveness of my sins and the welcoming into eternal life. Receive me today in Your family and wash me clean from all of my sins. Today I begin a new life walking in the ways of Your counsel. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 Prince, Joseph. The Power of Right Believing. New York, New York: FaithWords, 2013. P.57

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