Remember when we learned to drive? How we nervously sat in the driver’s seat and pulled onto the road for the first time, wondering how on earth we were going to keep the speedometer needle in its legal position, shift, brake, watch for merging traffic and keep the car out of the ditch?
But after a while, we got to the place where we could drive and eat cereal while putting on make-up? Okay, maybe that was only me. And I learned my lesson!
To help curb my Mario Andretti tendencies, I actually paid my kids a quarter for every yellow light I ran. And, um, a dollar for red ones. I know, I know. I’m a much safer driver these days.
That’s kind of how it is with our thought life (minus the make-up and cereal, of course).
A negative thought comes sneaking up on us and because of our familiarity with the emotion tied to the thought—-be it fear, anger or worry—-we swing wide the door and let it come speeding onto the freeway of our minds, crashing through our peace and hope.
God wants us to find the peephole on the door to our thought life and put it to use. We need to see what we are opening ourselves up to. Lies or truth? Nothing enters without our giving it permission.
The problem is that sometimes the negative feelings are so familiar we don’t even question whether they belong. We become acclimatized to them. It feels normal to slide into worry and fear and frustration.
But they are enemies. Terrorists to our peace and joy.
So how do we remove these virus-like thieves?
We can’t kick them out without replacing them with something else.
That’s why God instructs us to think on things that are lovely and true (Phil 4:8).
Side note: Negative thoughts can hold a grain of truth (and sometimes a boulder). But if the thought creates fear or any other negative emotion, we aren’t to entertain it (2 Cor. 10:5).
I heard a pastor once state, “Sometimes the devil will tell you the truth to lead you into bondage. Satan tried to use scripture against Jesus in the wilderness.” (Matt. 4:1-11)
The other day the thought came, “I’m so tired.” I started to lean into it as it felt sort of comfy. I am tired. Then I thought, “No. I’m not.”
We don’t have to agree with all the thoughts that come to our minds. In fact, we’ll have more peace and less worry when we fight them off. When we say no and ask Holy Spirit to help us think on things that are good and true and build us and others up.
The key is realizing it is a battle. One that is winnable and critical to our freedom.
Father, continue to reveal Your goodness to me. Show me when the enemy is sending thoughts to entice me into darkness. Dark thinking and ugly thoughts of myself and others. I want to live differently. I want to change my thinking. Please wash and cleanse my mind from my former habits and teach me new ones. Help me to be gentle with myself and not give up as I practice training my mind to reject what comes from the enemy and embrace what is from You. Thank you! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Driving photo by Pixabay