Those who battle anxiety and fear know the onslaught of thoughts that can spin wildly out of control. The cycle of “what if’s” seems to take over your mind, igniting total panic and helpless feelings of being out of control.
It starts with a thought that comes out of nowhere. All of sudden, your mind is finding ways to fend off this unwanted intruder. “What can I do to stop this?” “What will happen if this comes true?” “How can I get out of this situation?” On and on, the cycle spins faster.
In his book, “The Three Battlegrounds”, Francis Frangipane talks about one battleground in particular–the battleground of the mind. The enemy whispers doubts into our mind, and all of sudden, we are fully engaged in a fierce, mental war. At times, we feel like we are fighting for our own sanity.
The Bible is very aware of this psychological struggle. We are constantly reminded to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). But how do we do that?
Colossians 3:1 says this: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Set your mind of on things above–heavenly things, things like the love of God, his promises over you, your right standing with him, his mercy, his faithfulness, his grace, and much, much more. Renew your mind as it says in Romans 12:1-2. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world. Sometimes it’s just too easy to turn on the television and escape into someone else’s reality. But in doing that, you feed the anxiety and insecurity, fueling the fear. Why? Because you are setting your mind on earthly things, not heavenly things.
Philippians 4:8 says this: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” This is a Biblical list of things to think about–to meditate on. Write down some noble and pure things. For example, take a story from the Bible and make a mental movie that you can playback in your mind when those dreaded thoughts try to enter in.
And finally, use the word of God to defeat those debilitating thoughts. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus responded with scripture. Satan said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:3). Jesus didn’t start the cycle of “what if’s”. Immediately Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (verse 4). He did this each and every time the enemy came against him.
This week, I encourage you to “quench the fiery darts of the enemy” (Ephesians 6:16) by learning to take your thoughts captive. Submit them to the word of God and respond as Jesus responded: “It is written…” Faith will rise up in your heart, and your will be victorious in this battleground of the mind, for “a mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6)
Prayer: Father, help me to take these thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Help me to recognize the attack of the enemy, and not give in to the cycle of “what if’s”. I put my trust in you.