I recently had a situation where I was feeling downhearted. My thoughts and feelings were, “Lord, I feel tired and worn and I need your strength to go on”. I am sure I am not alone when I say, “all of us have felt dispirited and discouraged at various instances or moments in our lives”.
I must confess I did not manage this feeling well and I allowed it to overtake my mind and get the better of me. Now as children of God we should never let negative thoughts and feelings get the better of us! As Joyce Meyer stated, “the battlefield of the mind is real”. Our mind is a mental battlefield where at any moment, we can either conjure self-destructive thoughts, or our enemy the devil can rain despair in our spirit.
The thing is, anyone can soar when they are on a mountain top. When you are on a spiritual, emotional, financial, physical (good health) mountain top it is easy to keep high-spirited and cheerful. Who wouldn’t be elated when things are in their favor. But it is in the valley where our mental metal is tested. It is through hardship and during the low periods of our lives that “True Grit” it tested and must surface.
So there I was, feeling dejected because my mind gave in and my feelings had just won the last round. But, although feelings won the last round, I WILL NOT allow it to win the next nor the entire fight. As a friend of mind once told me, “the word of God always has an answer for our life, therefore when in trouble we must search God’s word for the answer”.
So, here is what I did. I hobbled to my corner of the ring after round one (1) and got my coach called “The Word of God” to give me some guidance and instruction. My coach said this: Dane, remember John the Baptiste? Jesus said that there wasn’t a greater man that was born of a woman than him (Matthew 11:11). John the Baptiste motivated and brought many to Christ. He also saw Jesus approaching him from afar and without hesitation remarked, “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” – John 1:29. When John first met Jesus he fully knew who Jesus was, and what he was capable of doing.
But later on when John the Baptiste was thrown in prison his tone changed. He went from saying behold the Lamb of God, to asking, are you really the Lamb of God (Matthew 11:1-4)? The prison not only imprisoned him physically but also mentally, and the worst prison anyone can be in is a mental prison. John in his weakened state started to disbelieve in Jesus and doubt. Does this sound like familiar territory to you? You were strong yesterday but all of a sudden you feel dejected today?
Again I say the answer is always in God’s Word. In Matthew 11:2, John the Baptiste did what all believers must do when they are feeling low:
1. Call on Jesus
2. Lean on Jesus
3. Reach out to Jesus
4. Summon Jesus.
The lesson from John the Baptiste is this. When he was feeling weak and imprisoned in his mind he called for/to Jesus to get encouragement. When it was too much, or should I say before it got to be too much, John reached out to the Lord who is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17). Because of this he received the right word at the right time which encouraged his soul and brought life. That is the key when our thoughts are breaking us down and weakening our being. We must reach out to the Lord in Prayer, Reading his Word and Worship.
The objective is to kill negative thoughts when they are now formed, because that is when they are at their weakest. John the Baptiste told us “what to do” and the Apostle Paul told us “how to do” it. The Apostle Paul taught us to kill negative thoughts when he prescribed the following technique.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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”
Lord I thank you for your word! For in it I have gained strength to do battle.
Ping! Is that the bell I just heard? Devil and negative thoughts, it’s time for round two; where victory will be mines in the name of our Lord!
Your Brother in the Lord.