As a Christian, you may be unaware of how many negative thoughts we think per day about ourselves and our situations. These thoughts can affect our mental health. In this article, you will learn how to conquer these negative thoughts by using strategies such as a mental gatekeeper, to renew your mind once and for all. It’s time to win the battle over your mind.
The Battle of Every Believer
I began to study and see what the scriptures said about our minds. When we come to Christ, we think that we’re going to be instantly transformed to this new creation in Christ. We believe that many of our habits and problems are going to just disappear. Well God does work miracles, but for many of us, once the excitement of accepting Christ wears off, we often find ourselves challenged by our same old habits, problems, and mindsets.
When we come to Christ, we are endowed with His Spirit, but our old degenerate mind continues to need a constant overall. Read what the Bibles says about our minds:
Romans 1:28- “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”
Ephesians 4:23 – “to be made new in the attitude of your minds.”
2 Corinthians 11:3 – “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from
your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern (conditioning) of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Paul said it best in Romans 7:21 when he stated that he knows what to do, but has trouble doing it. “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22-For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23-but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.”
From these scriptures, along with countless more, we see that the “Christian” mind really isn’t so Christian at all. Unless our minds are renewed and subdued by God’s spirit, it’s most likely that our minds are controlling our behavior instead of the other way around.
Unfortunately, it’s the mind that is making most Christians mentally ill. Our mind causes us to worry, to fear, to doubt, and more. As Christians, or anyone for that matter, our mind is the greatest battle that we will ever face. Joyce Meyers and other Christian leaders have devoted whole books to this topic alone. Thank God that we can conquer and take authority over our minds with the right knowledge and tools.
Our greatest inspirations and truths come during times of quietness, stillness, openness, and reflection- all components of meditation. It was practicing meditation integrated with the scriptures that helped me to overcome years of depression. Christ-centered meditation helped me to become still enough so that I could observe what was really going on in my mind. Until then, my mind was controlling my thoughts and ultimately my behavior. It took me being still to even realize it. But once I recognized the negative thoughts I was thinking I was able to challenge, alter, or eliminate them altogether. Ongoing and consistent meditation taught me how to control my thoughts instead of allowing them to control me. We can’t change what we don’t see or acknowledge. I call it unconscious living. It’s when we continue to live on autopilot, doing the same things, the same ways without really considering whether these behaviors are working for us anymore.
Winning the Battle of the Mind
Winning the battle of the mind is no easy thing. Just think about it! How often do you just stop thinking? Try it for one minute. Even when we’re trying to spend time with God, we’re thinking about what we need to do next. These thoughts cause us to rush through our devotional time or scripture reading. Our mind has us convinced that we’re going to miss out on something if we don’t hurry it up. But just like we need to take time to relax our bodies, if we are to have ongoing mental health and well-being, we need to spend time relaxing (and renewing) our minds as well.
According to many scriptures in the Bible, God speaks to his children with a still, small voice. God isn’t going to scream at you or cause lightening to strike to make you listen to Him. No, instead, he’s going to wait until you become still and quiet. Psalms 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know God.” It’s implying that it’s through our stillness that our relationship with God becomes more intimate.
Doing Versus Being
Do you remember the story of Mary and Martha? In Luke 10, Jesus was invited to Martha’s home for dinner. Martha had chosen to serve Jesus by busily preparing her home for his comfort, yet, her sister Mary sat as Jesus feet to learn from him. The text goes on to say that Martha got upset because Mary wasn’t helping her and she wanted Jesus to scold her. However, Jesus reprimand Martha and said “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Most of us tend to be more like Martha than Mary. Like Martha, we spend most of our time doing for Jesus (having meetings, attending services, singing in the choir, heading committees, making a living, etc) and not enough time just abiding (dwelling) in his presence, meditating, being still enough to listen, and being filled up by his words.
Jesus said it is only through abiding that we bear much fruit. Christian Meditation is a useful tool to assist believers in getting still before God so that they can build a relationship not based on doing, but on abiding. Abiding promotes intimacy. Intimacy involves time. It involves not only listening, but getting to know the person for whom we have affections. Saint John 15:4 declares, “Abide in me and I will abide in you.” Verse 7 says, “if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” That means we must integrate dwelling with Christ with embracing his word. The abiding builds relationship and the Word of God brings transformation. It also brings blessings our way.
Just imagine the effect on the world if Christians actually took the time to linger in God’s presence!
Your Mind is Like a Garden
The Bible says, you can’t put new wine into old wine bottles or you’ll ruin the new wine! If you have corrupted thinking, you’ve got to get rid of it before you can embrace new truth. Here is another example. Remember the parable of the sower? Your mind is like the soil in a garden. Imagine a garden plot filled with weeds, worms, snails, and the like. You take a perfectly healthy plant and place it in the middle of that garden plot. What’s going to happen to it? Is it going to continue to grow and thrive? Absolutely not! Before long the weeds and insects are going to devour it and suck out all its nutrients. That is the same thing that happens when we try and plant new truth, God’s truth, in a mind that is tainted with faulty mindsets, past conditioning, and falsehoods. Eventually the weeds are going to take over again.
Therefore, before we can truly embrace God’s truth we need to identify and get rid of the weeds planted in our minds: the negative thoughts and debilitating mind sets that we’ve accepted as truth. They are choking out the word of God and causing our Christian walk to be unfruitful.
If you don’t do anything about your mental garden, your mind and spirit will continue to war against each other. This is usually an unconscious pattern. For example, God’s word will tell you to give not to receive, but your mind constantly tells you to hold on to everything you’ve got. Your mind tells you to always get the last word, but God says to turn the other cheek and a soft answer calms the situation. Again, your mind tells you to work hard and strive for success, yet the Bible says, seek God’s kingdom first and everything you need will be added unto you.
If you don’t address the false thinking that contradicts God’s word, you’ll continue to be what the Bible calls “double-minded” and because we continue to waver in our desires and beliefs, we can’t receive anything from God.
Ten benefits of Biblical meditation:
- Relax and Quiet your Mind
- Turn off Compulsive Thinking
- Understand the Scriptures More Fully
- Live with More Balance in your Life
- Hear the Voice of God More Clearly
- Live in the Present Moment
- Abide in God’s Presence
- Create a Greater Intimacy with God
- Reduce or Eliminate Toxic Emotions like Stress, Anger, and Worry.
- Observe the Thoughts You Think So You Can Challenge and Eliminate Them
Keeping Your Thoughts Healthy
I believe that keeping your mind healthy is absolutely the MOST important thing that you can do in your life. I say this because everything starts with the mind and the imagination. If your mind is healthy, it will create a healthy life.
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy mind is by establishing a meditation practice. Through meditation, we learn to quiet the mind and observe our thoughts. Why is that important? Well, first of all, most of our thoughts are unconscious to us, or even worse, we believe we are our thoughts. Many times we believe that if we think it, it must be true; however, this is totally false. I know there are many times that my mind has given me wrong information.
I have heard we think over 70,000 thoughts in one day and that most of these are repetitive, meaning we are thinking the same things over and over. It is also said that 90% of these thoughts (for most people) are negative as well as unconscious. So just doing the math, most people’s minds are extremely unhealthy and they don’t even realize it.
By monitoring our thoughts and emotions, we get a glimpse into our mind and psyche. Once we have this awareness, we can armor ourselves with the healing tools needed to squash, change, release these destructive thought patterns and restore our peace of mind. The Bible tells us to cast down every thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. To me this says the negative thoughts will come, but we don’t have to entertain them.
Some of the tools I use is an Emotional Freedom Technique, Welcoming Prayer, and journaling. You can even use techniques like Stop That Thought or even neutralize negative or fear-based thoughts with empowering scriptures. Starting to see every pesky thought as a mouse running around in my house. I will do everything I can to get rid of it. I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist, try to live with it, or brush it under the rug. No! That mouse has to go! You must be this determined about your peace of mind.
Meditation brings awareness. Once you become aware of your thoughts you’ll be able (most of the time) to quickly stop the bad ones from taking residence in your heart. It does take discipline, but it’s worth it. Once thoughts embed themselves in your heart (and you’ve made a belief out of them), it makes it more difficult to get rid of them, but you can. Prevention is always easier than the cure.
Hiring a Mental Gatekeeper
If you have listened to my testimony, you know that I suffered for many years from depression because of the negative thoughts that were circulating in my head! In this article, I want to share with you the very strategies that I used that help me overcome depression and restore my peace of mind. The technique I used, that came straight from the Holy Spirit was to stop negative thoughts by creating a mental gatekeeper.
Do you battle with negative thoughts or just can’t turn off the dialogue in your head? Do you find yourself having conversations with people who aren’t even there? Many people suffer from compulsive thinking, but you can learn to stop these voices in your head by creating a mental gatekeeper. A mental gatekeeper is an imaginary guard created to stop unwanted, worrisome, or crippling thoughts from gaining entrance in your mind and planting an orchard of negativity, depression, or self-doubt. It can be in the form of a guard, a bouncer, a mighty angel, or a goalie, just pick something you identify with. I like to use a batter at a baseball game because I envision the way the pitcher throws the baseball as the way negative thoughts of doubt, discouragement, fear, and every other destructive thought are thrown our way.
Worry Doesn’t Solve Problems
Acknowledge right now that worry will never change the outcome of a situation. Worry only makes you feel sick inside, takes away your joy, and makes you unpleasant to be around. If you could have fixed your problem or changed the behavior of a specific individual, you would have done so already. Worry won’t pay your bills, make your spouse or children act differently, change your boss, make you feel better about yourself, change your bad habits, or find you a job. Worry is just a useless waste of your time and energy. Worry is the opposite of faith and an enemy to the believer. So beginning today, I want you to make a choice and commitment that you will not worry about anything any longer. If you have done everything you know to do and everything God has told you to do, you can’t do anymore now it’s time to turn that situation over to God once and for all. You need to let it go until God gives you clear direction on what to do next or He changes the circumstances. That means no direction, no action!
Bat Your Way to Peace of Mind
Now that you’ve made the decision not to worry, how do you stop negative thoughts from taking over once again? Let’s go back to gatekeeper. When wanting to stop negative thoughts right in their track of my favorite terms is the word “Bam.” When I say BAM , I see the batter slamming a baseball, or in my case, a worrisome thought right out of the field (my mind). For example, when those fiery darts come like “you’ll never…BAM “your daughter… BAM, “that house”… BAM, “you should”…BAM, “no one will ever… BAM, “your bills… BAM. I try to BAM every negative thought the enemy throws at me before he can even get it into the net!
If your gatekeeper is an angel, see this mighty being intercepting every thought before it reaches your mind. The angel might say as it collects each thought, “NO ENTRANCE, NOT OF GOD! Your bouncer might say, REJECTED IN NAME OF JESUS! If you have a strong Christian Role Model in your life, you can envision them saying, TALK TO THE HAND, I’M NOT RECEIVING IT!
You can also back up each rejection with a scripture that not only stops the thought, but extinguishes it. When Jesus was being tempted of the devil, he came against every suggestion of Satan by saying, “it is written…followed by scripture. So your dialogue might look something like this. “Your husband…BAM IN THE NAME OF JESUS…the scripture says, forgive as God as forgiven me. “I hate… REJECTED IN JESUS NAME…Jesus said, love your enemies and do good to those who wrongfully use you. “I can’t pay…TALK TO THE HAND…it is written, my God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory. I’m going to trust him. “I’m so”…ENTRANCE DENIED…for my God shall never leave me or forsake me and He knows what I need before I even ask. “My boss never…” ACCESS DENIED…the bible says do everything as unto the Lord.
Once you let the thought in, it’s much more difficult to get rid of it, but not impossible.
It’s usually the very first thoughts you have in the morning that set the tone for your entire day. If you can start your day denying entrance to worrisome thoughts, it’s a lot easier to maintain your peace of mind. But what about when your gatekeeper’s snoozing on the job or isn’t quite so alert, and before you realize it you’re starting to dwell upon a bothersome thought again. Once you realize you’re beginning to entertain the thought, you may say, STOP, I REJECT YOU IN JESUS NAME! Whatever you do, don’t reason with the thought or don’t have a mental conversation with it, instead, knock it right out of the court! It’s your ENEMY, not your friend, so kick that intruder right to the curb!
If you are a person who is plagued with troublesome thoughts as I once was, you may be slamming or rejecting thoughts almost constantly for the first several days, but as you proceed, the negative thoughts will diminish and your peace of mind will be restored.
Jesus said we can’t make one hair turn another color, so stop worrying about things you can’t control. Be obedient to God’s word and voice. After you have done all you can do, fight the good fight of faith. The rest is in God’s hands. He will make provision for you.
Incorporating Christian Meditation and Relaxation will help you to transform your mind and build your relationship with God even further. Once you stop those fiery darts, you want to plant good seeds into your mind that will help you to live a more fruitful and genuine Christian walk. Please visit our website to learn more about Christian meditation at www.thechristianmeditator.com.
In the name of Jesus, I pray for your deliverance to stop negative thoughts and receive the victory of a pure and balanced mind today and forevermore. Now hire that gatekeeper!
Breaking Free from Negative Thoughts
A mind that is filled with negative thoughts is like a dark cave that limits positive and faith-filled thoughts from entering in. Having a chronically negative thought life is a mental mindset that focuses more on what is wrong, than all that is right in our life. Generally, negative thinking isn’t something that just happens overnight. Most people have been thinking the same thoughts for years without even realizing it. If you were to take an inventory of your mind, you would see that your mind plays the same messages most of the time. So, how can you break free from negative thinking?
Focus on the Positive
Although we all have many unpleasant experiences at one time or another, there are just as many positive experiences as well, we just forget to recognize them. Our positive experiences get lost under our negativity and despair, yet they are all around us. Begin by keeping a gratitude journal to record 3-5 positive events that happen everyday. It could be a simple as getting a great parking space or eating a great cookie. As you notice or focus on the positive, you will not only attract more positive situations, but you’re eyes will be open to seeing them more prevalently as well.
Practice Meditation and See Its Beauty
Many people don’t understand the beauty of meditation. Although meditation creates fear in some people, it really is unfounded. Meditation simply is a way to quiet our minds and teach us how to get control over our thoughts. It is also effective in making us aware of what we think about on a daily basis so we can change our thoughts if they really aren’t promoting peace, joy, and love. The Bible tells us to renew our minds and to bring every thought under God’s control. You can find all types of meditations on a variety of topics. There are guided meditations, Christian meditations, and meditations that use nature to help us relax. By practicing daily meditation you will learn to free yourself from your compulsive thoughts, that record in your head that bombards you with constant negativity. Visit my Overcoming Negative Thoughts Page and try my Controlling Negative Thoughts Meditation; it’s free. Plus you can watch my video, You’re Just a Few Thoughts Away from Peace and Joy.
Have Faith In God That He Will Guide You
Another way to squash negative thoughts is to have faith in the presence greater than you. When you believe that God is in control and that all things are working together for your highest good, you can let go of negative thoughts that create fear and doubt. Reading the Bible or stories of people that have overcome through their faith will inspire you to trust God more and help to restore your own peace of mind. Also, knowing that you are not alone and that others have suffered the same experiences have overcome will give you a sense of empowerment and inner joy.
Spend Time in Nature and Release Negative Thoughts
It’s hard to spend time surrounded by the beauty in nature and hold onto negative thoughts. That is because nature is healing and soothing to the soul and spirit. Therefore, spend time regularly just sitting in a park, driving through the country, or watching a sunset. Somehow our problems just don’t seem as big and we can easily get a better perspective on our problems. Even in nature the storms come, but once they pass, a blanket of peace returns. We must learn to anchor ourselves to God through the storms and then once they pass, allow our peace to prevail.
Negative thinking leads to negative behavior and negative behavior leads to negative habits. If you have negative habits that you wish to change, the best way to do this is to consider what you are thinking. By simply changing the way you think, these negative habits can be broken. While this seems easier said than done, it is actually a simple process. To reverse negative behavior and negative habits you first have to reverse the thought process.
Acknowledge Your Negative Thinking
To stop negative thoughts, you have to actually acknowledge that negative thinking is an issue. When you think a negative thought, simply acknowledge the thought was negative and replace it with a positive one. This seems simple, but again it is very powerful. How can you change the way you think if you do not acknowledge that it is a negative thought? After acknowledging the thought was negative. say, “I choose not to think that way.” Tell your conscious something positive immediately after thinking the negative thought or quote a scripture that negates your negative thoughts. The Bible tells us to cast down every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. You need to stop your mind from planting negative thoughts that can keep you from excelling in life.
Cancel It By Saying It
The moment you hear a negative thought in your mind, cancel the thought. If you think that you cannot do a task or you’re thinking a negative thought about your personality, simply say “CANCEL.” Cancel that thought. Cancel the assignment that thought has placed on your life. Do this consistently and ensure that you speak it out loud so you can hear yourself. Scream it, yell it, or even sing it if you have to. The most important thing is to make certain you consistently do this every time a negative thought pops in your head. It may seem a bit comical, but it will work. Refuse to accept negative comments when you know they’re undeserved. For example, if you’re making progress on a project and you hear someone commenting about how you’ve just been wasting your time, simply tell yourself that it’s not what I think, it’s not what I believe. You know that you’ve made progress on the project, you’ve used your time well, and that you deserve praise.
Motivate with the Positive
If you find yourself thinking that you cannot do a particular event or project, tell yourself about all the positive things you can do. Talk to yourself as an example by saying things like, “I can’t wait to see how well a job I do” or “This is easy for me” or “I’m going to ace this or I’ve got this under control this is a breeze.” A great scripture to memorize is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Take time to motivate someone else, you will find it elevates your mood and strengthens your optimism. Also, make sure your inner circle consists of people who are willing to offer you encouragement and support. Have you ever heard the saying, “birds of a feather flock together”? It is the same with both positive and negative people. If your current friends do nothing but tear others down, complain, and generally are negative, it is going to be very difficult for you to get over being negative in that environment. You may, very well, need to make some new friends.
Will Yourself By Changing Your Language
Just do it. Get to the job of making something happen by planning your steps and seeing the end result or completed tasks in your mind. Begin duties and your day with saying, “Today I will…” These tips are counteractive to negative thinking. Change your language. The words ‘should’, ‘could’ and ‘might’, are out. For example, change “I might go and fix the car” to “I will go and fix the car”. That way you’re talking action and making a promise you are more likely to stick to.
Make the decision that you are going to be the one to decide what your thoughts are and will be. You can control what you think. This means making a daily effort in consciously programming positive thoughts or affirmations into your mind. Surround yourself with positive people. “Finally, brothers, 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.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)
Are you ready to transform your life and live with more purpose and passion? Need more help with overcoming negative thoughts? Be sure and check out my Introduction to Christian Meditation Course and the Be Still and Know Meditation Membership. Find resources, instruction, and tools you will need to support your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.