Last month we had a great question from Bruce. He wanted to know how others deal with attacks of negative thoughts, either regret over a past sin or a feeling of self-condemnation for having said or done something that hurt someone. We've all had these kinds of thoughts. Those thoughts that seem to stick in our minds, no matter how hard we try to push them away. We've tried ignoring them or fighting them, but sometimes, they seem to override all else and we feel stuck with them.
Bruce shared what he does. He calls it "fighting the good fight of faith." Faith in what the Lord has done already!
He says, "My own way of dealing with these 'attacking' thoughts is that I speak to the Father about how our Lord Jesus died on the cross and how I died with Him. How Jesus was raised to new life – how I was raised to new life with Him – I’m a new creation in Christ. I have the love, life and light of God in me now – no matter what the thoughts are screaming at me in my head at the time."
What I love about his experience is that it displays a loving, trusting relationship with the Father. Bruce has a conversation with His Dad. He reminds himself of what Jesus has done and what is really true. He has come to know the truth so that when those thoughts pop up (and they do at times), he can turn his focus to what will be most beneficial to him and the others around him.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, what is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent and praiseworthy –think about such things and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8)
When I have negative thoughts towards myself, I sometimes simply ask the Lord, "What do you say, Father?" I know Him well enough now to know His thoughts towards me are ones of kindness, understanding, and delight. It takes a bit of humility to accept His views over mine, but ultimately I just choose to believe Him and His goodness.
It's not that God is happy with the mean actions or the ugly words I've spoken. He isn't. He knows these things make my life hard (for me and those who I encounter). But He is always happy with ME. He has unlimited compassion. He understands. And He does have something better for me.
Negative thoughts always result in a form of death, whether they are "deserved" for past trespasses or not. They keep us tied up in a self-focused bondage and often masquerade as motivation for change. But they do nothing of the sort.
God knows that the way to relieve us and transform us, is not through condemnation or sinking into thoughts that are ugly towards ourselves and others. He knows that embracing His love, immersing ourselves in the truth of what really happened on the Cross will allow us to live healthy and fruitful lives.
As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, we begin to see more clearly the actual union we have with Him. We have His thoughts living in us. We can readily access them because He gave us Himself. It was a spectacular gift that He gave.
I recently asked Rick for his thoughts on this subject, which you can hear in the video below:
Now we'd love to hear from you!
What are some ways you deal with negative/harsh thoughts in light of the New Covenant, particularly towards yourself when you sin?
How do you approach your good Father and enjoy your relationship with Him?