through His Word
by Katy Kauffman
It just wouldn’t die. I’ve always admired the ivy that creates a velvety green blanket on English cottages. Then we had some ivy of our own. Virginia creeper. But it wasn’t quaint; it kept creeping. Up the house and around the foundation. We cut it back again and again. Time passed, and there it was again, climbing up our house. We had to take it out at the roots.
That was tricky. The creeper apparently likes plants as well as we do. Its root system was so close to the roots of our favorite bushes, we had to be careful when we attempted to extricate the ivy from the ground.
When I was a teenager, an ivy branch of fear kept creeping its way into my mind and heart. It tried to squeeze the joy and peace out of my soul. It was a dreadful fear of not being able to control the thoughts that came to my mind. The fear first began when I remembered swear words from movies but tried to block them out. But then the negative thoughts grew, and I cried out to God to help me refuse them. God’s work in my heart taught me how to overcome negative thoughts, which is one of the lessons that is captured in Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage and a blog post titled 7 Ways to Disarm Negative Thoughts (on DiAnn Mills’ website). God gave victory, but it was a hard-won victory.
The “ivy” doesn’t always stay dead. Life’s surprises and trials can trigger new fears and dreads. What if something happens to the ones I love? What if I’m not able to complete this project and give it my all? What if no one wants to hear the message God has given me? The “creeper” starts creeping, and victory over fear and negative thoughts must be won again. Has this “creeper” tried to steal your peace and joy, too?
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
I always thought stayed on in this verse meant focus on or abide in. But it means to lean on for support.1 When we lean on God to support us and we have faith in who He is and what He can do, peace becomes a way of life. Our minds will be so filled with His goodness and love, we won’t have any room for the roots of fearful and negative thoughts to creep in. We can take those distracting thoughts to Him and appeal to Him for the help or protection we need. Our heavenly Father can take care of all of the negative thoughts that creep into our minds and pull them up by the roots.
How can we refuse negative thoughts from taking over our minds again once we’ve won the initial victory against them? Here are three tools for pulling up those thoughts by the roots.
- Weed out negative thoughts by identifying the felt need or desire that they grow next to.
Our Virginia creeper found a safe place to put down roots, where it was hard to eliminate. Negative thoughts flourish when they find a soft spot in our hearts. They are hard to eradicate because they correlate to something we really care about. When we desire love and companionship, but don’t have it, negative thoughts of loneliness can easily take root if we’re not careful. Thoughts of “No one cares” or “No one sees” can steal our joy and peace. When we want our loved ones to enjoy good health and safety, the fear of bad things happening can send our peace of mind into a tailspin.
Knowing why a negative thought has power in our lives can help lead to its defeat. Instead of taking upon ourselves the sole responsibility of meeting our needs or caring for others, we can appeal to God to provide what we and our loved ones need. Staying power. We lean on Him as our Provider and Protector, and we pull up negative thoughts at the roots.
- Remember the turmoil that the negative thoughts caused.
One key to sustaining the victory over negative thoughts is to remember what they once did to us. By God’s grace, we have defeated them and moved on, but we can still recall the fallout of negative thoughts and stay motivated to keep our minds clear of them. The damage they caused to our peace, joy, passion for life, relationships, and ministries aren’t worth mulling over them again.
- Keep filling your mind with the good, so there’s no room for the negative.
When a negative thought comes to my mind, I picture turning my face from the thought and turning in God’s direction. When we stay focused on Him and all the good that He is and can provide, we can walk in victory over negative thoughts. Gratitude for His blessings helps us to defeat thoughts of envy and jealousy. Faith in the promises of Scripture and the One who gave them, defeats doubt and anxiety. Leaning upon God as our first choice and not our last resort enables us to walk in God’s perfect peace.
How has God helped you to defeat negative thoughts and walk in victory? Share the strategy or Bible verse He has used to help you, and let’s keep tending the garden of our minds so only peace and joy flourish there!
1 Larry Pierce, The Online Bible, CD-ROM (Winterbourne, Ontario: Larry Pierce, 2007), Isaiah 26:3.
© Copyright 2019 by Katy Kauffman
Last time, Katherine Pasour shared about how to sustain the victory of right expectations. See her post, Keep that Pot from Boiling Over, for practical advice on expectations in our relationships.
Our series has also shared principles for victory that can be applied to many spiritual struggles. The following posts and points can be found on this blog:
Victory’s Default Setting – When God’s word become a part of who we are, victory more and more becomes our default setting.
Desire’s Ambush – Aligning our desires to God’s and delighting in Him defeats temptation.
Loving Brownies a Little Less – What we value the most shapes our choices.
- LIFE as a Strategy for Victory - When Jesus’ life flourishes within us, Satan can’t easily get a foothold in our lives.
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thoughts, fear, victory, Sustaining the Victory over Negative Thoughts, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies
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