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How Can I Stop Negative Thoughts?
Controlling thoughts is very important because thoughts dictate actions. The Bible says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Negative thoughts attack every person, therefore, if we will live right, we must think right. The development of Christian character requires right thinking. The Bible gives the following principles on how to stop negative thoughts:
1-Focus on Jesus
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). To keep the eye of faith fixed upon Jesus is to maintain uninterrupted contact with Him, who is the source of power.
2-Have a Daily Relationship with God
Christians who pray and study the scriptures daily will be constantly growing in the Christian character. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). God demands undivided allegiance, but He also provides men with sufficient strength to enable them to obey (Hebrews 4:16).
3-Claim God’s Promises for Victory
After guarding our thoughts and senses from the world, we should call on God to bestow His “grace” for victory. The Christian must be willing to submit his will to God. Then, God promises complete victory: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Because of God’s love for His people, fresh supplies of grace are continually given to enable them to resist worldly temptations. Paul declared, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Usually negative thoughts attack people when they are idle. Therefore, keep busy with constructive things (ex. work, study, ministry, hobbies…etc.) so that the brain will not wander. As a person gets busy with God’s work, he doesn’t fall into the sin of negative thoughts. Paul writes, “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
5-Discipline the Mind
Paul wrote, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Martin Luther the reformer said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” Similarly, we can’t stop negative thoughts from coming to our brains but we can certainly stop dwelling on them. Without obedience motivated by love, there can be no such thing as true Christian experience (Matthew 7:21–27).
6-Follow God’s Constructive Program
The apostle Paul outlines a constructive program for controlling our minds. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, we should focus our minds on positive things: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). As a substitute of dwelling upon arguments with others, or being worried about daily needs, we should focus our minds on positive things.
7-Rejoice in God
The Psalmist wrote, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). God did wonderful and amazing things for His children. If we choose to dwell on what He has done and love what He loves, we shall enjoy the desires or prayers of our hearts.
In His service,