Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: How to cast down negative thoughts

Focusing on the Good
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”–Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Have you ever stopped and considered just how influential your thinking is?

Yesterday, I made a detour to the Illinois River with my mom and brothers. We stopped at an inclined boating slope and my brothers attempted to skip rocks over the smooth water. Even the smallest rocks, when thrown correctly, would make two or three sets of ripples that completely changed the surface of the river.

I was considering my devotional this morning and the influence that those tiny rocks had on a great, flowing river came to my mind. One rock had the power to change the surface of the water. I could not help but compare these rocks to the many thoughts that pass through our minds daily. Our minds are influenced continuously by our thoughts, creating ripples that impact every area of our lives.

Negative and positive thoughts come to our mind daily. Positive thoughts bring goodness to our minds. The opposite is true for negative thoughts. For me, negative thoughts tend to enter my mind and create lasting ripples. One negative thought invites another, and another. Eventually, negative thoughts are the only thoughts I have. I begin to see everything in a negative light. At this point, I begin to feel stuck. When you sit in negativity for an extended period of time, it feels as if there is no way out. However, we know this is not true. Negative thoughts—the thoughts of this world—do not have the power to hold us. We are children of the living God. We no longer have to sit in the chains of regret, fear, or negativity.

But how exactly do we fight negative and harmful thoughts? Romans 12:2 states that the Christian should be “transformed by the renewing of your mind”. I would like to point out that the beginning of the verse says not to be ‘conformed’ to the world. ‘Conform’ is an inactive word. Conforming is sitting back and letting the negative thoughts take root in your mind. But we are called to actively take part in fighting against these thoughts. We are called to actively renew our mind.

To renew our mind, we must vigorously find the positive and the good to refute the negative. The best weapon a Christian can use is the Bible. Scripture memorization is a favorite strategy of mine to overcome anxiety, fear, or loneliness. Just memorizing a simple passage of Scripture and reciting it to yourself can change and reroute your focus to God.

One practice I especially find helpful is looking for something to be grateful for. It is factually impossible to be negative and grateful at the same time. Finding something to be grateful for will be difficult at first. When negative thoughts are bombarding you, the last thing you will want to be is grateful. Try finding something small—like being grateful for the sunshine. Once you find one positive thing to be grateful for, it will be easier to find something else. Remember the ripples? One positive thought will lead to another.

God does not promise that negative thoughts of bitterness, fear, and loneliness will never enter the life of His children. However, God does promise that He will always be with us in every struggle, and He will give us the tools we need to overcome our struggles. God is with you, dear reader, and you can overcome all adversity.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for being with us in every struggle and making available to us Your Word to overcome negativity and harmful thoughts. Please give us the strength to renew our minds. Help us to focus on You and turn our full attention to You alone. Guide us to experience gratitude and thankfulness in our daily lives. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “For the Good” by Riley Clemmons. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Tessa Huckstep grew up in rural Illinois to Christian parents and has known Jesus personally since the age of five.

She is currently attending community college and majoring in elementary education. In the future, she plans to teach in the public school, hoping to bring the love of God with her.

God’s dream of Tessa becoming a writer was revealed to her at the age of sixteen and she hasn’t been able to stop since. Though she has not yet been published, Tessa enjoys writing historical romance novels and speculative fiction.

Tessa believes God loves stories, and through her writing, she wants to reveal the happily ever after God dreams of for each of his daughters—one where Jesus is the knight in shining armor.

Tessa loves all things Georgian/Regency, needlework, and dainty teacups of every size. When she isn’t writing or studying for exams, Tessa can be found in the kitchen with more flour in her hair and on the floor than in the mixing bowl, though the mess is always half the fun!

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