by Max Lucado
You didn’t select your birthplace or birth date. You didn’t choose your parents or siblings. You don’t determine the weather or the amount of salt in the ocean. There are many things in life over which you have no choice. But the greatest activity of life is well within your dominion. You can choose what you think about.
You can be the air traffic controller of your mental airport. You occupy the control tower and can direct the mental traffic of your world. Thoughts circle above, coming and going. If one of them lands, it is because you gave it permission. If it leaves, it is because you directed it to do so. You can select your thought pattern.
For that reason the wise man urges, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Prov. 4:23 ncv). Do you want to be happy tomorrow? Then sow seeds of happiness today. (Count blessings. Memorize Bible verses. Pray. Sing hymns. Spend time with encouraging people.) Do you want to guarantee tomorrow’s misery? Then wallow in a mental mud pit of self-pity or guilt or anxiety today. (Assume the worst. Beat yourself up. Rehearse your regrets. Complain to complainers.) Thoughts have consequences.
Healing from anxiety requires healthy thinking. Your challenge is not your challenge. Your challenge is the way you think about your challenge. Your problem is not your problem; it is the way you look at it.
Satan knows this. The devil is always messing with our minds. He fills the sky with airplanes that carry nothing but fear and anxiety. And he is doing his best to convince us to let them land and unload their stinking cargo into our minds. He comes as a thief “with the sole intention of stealing and killing and destroying” (John 10:10 phillips). He brings only gloom and doom. By the time he was finished with Job, the man was sick and alone. By the time he had done his work in Judas, the disciple had given up on life. The devil is to hope what termites are to an oak; he’ll chew you up from the inside.
He will lead you to a sunless place and leave you there. He seeks to convince you this world has no window, no possibility of light. Exaggerated, overstated, inflated, irrational thoughts are the devil’s specialty.
No one will ever love me. It’s all over for me.
Everyone is against me.
I’ll never lose weight, get out of debt, or have friends.
What lugubrious, monstrous lies! No problem is unsolvable. No life is irredeemable. No one’s fate is sealed. No one is unloved or unlovable. But Satan wants us to think we are. He wants to leave us in a swarm of anxious, negative thoughts.
Satan is the master of deceit. But he is not the master of your mind.
You have a power he cannot defeat. You have God on your side.
So “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8 nlt).
The transliteration of the Greek word, here rendered as fix, is logizomai. Do you see the root of an English word in the Greek one? Yes, logic. Paul’s point is simple: anxiety is best faced with clearheaded, logical thinking.
Turns out that our most valuable weapon against anxiety weighs less than three pounds and sits between our ears. Think about what you think about!
Here is how it works. Lay claim to every biblical promise you can remember, and set out to learn a few more. Grip them for the life preservers they are. Give Satan no quarter. Give his lies no welcome. “Fasten the belt of truth around your waist” (Eph. 6:14 nrsv). Resist the urge to exaggerate, overstate, or amplify. Focus on the facts, nothing more. Guard your thoughts and trust your Father. He will help you, my friend.
Taken from Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado © 2017 by Max Lucado. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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