by Calven Celliers
“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6 & 7NIV)
“Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centred in anything short of God and His will for us.” (Billy Graham)
At its worst, anxiety is a crippling disease, taking over our minds and plunging our thoughts into darkness. But God wants so much more for us than to walk through life full of fear, worry and anxiety. But our instruction to not be anxious doesn’t just stop there. The apostle Paul goes on to tell believers exactly what the solution is and what we should focus on – “8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8NIV)
The first step to an anxiety-free mind is to fix your thoughts on Jesus – “5 …take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5NIV) – and to gain control over what you think about yourself and life. In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes this awesome promise – “36 …if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36NIV)
Many people seek peace of mind, and yet it eludes them because they seek to fabricate something that only God, the God of peace, can give us through His one and only Son, the Prince of Peace, and the abiding presence of His Holy Spirit, who produces peace within us.
We must, however, work with the Holy Spirit, by thinking about what we allow into our minds. Guard your mind from garbage! The old computer cliché, GIGO – Garbage in/Garbage out — holds a lot of truth. If you put bad data into a computer, you will get bad results out. If you put mental garbage into your mind, you will get garbage out in your life.
As long as we live in a fearful, stressful, fallen world, negative thoughts will come our way. We have the option of either stamping out those thoughts or nurturing them. The apostle Paul not only tells us what to think about, but he implicitly teaches that we can control what we think about. When a negative thought comes, we as Christians, who have the mind of Christ, have the ability to push it out of our mind and replace it with godly thoughts. This takes practice, but with persistence, it gets easier. The good news is, negative thoughts can be replaced with positive ones, and the more that godly substitution takes place, the more peace and joy we can experience.
Christians must think about what they’re thinking about and not allow their minds to have free rein. In our spiritual warfare, we’ve been given the helmet of salvation to guard our minds.