Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. - Psalm 127:1
Focusing on this portion of verse 2 today: eating the bread of anxious toil, and wondering how many of us feed ourselves anxious thoughts in stead of the bread of life.
Toil, by definition, means hard and continuous work. It’s an exhausting labor or effort. I wonder how many of us would consider managing our thoughts continuous and exhausting.
Anxiousness is the laborious work of the mind. It happens when we can’t shut off our brains. Some people struggle with their thoughts so significantly that it paralyzes their ability to do any work with their hands. Their brains go into overdrive and they become immobilized. These anxiety attacks are plaguing our culture just as much as our busyness.
But God knows us so well that He addresses our toiling thoughts in scripture as well - multiple times. And He provides the antidote to anxiety, if only we’ll sow the seeds instead of eating them.
The first step is recognizing that anxious thoughts are our temptation. We all struggle with some sort of temptation - that’s human nature. Whether it’s addiction, pride, envy, sexual promiscuity - we’ve all got one. Think of anxious thoughts in the same way that you would think of an alcohol addiction. The temptation for a recovering addict is always there, but if they’re a successful recovering addict, then they’ve come up with some strategies for when the temptation comes.
If you struggle with anxiety, then you’d better be prepared for when those anxious thoughts come. Expect them, and prepare for them. You need to remember we’re in a battle every day, and our enemy is real. If you’re not prepared for this fight with real weapons, then you’re going to lose every time.
So what is your helmet of salvation? What do you put on when you see the temptation coming? Where do you go when the anxious thoughts come? Do you have a battle plan?
I have a few - and they all come from the Word of God. Here’s one.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, - 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
We are to take every thought captive, and bring them obedient to Christ. Our anxious thoughts are offensive to God, they are not obedient. The first time I heard that I was offended. I thought how could my desire to make sure everything was okay and worked out, that I didn’t mess up or disappoint people - how could that be offensive to God. But as I read more and more scripture, I began to understand He did not give us a spirit of fear. The enemy does. Worry doubts the goodness of God, it doubts the faithfulness of God, it doubts His love for you and His promises, and it screams on His face that He’s not enough. Worry is sin. So we have to capture those thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.
We choose what we think about. Just as an addict makes a choice every day not to head to the bar or the liquor store, a person who struggles with anxiety must resist the anxious thoughts. They must make the conscious choice to think only thoughts that glorifying to God. Yes, it’s hard. Some days, it’s darn near impossible. But then it wouldn’t be called our temptation if it was easy. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Resist those anxious thoughts, and they will do the same.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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