Sometimes, life falls apart - or at least, you may feel like everything is falling apart. How about times when you feel all alone, maybe even feel like God abandoned you?
In such times, we need to learn what I call mind control. I’m not talking about pulling a Jedi mind trick or manipulating someone else’s mind, but rather you training your mind to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
A childhood friend, Hannah Pinkerton, first introduced this concept of mind control to me a few years ago, and at that time, I wrote it off as just another goofy thing Hannah said. Truthfully, I never really thought much about training my thoughts, but as this new year began, I’ve encountered significant situations that have shown just how much I can let my thoughts get the best of me. I realized then that the scriptural concept of mind control had something to it. The concept of mind control is training your mind to ignore Satan’s whispers and redirecting your mind to trust and listen to God’s promises. You do that by knowing the Word of God
If I’m being transparent, life has been hard lately. A few people have damaged - even destroyed- my trust, so my heart has been heavy and my mind distracted. So I knew I needed to turn to Scripture. When Job’s world was falling apart and the Lord allowed Satan to take everything from him, his response was, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh” (Job 1:21). How was he able to respond with that peace and clarity? Job had trained his mind to trust the Lord. The strongest example I found of a man with strong control of his own mind is King David. In Psalm 42, we find David talking to himself. He is in a state of depression, and he feels far from God. He asks himself a question to which he already knows the answer: “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?” Then he encourages himself in saying, “Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.” David goes on to say, “The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night.” He knows God is never far away and is always there even if we don’t recognize that He is. He could never have said all those things if he hadn’t trained his mind to believe them before. He had spent time meditating on God’s word so that when dark times did come, his mind was ready.
It has been said, “the Holy Spirit has affinity for a trained mind.” A trained mind is a mind that knows the character of God and believes the promises of God. But how do we do that? First, we have to know the character of God and what He promises us in His word. Warren Wiersbe says, “Stop feeding on your feelings and start to feed on His Word.” That is why it’s important that we read the Bible and pray. We must know God, and we do that by spending time with Him. When we know Him, we trust Him. When we trust Him and believe what He says, we are able to direct our minds to Him even if we feel down or abandoned.
Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” This passage doesn’t mean that we won’t face challenges or have hard times. In fact, verses 6-7 tell us not to be anxious because our Father knows we will encounter situations where our minds need to be trained to dwell on the good things. Romans 12:2 says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
We can train our minds to dwell on the truth that because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we are now new creations and He promises He will never abandon us. Knowing that means that in life when hard times happen, or when the enemy sneaks in with condemnation, we can set our minds on the truth we already have hidden in our hearts. We will be able to say in the midst of life’s biggest trials, “It is well with my soul.” When we can direct our mind on the character of God and believe the promises of God, we will have a controlled mind that will not be shaken.