Answer questions 5-6 in the Bible study section of Hidden Joy.
5. Read Philippians 4:8. Paul writes that in order to keep out the anxious thoughts, we must replace them with better thoughts. We are to think on whatever is “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable … excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT).
a. Examine what occupies your thoughts most of the time.
(1) Are they thoughts of thankfulness, goodness, and serving others, or are they thoughts of grumbling, complaining, and wondering why you did not get your way? Probably all three of the latter more than any of the former
(2) Do you dwell on the positive or the negative? I tend to dwell on the negative more than the positive unless things are going well. I can’t focus on the positive when things are going badly.
(3) Do you count your blessings or your problems? Both, but more the problems
b. If you are struggling in your marriage, list five praiseworthy qualities in your spouse. Good provider, good lover, good dad, good sense of humor, diligent in the things he does
c. If your battle is with your children, list five excellent qualities in each child. Since Geoff is the one I battle with, I’ll just do him – Smart, funny, plays well with little sister, cares about other people, likes to read
d. If you are struggling at work, list five ways your job blesses your life. Not working right now, but if I had a job, it would help pay the bills a bit I’m sure
6. Read 2 Corinthians 10:5. It tells us we need to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” We must be intentional about building a steadfast mind. Let’s dig a bit deeper into what you did in question 4.
a. Find a Scripture that speaks to your specific issue. You can do this by looking up the key word in the concordance in the back of your Bible. Your word might be anger, bitterness, fear, or anxiety. 2 Corinthians 10:5 is a Scripture that speaks to my issue; I am the self-defeating type.
b. Write the Scripture God leads you to on a note card or sticky note. Place it where you will see it throughout your day.
c. Memorize this Scripture and make it your own. Repeat it as written or make it a prayer in your own words. Add it to the prayer written above. Stick with this verse until your mind is as familiar with it as your own birth date. After a few weeks, write what God has done in your mind and in your heart through the power of His Word and your prayers.
I was doing much better at one time, in keeping the negative thoughts in check. It’s amazing how easy it is to slip back into that. Prayers on my behalf would be appreciated, that I would find the ability to trust God fully.