Break free from oppressive, negative thoughts and begin to live an abundant life filled with joy, peace, and mental wholeness. Join Joseph Prince in this three-part series and discover how you can overcome all mental bondages by resting in Christ’s obedience and finished work at the cross.
A Sound Mind Is God’s Will For You
Alone in her room, Mandy stood glaring at herself in the mirror. The room, nearly swallowed in darkness, was lit only by the glow from a computer screen. The Internet had not provided the escape she sought. Music was blaring in the background—turned up to drown out the thoughts and voices raging in her head. They were at it again, hurtling through her mind one after another with no respite:
I’m ugly. I’m such a failure. Nobody loves me. Nothing ever goes right for me. Why am I even alive? I don’t deserve to live. I hate my life. I just want to die!
Convinced that she was an ugly, useless failure, the teenager began to withdraw from friends and family. She soon spiraled downward into the deep, dark pit of depression that closed in on her more and more each day. She tried, but just couldn’t crawl out of this black hole. It seemed as if a dark cloud had enveloped her mind, her life, and her future.
Mandy began to have frequent anxiety attacks, waking up in the middle of the night to find herself suffocating and her heart pounding with unexplained fear. These attacks often landed her in the emergency room. Unable to bear all the terror and torment, she tried several times to end her life.
Mandy could have ended up as another suicide statistic if not for her brother, who would visit her, share with her about Jesus, and invite her to church. Initially resistant, Mandy finally did go when she felt a strong, inexplicable desire to attend a church service one Sunday. That day, her life was changed forever. She shared:
That Sunday, during worship, something touched me deeply and my tears just flowed. During the sermon, Jesus revealed Himself to me. Previously, I’d just heard about Him, but as Pastor Prince shared on Psalm 91, the Lord revealed His love to me—the beautiful love of a Savior who died for me, paying the price to give me abundant life. From that very day, the anxiety attacks never returned. My heavenly psychologist, Jesus, delivered me from the suffocating grip of depression.
The more you see your true identity in Christ, the more thoughts of peace and purpose will replace those defeatist, condemning thoughts.
After receiving a personal revelation of the Lord’s love for her, one of the first things that Mandy noticed was that her thought life began to change. Thoughts like, I’m ugly, I’m dirty and I’m a failure, began to be replaced by thoughts like, I’m so loved by Jesus that He died for me and I’m His precious child. The more she began to see her true identity in the light of God’s grace, the more thoughts of peace and purpose began to replace those defeatist, condemning thoughts until they lost their foothold in her mind altogether. She said:
Now, when I look in the mirror, I see a precious child of God with a purpose to live and this purpose is HIM. His love is unfailing and I know that He loves me despite my mistakes. I’m not perfect. I still make mistakes, but I know that my perfection is Christ, and the more I understand His finished work, the more I find I am transformed.
My friend, this precious testimony is just one of many I’ve received of people rescued by the Lord’s grace from the pit of depression and despairing, defeatist thoughts. Simply receiving Jesus’ love and grace for them gave them the power to break free from invisible chains that bound them. And they went on to experience breakthrough after breakthrough in their lives.
Many people today suffer from anxious and depressive thoughts, thoughts that keep them down, defeated, and unable to move beyond past hurts and disappointments. Many, unknown to their friends and family, are right now dealing with defeatist thoughts that, like Mandy, make them feel ugly and worthless. When allowed to grow and take root, these thoughts can lead them down a path of perpetual insecurity, social problems, serious addictions, sicknesses, and even death.
A Common Struggle, But God Wants Us Free
Negative thoughts bombard us all. Sparing none, they come uninvited, sometimes triggered by the smallest things. For some, a word, a look, or encountering a familiar situation can start off a chain of dark thoughts that can escalate out of control and bring them to a fearful, lonely place.
You may be a husband who is given to thinking, My wife and children don’t respect me. As head of my family, I’m a failure. Or perhaps the thought of going to school or to work in the morning fills you with dread because you think, People just don’t like me. Everything I do seems to be wrong. I’ve met precious folks who stayed away from church because of thoughts like, God is against me. He doesn’t love me. I keep messing up.
My friend, I know firsthand what it’s like to be tormented by negative thoughts. When I was a teenager, because of something I read, I believed that I had committed the “unpardonable sin” and lost my salvation. I started to have all kinds of dark thoughts about my life and destiny. I believed that I was going to hell. I even had blasphemous thoughts about God and was compulsively obsessive about confessing my sins to Him. I would stop to confess my sins halfway through a conversation or football game! I was so oppressed in my mind that I was on the brink of losing it. And the thought of my mind snapping at any time really scared me!
As a believer, all your sins are already forgiven through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice.
But God in His grace set me free. He revealed the gospel of grace to me—how all my sins were already forgiven through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and how I am righteous by faith and not my works. I received a blessed assurance of my salvation and I knew in my heart that heaven is my home. I still remember the moment I was set free—it was like the tight metal bands around my head just broke and fell off, and I experienced His amazing peace and freedom!
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