If you are not an anxious person, this shifting of the mind seems easy but it is not. The anxious person with anxious thoughts are like those that play on a broken record. You know the ones that have a "skip" on them. Instead of the record going round and round with new sounds, it gets stuck on that same line that creates the same sound. The mind does the same thing with thoughts in the anxious person.
God has answers that with practical help. The passage above walks us through one answer He has. First, we cannot make our selves just walk this out. It is not a willpower kind of thing. However, as we pray to God who made us, He is pleased to move and change our hearts to walk this way. We will grow in belief and confess the unbelief we have in our hearts toward Him.
The very first line in today's passage points out, twice to rejoice, then instructs us to let our gentle spirit be known, comforting us finally with the Lord is near. Think about these things for a minute. If rejoicing is a command and mentioned twice, it means we need to be reminded of it. It is not an automatic response. We are reminded that the Lord is near! And isn't it true that we have lost sight of God being near when we are anxious? So practically Paul is telling us, "The Lord is near! Rejoice! And in that let your gentle spirit be known to all." A gentle or mild person is one who willingly accepts what the Lord is doing in their life, and in that God is good and in control.
We often need to stop our minds from talking to us and take the time to talk to our minds. We can speak truth and the good news of what Christ has done for us to our anxious minds, taking back control. As we do this we must cry out to God to help us believe that.
We then learn what to do with those anxious thoughts. All of them need to be talked through with God. We are instructed to take them to Him. He is the One and Only true person who can take them away exchanging them for peace which then guards our hearts and minds. Isn't that incredible?
So again, practically. Cry out to God about the anxious thoughts, confess sin, remember who Jesus is and what He did for us. Take control of your mind by renewing it with truth. Let God's tranquil peace sweep over you. It sounds easy but it is not always easy to do this. Growing in grace is a process and the more you are able to walk this out, the more it will seem to become natural, but it takes time. The most important thing is to not forget God. We must make our minds remember what He has done and that no matter what comes our way, He is for us not against us. May we believe it.
Father, thank you for your word that comes with such practicality to it. Thank you for not leaving us alone to try to figure things out. Help us to be patient with our sanctification process and continually look to you to mold us and change us and make us more like you. In Jesus Name. Amen.
* Recommended Resource: Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry by Amy Simpson