Susan walked away from the bank machine in frustration. She was overdrawn and it was still a while to payday. This unexpected bill left her wishing she had deposited more in her Savings.
I thought about deposits and withdrawals this morning as I took four phone calls and received a dozen emails. So many were feeling overwhelmed in the place where they walk today. “Lord, what can I say?”
From the morning phone calls and email only one was a story of encouragement. All the others were overwhelmed… and with good cause for they are walking in tough places. I thought about what makes the difference.
The deposits we make into our minds and hearts will determine what there is for withdrawal when things get tough.
As mentors we too can feel overwhelmed at times. “What can I say?” our hearts cry as we answer the phone and email. The Lord quietly replies, “Tell them what I said.” I ponder what He did say.
“This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4 & 5
Life will feel overwhelming at times. We want to reach out to encourage others in their hard spots but we also try to balance our own concerns of life and finances, relationships and health, often tired but too busy to rest. It is in these times that what we have deposited into our minds will bear its fruit. This verse tells us our faith will be our victory.
But how does it work at a practical level when life threatens to overwhelm us? Author Neil Anderson says that what goes into our mind drives our will and our emotions. If we deposit into our minds things of “the world and the flesh”, such as entertainment that is impure and questionable, negative and critical thoughts, and continued focus on bigger, better, more material things, we will bear fruit accordingly. Anxiety, fear, discouragement, greed, impurity and worry will be the withdrawal.
However, if we deposit the Word of God into our minds, on a continual basis, then our will and emotions are led by the Spirit and we will bear fruit accordingly. God says when we make this choice the result in our life will be withdrawals of peace and patience, faith and gentleness, love and kindness, goodness, self control and even joy.. (Galatians 5:22).
Suddenly it is very clear…
We can actually choose the direction our will and emotions will go by what we deposit into our mind! We are not helpless in being overcome with life’s circumstances. God says it is our faith that will overcome in the world that surrounds us daily and cause us to live with hope and expectation in the midst of life’s challenges.
How do we put feet to our faith and make the deposit that will give us the withdrawal we need as we face life and seek to help others on the way? Practically speaking, “believing that Jesus is the Son of God” means screening your thoughts. Plain and simply take stock daily of what is going on in your mind and what you are believing. The thoughts that consume your mind will dictate your heart attitudes and eventually be displayed in your actions.
So often we can quote a scripture and it can sound trite and familiar and feel powerless. It is because we are not truly believing what it says. Thoughts that line up with the Word of God will help you overcome and live with hope and expectation. Thoughts that don’t line up with the Word of God will bring you to a place of being overwhelmed.
It really is that simple. Know what God’s Word says and believe it. Ask His Holy Spirit to increase your faith. Expose your thoughts to His promises. Talk about them with others. Guard what goes on in your mind and heart. Line your thoughts up with God’s Word. The difference in your “withdrawal” in meeting life’s challenges will amaze you.
God’s Word tells us that life will press in on us at times but we will not be crushed. He said He put this treasure of His Holy Spirit in us as “jars of clay” in order to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. Because of Jesus’ death we have this life living within us. We have this source to withdraw from so others will see His strength in us and God will be given the credit. Even in hard times we can be renewed inwardly day by day as we focus on God’s Word and set our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. (2 Corinthians 4: 7 -18)
Search God’s Word…it is your defense in life. Measure your thoughts by what His word says. Are you truly believing what it says? If your thoughts are not lining up with His Word, ask Him to help you take those thoughts captive and throw them out. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
As you encourage those who feel overwhelmed with life and as you guard your own heart, check what deposits have been made into your mind lately. Make the choice to bring your thoughts in line with the Word of God and your withdrawals in the tough moments will change. Encourage those who come to you to do the same. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”(Romans 12:2).
Truly believe the powerful Word of God. Let His truth saturate your mind and change your life! Read His promises with a fresh faith that takes God at His Word.
Overwhelmed by worry about tomorrow’s problems?
Do you believe God when He says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 5 & 6
Present your worry to God, with a thankful heart that He can take it and carry it, and He will give you a peace that will guard your heart and mind from overwhelming anxiousness.
Overwhelmed by fear?
Do you believe God when He says, “I will never leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13: 5 & 6
Do you believe God does not give you fear? “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” (KJV) 1 Timothy 1:7
Thank Him for His constant love and His presence with you and ask Him to take away your fear and give you His power to stand with a sound mind.
Overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness and low self esteem?
Line your thoughts up with what God says about you in Psalm 139. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Thank Him that He knit you together in your mother’s womb and He cares deeply about you. God says it so you can believe it. Ask Him to help you see yourself through His eyes.
Overwhelmed by confusion?
Do you believe God when He says “Where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil thing.” ? James Ask God to show you if you are contributing to confusion in your life by being the source of jealousy or trouble making. Believe Him when He says the “Peacemakers will be blessed.” Matthew 5:9
Overwhelmed by the power of the enemy of our souls?
Believe God when He says “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15
Thank God that you are on the winning team!
Keep your deposits growing with the Word of God in your heart and mind and the withdrawals will be there when you need them!