“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21
Thoughts are the basis for our beliefs, and as a Christian you know how powerful belief is. If believing in Christ is the primary way Christians are eternally saved and set free to live life abundantly. If we want to overcome evil with good, we must take every thought captive.
You see, the primary way the enemy attacks, is by giving us thoughts. Think about it (see what I did there), does Satan or one of the fallen angels literally come into your home and start bullying you into to sin? Do they dunk your head in the toilet until you agree to partner with them? Although the pressure can feel the same as that kind of peer pressure at times, the answer is obviously, “No.” The enemy begins by subtly giving us thoughts. His goal is to get you to begin imagining yourself performing the sinful act. The imagination is the spiritual womb and you decide what fruit is produced by the thoughts you entertain.
The enemy’s ultimate goal is to get you to develop negative thought patterns by repeatedly entertaining the thoughts he wants you to think on. This develops what scientists refer to as the “default mode network,” which simply put, is the default mode that you operate out of when you are not consciously thinking.
Your default mode could be something like, “I’m a failure,” “I’m so ugly,” “I’m always sad,” or even things such as, “I hate so-and-so,” “They are ruining my life,” “I will get revenge.” So, when you aren’t consciously thinking about doing something like following a recipe or intentionally thinking about something, such as reading your Bible, your mind automatically repeats this mantra. When you have established this kind of default mode, it can feel like you are helpless in overcoming it. It can also be a contributing factor to a mental disorder which is how you can be overcome by evil.
The thing is, you are in charge of how your brain functions, not the other way around. Neuroplasticity means you can change your brain by stimulating it to change. When you put forth effort into changing negative thought patterns by intentionally focusing on things that brings you peace, like meditating on Scripture, or things that make you feel accomplished, like planning and hiking to a waterfall, over time, you can change your neural pathways.
According to science, it takes 21 days to begin to develop these new neural pathways that will transform your life. Here are three ways you can change your thought processes and overcome evil with good.
- Filter Your Thoughts
Filter your thoughts by determining whether they align with what God says about you or your situation. Evaluate whether it produces life or death, peace or anxiety, hope or despair. If they are not from God, spend some time thinking about the negative thought and the countering positive one that you think would be from God.
- Focus on Scripture
If you find yourself having recurring negative thoughts about yourself or someone else, find a scripture that relates to the negative thought and write it on a notecard. Carry the notecard with you, and every time you recognize the negative thought cycling through your mind, pull out the notecard and meditate on the scripture.
Read it over and over until you memorize it.
Make it into a song that you can sing or hum to yourself.
Write it over and over focusing on the meaning of each individual word.
Turn the scripture into a prayer. Declare it over yourself or ask God to do it in your life and thank Him for doing it. (Faith is the substance of things hoped for – not yet seen).
- Plan something productive.
If you beat yourself up for being overweight, plan a healthy meal or an exercise routine and when you’re ready, do it! This may not happen the first few times but eventually, you will follow through.
If you’re angry at a person who has wronged you, write a letter and incorporate what you are praying for the situation. Ask God what He thinks of that person and the situation, and then pray a prayer of blessing over them.
If you’re feeling hopeless, make a list of things that you would like to happen, and write down some steps you could take to accomplish them.
So, do not be overcome by evil. Do not just surrender your thoughts to the enemy. Overcome evil with good by taking charge of negative thoughts and change the negative thought patterns.