I was blessed with a day off recently, and it was delightful. I had been ministering every single day, so I was especially grateful for the break. I took a walk to talk with the Holy Spirit and was just enjoying my surroundings and the conversation. But I suddenly realized as He began to speak to me that my thoughts had been subconsciously filled with some worries. They were things I didn't have the right to be worried about. I heard His voice saying, "You were not made to think about these things."
I realized I had a default setting I didn't even know was there. In my inward conversation—that stream of thoughts we all have—I had developed a habit of worrying about things at a subconscious level. A lot of it was focused on what I needed, how this and that situation was going to work out, what if something bad happened to get in the way, and so on. As my mind began to relax, it was as if a pile of problems began to rise to the surface, and I was spending a lot of mental energy on how to fix them. I'd fallen into the trap of living in a place of worry.
Before this if someone had asked me if I was a worrier, I would have said no. I don't think I'm a worrier by nature. In fact, I think I'm a pretty happy person. But the Holy Spirit was showing me that my mind was defaulting back to an old human pattern of anxiety. Most of us have a tendency to ask, "What if?" about practically everything. That tendency had been lying beneath the surface of my conscious thoughts. The Holy Spirit brought it to the surface and gently reminded me that I wasn't made to think about such things. Worry is a thief of peace and joy.
A few days later a fellow pastor who didn't know any of this, began to prophesy. "God says you weren't created to worry about anything," he said. "Your mind needs to be set on the miracles and the things He is going to do."
That got my attention. It's so easy for our thinking to get filled up with questions: "How, God? When? Why did this happen? What's going to happen? What if ...?" These questions can be relentless.
There's a difference between living in anticipation of what God is going to do and living in anxiety about what might happen, and our questions tend to default to the latter if we're not intentional about taking worrying thoughts and exchanging them for His truth (2 Cor. 10:5). We're told to cast all anxieties on the Lord because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). Preoccupation with fears and concerns is not part of our design.
Perhaps you thought that life with the Holy Spirit was all about external fruit—seeing miracles, declaring God's words and ministering in power. Those manifestations are certainly part of our relationship with Him. We are seeing more and more of them in our day. But if you want to walk in power outwardly, you will need to make some inward adjustments. The power of the Holy Spirit begins with His working inside us to bring us comfort. Personal, intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit is the birthplace of demonstrated power.
The Holy Spirit wants to comfort you and change your thinking and set you free so He can make room for you to think about something better. You are not called to think like a mere human; you're called to have the mind of Christ (see 1 Cor. 2:16). You are called to be "rooted and grounded in [God's] love" (Eph. 3:17). Knowing this love is the only way to be filled with "the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:19. Have you ever noticed that God does "exceedingly abundantly beyond" what we can ask or think, "according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20b)? It isn't just for us; it's in us. This kind of inner power comes from knowing and believing, not from going through the right motions. It begins in our hearts and minds. That takes some rearranging, or, as Paul put it, it requires the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2).
One of the most important ways we can think differently is by casting our cares on Him, trusting Him to deal with them. The word Scripture uses for cast in 1 Peter 5:7 is epirito, and it implies a sudden motion, to fling with a quick toss. The Lord wants us to realize that every time we have a what-if thought, our reflex should be to flick it away and say, "Not my problem."
God is saying that if you have a circumstance in your life that causes fear or anxiety, don't just ignore it. Bring it to Him (Phil. 4:4-5). Cast it onto Him quickly and deliberately, as if you're tossing it away. Giving thanks while doing this is vital because it demonstrates your trust in Him. When you ask with gratitude, you aren't worried about whether He will act on your behalf or not. You know He will. You can turn it over to Him, flicking off your worries in exchange for His peace.
Adapted from Life With the Holy Spirit by Katherine Ruonala. Copyright 2017, published by Charisma House. This book will help you develop a true relationship with God, experience His power, and work with Him in ministry to others. To order your copy, click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of Nov. 12, 2017
This week as you fellowship with the Lord in prayer, remember to cast all your cares on Him so that you can make your requests in faith believing that He will answer according to His will. Continue to pray for our spiritual, local and national leaders. Remember Israel and our allies when you pray for worldwide revival. Pray for those who were victimized and are suffering loss through natural disasters, crime and terrorism. As we enter the holiday season ask the Lord how you can be a blessing to those affected and have great need for comfort, healing and provision. Read Philippians 4:4-5; 1 Peter 5:7.