As believers battling anxiety, panic attacks and fear, we often struggle with this incredibly frustrating tension between Biblical truth and our own experiences. See if any of these sound familiar:
Biblical truth: We are more than conquerers in Christ (Romans 8:37).
My experience: I haven’t been able to conquer these fears. They seem to constantly be conquering me.
Biblical truth: Jesus came to give life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).
My experience: My life sure doesn’t feel abundant. In fact, it feels quite restricted because of fears and anxiety.
Biblical truth: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
My experience: I can’t do all things. I’ve tried over and over, but the fear is too strong.
Biblical truth: You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
My experience: I don’t feel very loving. I don’t seem to have any power over this. And, my mind does not feel very sound. I’m confused and scared.
Any of these sound familiar? It does for me. Today, I still struggle to reconcile many of God’s truths with my own experiences. It’s the battle we constantly wage in our minds. If God’s word is true, then why doesn’t it seem to be true in my life?
As I talked about in my last post, we have this unseen world around us that bombards our minds and thoughts with lies and deception. The Bible talks about this “world” that we live in. It’s not referring directly to this physical earth–rather, it’s referencing this world system, the patterns and ways of thinking. I like how Greg Boyd describes it:
[The world system] is an evil system (Galatians 1:4) that has its own wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6), its own standards (1 Corinthians 3:18), its own earthly and spiritual rulers (1 Corinthians 2:6, 8), and it is ultimately controlled by the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 5:19).
I also like how John Trench describes this “world system” as a “floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations… which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale”.
I believe the primary reason we struggle to connect God’s truth with our own experiences is that our minds are programmed, conformed, and patterned by this world system. Through the lies and deceptions of the “god of this age”, he has successfully blinded many minds from God’s truth through improper programming.
But, there’s hope. All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). If God instructs us to “no longer conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:2), then he’ll provide a way for that to happen. He would never tell us to do something we can’t do.
In her book “Who Switched off my Brain“, Dr. Caroline Leaf talks about how our brains are physically wired by experiences–both good and bad. Bad experiences produce bad branches within our brain, and good experiences produce good branches. But, these branches in our brain are not permanent. By transforming our thoughts and renewing our mind, we can tear down those bad branches and build good ones. We can rebuild our patterns of thinking so that God’s truths will work powerfully in our lives.
I hope in the next few messages to share some practical information on how to renew our minds.
Prayer: Father, help me understand which of these bad branches in my brain are producing fear, anxiety and panic attacks. Show me how to transform and renew my mind in Christ.