As we continue in our mental battleground series, we will talk about the second thing God shared with me as I have walked through that battlefield.
“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ Jeremiah 29:10-14
Here, God’s people are in captivity. They are living in enemy territory. I am sure it felt like being in prison. I see God giving them hope about getting out of that place, and as I read through these scriptures, I am fascinated by the encouragement and nudge to call upon the Lord to seek Him, not casually but with their whole heart.
It was when they did that they would find the Lord. He promises to listen and hear them, restore to them what has been stolen and taken from them, and redeem them.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:8
God has encouraged me the same way. I hear Him whispering to me in that small voice, “Turn to me, seek me, and find me.” He wants us to draw near to Him and depend on Him, not turn away or try to figure out things on our own.
The other morning, I could feel myself getting anxious. I was thinking about everything I needed and wanted to get done. I was overwhelmed with some of the components of this season and where life is right now. I could tell my mind’s path, which threw off my focus completely.
I took a moment to pause and thought, “I need to stop this right now.” So I stopped right there and then. I prayed and surrendered myself, my day, and all the crazy going on inside me at that moment. It was miraculous. As I did that, His peace came over me, and my day was very different. I just flowed from one thing to the next. Not everything got done, but I knew I was living in the power of the Holy Spirit and not trying to do it in my own strength anymore.
When we give God our whole hearts, His yoke truly is easy, and His burden is light.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33
When we seek Him first and with our whole hearts, He takes care of the details. God doesn’t want us stressed, anxious, and worried about everything is going to work out. That is hard for us as humans who have been taught and learned to be self-reliant. We live in a culture where everything is about us, and we are in charge of our dreams and destiny.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8
God has used this scripture to help me, and recently, He has encouraged me when I am struggling to ask myself if I am leaning on God and His wisdom and understanding or if I am relying on my own understanding and wisdom.
More often than not, in the moments I am struggling, stressed, and weary, those are the times when I notice I am leaning on myself and relying on my own wisdom and understanding.Tweet
God then calls me to turn and seek His face, to draw close to Him, and to give HIm space to draw close to me.
This is not always as easy as it sounds. It is not always the first thing I do, and I have fallen hard when I don’t choose to go this way.
I have given the enemy a foothold to cause havoc and upheaval within myself and in relationships with others.
Again, we have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. He doesn’t want us to draw close to the Lord and seek Him with our whole hearts. He wants us to live in the lies. He wants us stressed, anxious, and depressed because then we are ineffective.
So, the first step is recognizing where we are in the moment. If we are feeling overcome with stress, anxiety, negative thoughts, or feeling depressed and hopeless, we need to stop. Ask yourself, “Am I seeking God and His wisdom and understanding, or am I leaning on my own?
Take a moment to pray a prayer of surrender, repent for trying to do it your own way, and begin seeking God with your whole heart. Watch Him give you His wisdom and direction, feel His peace flood your entire body, and see Him restore to you when the enemy has tried to steal.
This mental battleground is a dangerous and challenging place to fight, but we don’t fight alone. We have a Savior and advocate fighting for us, one who has won the battle and given us the victory already. May He help us to live in that victory!