Are You Being Tempted into Negative Thinking?

(re-write from 2 yrs ago)

I came to a conclusion in the last few years about how best to handle feelings of melancholy and hopelessness and how to prevent them from taking us into a deeper downward spiral of despair and depression. 

(I haven’t seen this thought written on by any other Christian writer, it’s something God pressed upon my mind.)  

The conclusion is that downward emotional spirals start with temptation. 

Yes, in many cases we are more vulnerable to emotional spirals due to hormonal changes, during periods of grief, transition or when dealing with pain or illness. 

You may want to read more on Perimenopause here. Some people do have chemical imbalances in their brains that sometimes need boosting with supplements or even doctor prescribed medications.  Therefore, being vigilant against temptation into despair is even more crucial in those situations. 

It Starts with Temptation

If we are willing to embrace this idea that fretting, worry, anxiety and despair starts with temptation, we can more readily be on guard to fight it.  

It makes sense that since most of our moods stem from our thoughts, that if we're not careful, we can be tempted to think negatively. Our negative thinking then takes us into troublesome areas. 

We can be tempted to get into a place our enemy Satan would like us. He likes it when we feel defeated or when we attack and hurt others due to our own hurt feelings. He loves to drive us into despair where we might consider taking drastic action out of God's best plan.

Seeing how these negative outcomes stem from temptation can help us fight them. 

A Look at Temptation into Despair

We all know we are to pray, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” What temptation do you think of when you say that prayer? 

I have sometimes thought of it as being tempted to get angry, to hurt someone, to cheat or steal something, sexual sin, or to take some other wrong action.  But what if temptation is also these subtle thoughts that overtake us? 

Protect Yourself

Live Defensively

In order to live defensively, become aware of the very instant you begin to feel overwhelmingly lost, sad, hurt, melancholic, depressed or when you sense you're falling into despair, fretting, worry, or doubt.

Then pray, “Lord, I’m being tempted to …” (fill in the blank).

Trust God to stop the enemy for you—to fight for you, to suggest something you can do that will help you escape from such moods.

Exodus 14:14 (NIV) says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Live Offensively

In Matthew 6, Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” He told them to pray, “Give us today our daily bread,” or that which they would need to get through the day in his will. 

In order to live offensively, pray as demonstrated in the Lord’s Prayer.  Start each day asking God to keep you from the temptations of negativity, doubt, fretting, depression, and so on. And if you feel negative feelings creeping up, say the prayer again.  

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