I’ll never forget the Christmas of 2011. My mom had befriended a crabby older woman named Edith. Edith didn’t really have many friends so every so often my mom would take her out to lunch. Then Edith started inviting herself to our family Christmases. No one liked it but we wanted to be polite and felt sorry for her. The minute she walked in the door she’d start, “Wow, you’ve gained weight!” “Why hasn’t your daughter come over to help me in my yard?!” She would just go from one person to the next with the derogatory remarks.
The Bible says in Luke 6:44: “For every tree is known by his own fruit.” Edith was pretty old, but instead of growing sweeter with age, her fruit was sour grapes. I felt sorry for her; but just because you feel sorry for someone, doesn’t mean you have to have them over to criticize your family on Christmas.
My sister and I thought that this year we were going to be free of Edith. She hadn’t talked to my mom in several months, and as of the third week in December, hadn’t called to invite herself to Christmas. We held our breath. It was about a week before Christmas and I had driven up from Las Vegas. I decided to stop at the local store before going up to mom’s. Guess who I saw at the store? No, not Edith, but my sister. She looked down at the ground and told me the bad news, “Edith’s coming for Christmas.”
“Oh no, this is not good,” I thought. “Yet another year where Christmas day was not one of relaxing, but of fending off Edith and her foul mouth.” I started to anticipate coming up with questions and stories that would keep her distracted as long as possible. I was living out the whole dreary scenario in my head. I spent quite a lot of mental and emotional time trying to predict how it might be and make my game plan.
Then God gave me a revelation and a new thought popped into my mind: “This hasn’t even happened yet. It doesn’t really have to happen at all!”
First Peter 5:8 tells us to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He roars to scare us and send us running right into his trap. He wants to stop us from seeking God’s answers. John 10:10 says the devil comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” That is his only mission, by one means or another.
The way the devil roars is often with the thoughts and ideas he puts out there in the air: negative, scary, dreadful scenarios that he hopes we will latch onto. If we react to his roaring, we do stupid things and he’s got us.
We’ve all done it. We dread; we negatively anticipate; we run through scenarios and live through events of the future, as if they were certain. They’re not. If God tells us specifically that something negative is going to happen, that’s one thing, but we better be absolutely sure it’s really God. Everything else is subject to change.
I realized that I was basing my plans totally on what someone else had said about what was to happen. It was an event that was only predicted with words so far, but I had mentally already made it a reality.
In an instant, I realized that with God there is no time, so instead of making plans and mental attitudes for something based solely on what others said, I could say something different. I believed that my words would have just as much impact on the future as anyone else’s. In fact, concerning this particular event, I knew that my words would have more impact, because God was letting me know that I could say it and it would happen.
I could spiritually stop the event that would bring the devil’s division and confusion to our family Christmas.
So I prayed, saying, “I come against those words that said she’s coming and I send out angels to stop her at every turn, in Jesus’ name.”
Two days later my sister told me, “Edith’s not coming.”
All of us have been in situations where we have mentally invisioned how certain events would affect us negatively.
What if we stopped doing that?
So many anticipated miseries could be avoided, and so much more time could be restored to us, time that we would enjoy thinking about other things, rather than wasting time going over and over things that have not even happened! And the awesome thing is that the anticipated misery may not have to happen at all!
When so much of our thought is going into what we’re going to say or do in an expected future situation, we aren’t really living in the fullest of the present. We can only think one thought at a time, and how much of the present do we miss by spending so much wasted thought on a projected event that may or may not even need to take place at all. By giving energy to it with our thoughts and words, we give it life. We help cause negative events to take place because we allow, expect and participate in them mentally—we live them before they exist.
We can certainly stop ourselves. Negative anticipation is one of the devil’s best setups. If he can trap us into thinking in the future, he can get us to set up our own negative future events.
In my situation, God gave me revelation to let me know that my words would be more powerful than the other words I heard, and that with the assistance of angels (Heb. 1:14) I could put a stop to the devil’s setup.
We need to become aware of the times when we get consumed and overly anxious about an anticipated negative situation. We need to stop ourselves from being a victim of the devil’s malignant nature to steal, kill and destroy our thought time, our emotions, our happiness and our futures. We are not “sheep for the slaughter” (Rom 8:36).
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom 8:37).
We have the victory over projected negatives when we claim our right to stop them and live in the glory God’s given us to live today.
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