Not Harmless, But TOXIC
9/25/2017 12:23:11 AM
Must be prudent with our thinking
Not harmless, but toxic.
Would you be shocked to know that some of your thinking is toxic? Some of us have thoughts that we have let simmer for 30 years, or burn for 25, or boil for two years. Parts of our brains look like this picture:
These thoughts that we leave unattended, pushed back, and never really addressed—you know, like ‘pans’ of guilt always simmering, ‘pans’ of boiling bitterness, maybe painful memories, emotional pain, etc., they are toxic… they cause anxiety and depression, cancer, and so much more. A massive body of research collectively shows that up to 80% of physical, emotional and mental health issues today could be a direct result of our thought lives.1
In my last briefing, I spoke of the scope of wisdom: understanding - what is true, right, lasting discretion - the ability to decide responsibly prudence - wise in handling practical matters, exercising good judgment, common sense, careful about one's conduct discernment - keen insight knowledge - the sum of scholarly learning through the ages action - exercising the aforementioned. If we do not act on what we know to be wise, it profits us nothing.
You and I must exercise discretion in our thinking. Why, it is the very reason Paul wrote that we are not to be conformed to this world, but transformed … by the renewing of our minds. I love the Living Bible’s interpretation of Romans 12.2 - Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you. So good. I want a fresh newness in all I do and think … you? I do not want to hear my dad’s harsh, critical voice ringing in the recesses of my mind; I do not want to re-hear the mean things high school girls said to me---though if I am honest, their voices are still there. No, my thinking ought be renewed!
Turns out that when God’s Word tells us ‘do not be afraid’, ‘do not let your hearts be anxious’ … there is physiological reason for such commands; worry, anxiety, fear is bad news for our health and longevity. “Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”2
We must exercise wisdom to master our thought lives. Once again, Paul, [Paul in his letter to the Romans, Paul in his letter to the Philippians, and now to the Corinthians], exhorts us to take every thought captive3 . . . a masterful word picture, is it not. Lasso those thoughts that are of no value to you and replace them with truth. Will require awareness, desire for wellness. Aw come on—it is 2017, and you would have to have been under a rock not to know the mind-body connection. Time for some wise action.
Let’s train our minds toward life-giving thinking. God’s thoughts are so much higher than ours4 . . . why not learn to think his? Listen - “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You will live in joy and peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
Think your thoughts are harmless? Think again. Your thoughts determine not just who you are, but how well you are! Let’s choose those which bring peace and joy.
1 – Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling toxic thoughts and emotions, Dr. Caroline Leaf, p.15.
2 – Philippians 4.6-7, JB Phillips Translation
3 – 2 Corinthians 10.5b
4 – Isaiah 55.8-12