How you think matters. What you think matters. The Bible warns us about the thoughts that come into our heads.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
So why such admonitions? Because on a cellular level, our thoughts shape our brains. Literally. You don’t have to take my word for it… go Google it. Our thoughts travel down neurons and across synapses in the brain. When we think, these messages must travel across this distance, or synapse. When we think the same kinds of thoughts again and again those particular synapses grow shorter and easier to cross, and we are hard-wiring our brains to follow those patterns. The repetitious thoughts we have literally shape how our brains are structured. Ever notice how happy people seem to grow happier, and sad people can’t seem to get happy?
And it’s biblical. And as a believer who loves science, I love when they work together. Here’s a hint… they always do!
Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks, so he is.
The thought patterns we establish for ourselves, to a great extent, affect our outlook on life. And here’s another little kicker… the thought patterns of the people with whom we surround ourselves can heavily impact us as well. Ever notice how some people leave you feeling happy and others just bring you down?
Several years ago, I was pretty depressed. Matthew and I had literally fled a dangerous and manipulative church situation. Talk about mind control! We moved back home to be near family and begin again, but neither of us had a job and yet we still had four kids to feed and shelter. In my defense, I had much to be depressed about.
Thankfully, my long time best friend invited us to her church. After a few months, we decided to join that church. Why? Because it was life giving. I left each service feeling better than when I came. My thoughts were more hopeful and I began to pull out of my depression. I know now what happened. I was reordering my thoughts.
Romans 12:12 puts it this way:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I had lost my way and I was stuck in my own thoughts. But as soon as I began to renew my mind, everything changed. The thought habits I had were replaced with new ones. I began to see life completely differently. I saw the things that happened to me in the light of Christ and his plan for my life. Thoughts of dread became thoughts of hope. Depression turned to joy, and I have not looked back. Joy is so much better!
Do I still have the blues sometimes? Sure. But I know the power of my own thoughts to bind me, and so I choose to think differently. Once you begin those new thought patterns, the change comes. Those once negative neural pathways become weaker, and newer, healthier pathways emerge and take over.
I love it. It’s real science and it’s real God. And it’s why He told us how we think about things matter. We choose how we think. He gave us the gift of a sound mind. The Bible teaches that we have the mind of Christ, after all.
Do you find yourself depressed? Is your glass always half empty? Do you see pitfalls instead of possibilities? Stop feeding those pathways. Start feeding new ones. If you need help and want to try what I did, here’s the link to my church’s website.
TAKE MY 30 DAY CHALLENGE. Listen to one message a day for 30 days. It could change the way you think, and in turn, change your life. There’s nothing hinky or weird about it, I promise. Click on the “Media” tab to get started. It doesn’t matter which message you choose. Of course, mine is not the only life giving church out there, but it’s the one that helped me.