“How Does Our Thinking Affect Our Emotions?” April 14

Aside

 

How Does Our Thinking Affect Our Emotions? - What’s going on in your heart and mind? Is there peace and trust? Or worry and anxiety? How should we respond when anxiety or other negative emotions threaten to have their way?

Even if you haven’t followed along lately, I hope you’ll take the time to read this post. Our thinking is so important and learning to think biblically makes all the difference in our emotional condition.

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 17 & 18
Psalm 45.6-17
Proverbs 14.6
Luke 12.1-31

 

How Does Our Thinking Affect Our Emotions?

 

Luke 12.1-31:

How Our Thinking Controls Our Emotions

 

Verses 22-31 repeat much of what we read a couple of months ago in Matthew 6 about worry and trust in God, but we can never hear these things often enough. Verses 29-31:

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

I especially like verse 29, “And do not … have an anxious mind.” Why are we so often anxious? What, generally, controls our emotions?

Philippians 4 says:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 

Have you ever prayed and given some situation to God, only to find yourself worried about it a hour later? Why do we find it so hard to leave our troubles with God?

I believe the answer is in verse 8.

When it comes to worry and anxiety, it’s not enough to pray and then go back to thinking about it, trying to figure out how God’s going to solve the issue, or as we often do, fretting about what we should do to fix the problem. We need to change our thinking.

It’s no accident that verse 8 follows 6 and 7. “Finally …” after you’ve prayed about it, “meditate on these things”! Think about them deeply.

What is it we’re to think about deeply?

We’re to focus on what’s true, not the what if’s and maybe’s. We’re to think about the greater truths. It may be true that your husband has lost his job, but the greater truth is that God is your Provider (2 Cor. 9.8; Phil. 4.19).

We’re to think about what’s noble and lovely. Believe the best of others. Don’t see them in the worst possible light. See them as God sees them. And remember no one is too hard for God (Prov. 21.1).

Think of the good, those things for which you can be thankful. Think about how God has taken care of you in the past and how You have seen Him work in the Bible and in the lives of people you know.

2 Corinthians 10.4-5 says:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Notice the words “arguments”, “knowledge” and “thoughts.” These strongholds have to do with our thinking and patterns of thinking. We take our thoughts captive by replacing them with God-honoring, God-filtered ones.

When we’re tempted to worry and be anxious, we must remind ourselves that if the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want. We won’t lack anything we need. But, as I heard someone say, Psalm 23.1 may be the best known and least believed verse in the Bible.

How Does Our Thinking Affect Our Emotions? - What's going on in your heart and mind? Is there peace and trust? Or worry and anxiety? How should we respond when anxiety or other negative emotions threaten to have their way? Even if you haven't followed along lately, I hope you'll take the time to read this post. Our thinking is so important and learning to think biblically makes all the difference in our emotional condition.When we start to wonder if our spouse will ever change, we must remind ourselves that our job is to first take the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7.5), that we overcome evil with good (Rom. 12.21) and that doing good to the other person will be the most likely way to bring conviction (Rom. 12.20).

When we start fretting about our children, we must remember that God only asks us to be faithful (1 Cor. 4.2) to teach and train them using godly principles (Eph. 6.4), not to unnecessarily frustrate them (Col. 3.21) or provoke them to anger (Eph. 6.4), and to leave the results in His hands (Prov. 22.6).

But in order to take our thoughts captive to these truths and others, we must first put God’s word in our hearts and minds. Romans 12.2 tells us:

“… be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

And Psalm 119.9-11 (NASB) says:

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.

10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.

11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.

So when we’re feeling anxious or worried or a host of other negative emotions, let’s stop and take an inventory of our thoughts.

The Sovereign God who watches over all the details of life is watching over us. He knows what we need. Our focus is to be on doing the things that advance His kingdom. But if we’re not purposefully thinking and meditating on those things, our default modes of worry, anxiety, anger, other sinful thought patterns will take over.

 

How Journaling Can Help

 

When I’m counseling people struggling with emotional issues, I often ask them to keep a journal. It’s often very revealing for them to slow down and ask themselves a series of questions.  Continue reading

“What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?” March 29

 

What Could Cost Us Our Freedom? - Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 19 & Deuteronomy 20
Psalm 38.1-8
Proverbs 12.23-25
Luke 4.31-44

 

What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?

 

Deuteronomy 19 & Deuteronomy 20:

The Size of Our God

 

In chapter 20.1-4 the Israelites were told:

“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt … Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”

Like the Israelites, no matter what the battle or the enemy, we are not to look at the size of the enemy, but at the size of our God!

 

What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?

 

But we must remember that this passage follows closely behind the passages we read yesterday where God was giving instructions for choosing leaders and the behavior of those leaders. When the people or their leaders acted presumptuously, repeatedly disobeyed His commands, or followed other gods and put their trust in them, God frequently let them be defeated in battle. Sometimes even allowing them to be taken into captivity, as he did with Babylon.

America has enjoyed years of relative protection from God. We have been blessed with freedoms, resources, and favor on an enormous scale. But we should not think God cannot or will not allow defeat for our nation if we continue to move further and further from Him and His standards.

Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

The great British statesman Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

So what could cost us our freedom? Continue reading

“Could guilt lead to paranoia?” October 27

 

Could guilt lead to paranoia? - Could guilt lead to paranoia?Could guilt lead to paranoia? Could those feelings of guilt and anxiety be God’s early warning system to keep us from experiencing deeper emotional issues? And what happens when we ignore those warnings?

Also read about God’s faithfulness in hard times and a biblical view of authority.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 39 & 40
Psalm 119.81-88
Proverbs 28.1
1 Timothy 6.1-21

 

Could guilt lead to paranoia?

 

Proverbs 28.1:

Guilt, Anxiety & Paranoia

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Wickedness can lead to double-mindedness, fear, worry and what the world calls “paranoia.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines paranoia as “a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.”

God gave each of us a conscience. Romans 2.14-15:

14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).

And when we violate our consciences, we’ll experience guilt, anxiety and, at times, even paranoia. Not all guilt and anxiety are bad. Sometimes they’re God’s early warning system to keep us from hardening our hearts and doing things that can harm us or others.

But when we refuse to heed the warning behind those unpleasant emotions, they can morph into paranoia and a continued downward spiral of sin (Rom. 1.18-32).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 39 & 40:

The Faithfulness of God in Hard Times

What a sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God!

When the city was defeated, Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that Jeremiah was not just to be spared, but to be given a ration and told he was free to go anywhere he wanted to go!

We get so concerned about how the economy or some political change will affect us. Instead of standing firm for truth in the face of adversity and evil, we compromise, worry, and put our trust in other gods, like government, to save us. Instead of voting for candidates who are morally right we vote our pocketbooks (who promises me the most?). We lie to get unemployment benefits. Or we compromise our values in the work place, the classroom and the marketplace. Continue reading

“Is your state of mind tied to your relationship with God?” October 9

 

State of Mind

What is your state of mind? Is it full of anxiety or is there peace? Are you meditating on some wrong done to you or how God has blessed you? Are you content or striving for more? Your state of mind leads either to peace or to turmoil. But more importantly, what does it say about your relationship to God.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 3 & 4
Psalm 116.15-19
Proverbs 27.2
Philippians 4.1-23

 

Is your state of mind tied to your relationship with God?

 

Philippians 4.1-23:

Pray & Be Thankful

Yesterday I talked about some of my favorite passages in Philippians. Today I want to share a few more:

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

“Be anxious for nothing …” is a command, not a suggestion.

Worry is sin! Ouch, that hurt since I have a couple of things weighing on my heart right now.

We’re told not to be anxious, worried, fearful and fretful about ANYTHING! Instead, we are to pray about everything and be thankful, and when we do, the peace of God, which often makes no sense to the world, will stand guard over our hearts and minds. What a great promise! But it’s a conditional promise—dependent on our faithfulness to choose not to worry and to pray and be thankful, instead.

The more we come to know Him, to trust in His sovereignty and goodness, the more His peace will guard our hearts and minds. In other words, the level of our peace depends on the quality of our relationship with Him.

Think About This

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Instead of playing the video tape in your mind about that hurt, that sin, or that wrong done to you, meditate on what God says about your situation: how He’ll use all things for good (Rom. 8.28-29), how He takes care of His own, including any retribution that needs to happen (Rom. 12.17-21), how we can be joyful in trials (Jas. 1.2-5), and how, out of His love for you, He died in your place so you could extend His love and mercy to others, even your enemies (Matt. 5.43-48).

So how do we grow in our ability to trust in Him and to live the way He’s called us to live? It starts with our thinking.  Continue reading

“Sin’s Connection to Anxiety & Depression” June 11

 

DepressionAre you or is someone you love struggling with depression or anxiety? Does the Bible have anything to say about those issues? Is it ever connected to sin in our lives?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 72.17-20
Proverbs 18.14-15
John 19.1-22

 

Sin’s Connection to Anxiety & Depression

 

Proverbs 18.14-15:

Verse 14, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?”

As human beings, we are able to withstand great physical and circumstantial difficulties. And as believers, who better understand how to respond to those difficulties, all the more so.

But when we lose hope (Prov. 13.12) or are undergoing spiritual pressure, even lesser problems can seem too much to bear.

depressionCertainly spiritual pressure can be the enemy’s attempt to get us to quit when we are walking in obedience or stepping out in faith. That’s one reason why Scripture tells us to encourage one another (1 Thess. 5.11) and why we are not to forsake coming together with other believers, including church attendance and fellowship. Hebrews 10.23-25:

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

But spiritual pressure can also come from God Himself as He deals with us regarding sin. Hebrews 12.5-11:

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

While I don’t want to imply that all depression has a sinful cause, sin can result in increased spiritual pressure, depression, and anxiety.

 

Mike Wilkerson in his book Redemption says that we are all fellow sufferers and fellow sinners. Sometimes it’s us who sins and sometimes we suffer because of the sins of others. But even when the initial sin wasn’t ours, we often respond sinfully. Sometimes with fear and worry, sometimes with anger and bitterness, sometimes we turn to alcohol, drugs, food or some other false god instead of turning to God.  Continue reading

“Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety” + LINKUP

 

Overcoming Fear, Worry & AnxietyWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith and Confidence by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

 

Aging parents, health concerns, rebellious children, financial worries, safety issues and more. For many of us, they can lead to increasing fear, worry, and anxiety ranging from mild to paralyzing.

As believers we know we should trust God rather than be fearful and worried, but the peace we desire and God wants us to have, seems elusive.

We know the answer lies in our relationship with Christ, but sometimes we need practical advice on how to break those old habit patterns. Elyse reminds us:

[Jesus is] the only one who intimately knows all our thoughts and fears. He’s the only one who is able to deliver us. That’s because He’s faced the greatest of all fears for us—the fear of death and separation from God— and He’s come through victorious. The Bible teaches that one reason He left heaven and came to earth was to “deliver those who through fear…have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread” (Hebrews 2:15 TLB).

Our fears are like chains around our hearts—they paralyze, entrap, and enslave us. But Jesus Christ holds the key that can unlock and banish all your fears. He’s able to do this because His love is more powerful than your fears. It’s His plan to teach, encourage, and transform you into a person who trusts Him— even in the face of your deepest worries and anxieties. He doesn’t promise to make you perfect here on earth, but He does promise to work mightily in your heart now and will ultimately, in heaven, completely free you from every fear.

She goes on to help us identify the source of our fear, worry, and anxiety. Then through careful application of the Scriptures and personal examples, her own and others, she helps us:

Cast all [our] anxiety on him because he cares for [us] (1 Pet. 5.7).

Blessings,
Donna

 

Quotations taken from:
Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety. Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

You can get a copy of Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety or shop for other resources here.


 


IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!

IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!

Christian bloggers linkup

Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site. I would love it if you link back in someway and share the linkup on social media. I pin many of your posts on my “Mondays @ Soul Survival” Pinterest board as time allows.  Continue reading

“Paranoia!” May 8

 

Paranoia, anxiety, stress ... could sin be a root issue?Paranoia, anxiety, stress … could sin be a root issue?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 18 & 19
Psalm 58.1-11
Proverbs 15.27-30
Luke 24.1-35

 

1 Samuel 18 & 19:

Paranoia – the wicked flee when no one pursues

Two verses stood out to me in chapter 18:

Verse 12, “Now Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, but had departed from Saul.”

That verse sums up what had been going on for a while. David had never done anything but good where Saul was concerned, yet Saul was “afraid” of him. We love putting labels on everything today. Somehow if what we’re going through has a name, it makes us feel better. Today we might call what Saul experienced “paranoia” and the solution might well be medication.

Just putting a label on things doesn’t solve the problem and, while I’m not saying medication is always wrong, in this case, it might have gotten rid of the “bad feelings,” but would not have solved the root issue. In Saul’s case the root was rebellion and disobedience to God’s clear commands. Sin was the root of his paranoia!

Proverbs 28.1 says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

The other side of that proverb is demonstrated in David’s life: Continue reading

“Recognizing the Process of Sin”

LIVING BETWEEN THE ALREADY & THE NOT YET – Part 3

 

process of sin

 

Several weeks ago I started this series, “Living Between the Already and the Not Yet.” “The already” is who we are in Christ and have been since the day that He saved us. The “not yet” is who we will be when we stand before Him faultless, in other words, when we are like Him.

The first post was “5 Ways God Finishes His Work in Us” based on Philippians 1.6. In it I said that God is progressively changing and growing us as we learn to:

  1. Count it all joy when we encounter tests & trials.
  2. Accept His discipline.
  3. Keep the two great commandments.
  4. Overcome evil with good.
  5. Trust in His sovereignty.

In the second post, I talked about “Responding to Difficult People.” We all have one or more of them in our lives, whether it’s a child, a family member, a spouse, a co-worker or someone else.

I used a simple counseling diagram we call the “Y-chart,” to demonstrate how responding God’s way results in peace and blessings and how our load in life gets easier. But when we respond our own way, it results in tribulation and distress (anxiety, fear, worry, stress, depression) and life gets harder.

 

RECOGNIZING THE PROCESS OF SIN

In this post I’m going to talk about the process of sin: how it works, why we fall into its snares, and how we can avoid it.  Continue reading

October 27 “Guilt, anxiety and paranoia” & LINKUP

fear paranoiaGuilt and anxiety can be God’s early warning system to keep us from hardening our hearts and doing things that can harm ourselves or others. But when we refuse to heed those warnings, they can morph into paranoia and a continued downward spiral of sin.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 39 & 40
Psalm 119.81-88
Proverbs 28.1
1 Timothy 6.1-21

 

Jeremiah 39 & 40:

The faithfulness of God in hard times

What a sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God! When the city was defeated, Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that Jeremiah was not just to be spared, but to be given a ration and told he was free to go anywhere he wanted to go!

We get so concerned about how the economy or some political change will affect us. Instead of standing firm for truth in the face of adversity and evil, we compromise, worry, and put our trust in other gods, like government, to save us. Instead of voting for candidates who are morally right we vote our pocketbooks (who promises me the most?). We lie to get unemployment benefits. Or we compromise our values in the work place, the classroom and the marketplace. Continue reading

October 9 “Peace, anxiety & the state of your mind”

fear worry anxiety headacheWhat is the state of your mind? Is it full of anxiety or is there peace? Are you meditating on some wrong done to you or how God has blessed you? Are you content or striving for more? The state of your mind says a lot about your relationship to God.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 3 & 4
Psalm 116.15-19
Proverbs 27.2
Philippians 4.1-23

 

Jeremiah 3 & 4:

Return to Me!

Even in the Old Testament, it was always the heart, the inner man, which God was most concerned about. We see several examples in these two chapters. Chapter 3:

12 ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD;
‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you.
For I am merciful,’ says the LORD;
‘I will not remain angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your iniquity

God wants a relationship with us, not just obedience:

20 Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband,
So have you dealt treacherously with Me,
O house of Israel,” says the LORD.

Chapter 4:

4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD,
And take away the foreskins of your hearts.

18 “Your ways and your doings
Have procured these things for you.
This is your wickedness,
Because it is bitter,
Because it reaches to your heart.”

God wants our hearts because it’s out of the heart that everything else, including true worship, flows. Continue reading