“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

“Kings, Kingdoms & Functional Gods” January 8

 

Functional GodsDo you ever find yourself trying to help God out just a little? You believe He’s going to answer some prayer, but you keep trying to figure out how, and pretty soon, you’re trying to orchestrate one of those possibilities. Abram and Sarai had been given a great promise, but years had passed with no answer in sight and they took matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, just as it does in our lives, it lead to all kinds of problems and revealed some things about their hearts.

Today, in “Kings, Kingdoms & Functional Gods,” we’ll talk about who or what is really “lord” at that point in time. We’ll also look at how all this relates to worry, how the only way we can stand before God is through “The Multitude of His Mercy” and “His Wisdom for the Upright.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 15 & 16
Psalm 5.1-7
Proverbs 2.6-9
Matthew 6.19-34

 

Kings, Kingdoms & Functional Gods

 

Genesis 15 & 16:

Helping God Out

 

When God called Abram to leave his homeland, He told him that He would make a great nation from his descendants, But here in chapter 15, Abram is starting to wonder:

But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”

God patiently reassured him that He would keep His promise.

4 … “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

“He believed God …” We know it was genuine faith because God “accounted it to him for righteousness.” He was saved by his faith just as we are.

So what happened next, after this great, faith-filled conversation with God?

One chapter later … God still hasn’t given them a child, so Sarai comes up with her own solution and Abram goes along with it. She gives her handmaiden Hagar to Abram as his wife so they can get the child they so desperately want. How like us they were! How many times do we complicate our lives by trying to help God out?!

polygamyOne of the questions I’ve been asked many times about this passage is, “Why did God allow this to happen? And why did He, so frequently, allow the patriarchs in the Old Testament to have multiple wives?”

“Allow” is the key word here. It wasn’t that God wanted them to do so. In fact, you can see in this story and in others, that it always leads to strife and problems of every kind. God doesn’t hide any of that. God’s word, not only reveals the truth about God, but it exposes human nature, even at its worst. God lets us see humankind with all our warts so we can see our desperate need for Him.  Continue reading

“Bad Company & Politics” November 24

 

Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals

Bad company corrupts good morals. That is true of friends, advisers, co-workers, business partners, spouses, and anyone else with whom we spend a great deal of time. It’s true in our personal lives, in our work lives, and Proverbs tells us, even in politics.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 39 & 40
Psalm 132.10-18
Proverbs 29.5
James 5.1-20

 

Bad Company & Politics

 

Proverbs 29.5:

Bad Company Corrupts Morals & Politics

 

“Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”

The king represented their system of government. Romans tells us “bad company corrupts good morals.” That is true in politics, as well as, in our personal lives. Let’s pray that our president-elect, politicians and other leaders would surround themselves with godly counselors.

But we also need to be wise in our personal choices of friends and associates.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6.14).

Bad company corrupts good morals

We can’t always choose our co-workers, but we can be wise about how much time we spend with them during breaks and after work. We can be careful not to listen to gossip, complaining or advise from those who are ungodly.

If we’re already married to an unbeliever we need to fill our hearts and minds with God’s truth and seek to love them biblically while continuing to be salt and light. If we’re single we should only date someone who would be a godly spouse.

We need to choose our friends wisely. It’s not that we should never spend time with unbelievers, but our closest friends should be those who love God and will speak truth into our lives not tell us what we want to hear all the time.  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

“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

April 14 “Responding to anxiety”

What’s going on in your heart and mind? Is it peace and trust? Or is it worry and anxiety? How should we respond when anxiety threatens to have its way?

anxiety

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

Joshua 17 & 18:

Worry leads to complaining

Solomon said, “… there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1.9). In 17.16-18 the descendants of Joseph were worried and that worry led to complaining. They complained they had not been given enough land and that the Canaanites, who lived there, were too great for them.

But Joshua reminded them of God’s promises and told them to clear the wooded land they had been given and drive out the inhabitants.

We, too, need to fully use the resources God has given us instead of complaining that He doesn’t give us more. And as we’ll see in our New Testament reading, we need to change our thinking about God and our circumstances. Continue reading

January 8 “God’s plan or yours?”

God way or mine

Do you ever find yourself trying to help God out just a little? You believe He’s going to answer some prayer, but you keep trying to figure out how, and pretty soon, you’re trying to orchestrate one of those possibilities.

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 15 & 16
Psalm 5.1-7
Proverbs 2.6-9
Matthew 6.19-34

Genesis 15 & 16:

Our messes and His divine purposes

In chapter 15 Abram asks God about his and Sarai’s lack of children. Remember when God called him to leave his homeland He told Abram that He would make a great nation from his descendants. God reassured him that He would keep His promise. And verse 6 says, “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” “He believed God …” We know this was genuine faith because God “accounted it to him for righteousness.” He was saved by his faith just as we are.

So what happens next, after this great conversation with God? Continue reading