It’s All in Your Head

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God has given us an amazing body.  In fact, we are created in His image (Genesis 1:27), perfect and complete.  However, when Adam and Eve sinned, sin entered the world and our body was made subject to evil.  That evil impacts our lives every day through sickness, temptation, sin, calamity, and wrong thinking.

Thankfully, Christ has redeemed us from the curse that came into the world (Galatians 3:13).  Praise God!  If we’ve made Jesus our Lord and Savior, we don’t have to live a life dominated by the result of the curse.  We can live victoriously over sin, sickness, and all the other evil things the devil may try to inflict on us.

Before we were saved, we had a spirit that was not alive to God (Ephesians 2:1).  We did not have God’s nature on the inside of us, and were bound by our fleshly lusts (Ephesians 4:20-22).  However, when we were born again, God put His perfect nature on the inside of us.  From that point on, we have to “put off” the old man that once dominated our lives.

That same “old man” likes to rise up and control our minds with negative, ugly thoughts.  Those thoughts may come in the form of lustful imaginations, anxiety, fear, hate, evil plots, frustrations with people, etc.  All of these ugly thoughts come from the author of that “old man,” the devil.  Because the devil hates all of God’s good creation, he will try to throw such “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16) at us on a regular basis.

Jesus also gave us His mind when we were born again.  Unfortunately, that carnal mind didn’t immediately disappear.  It can reappear at any time . . . if we will let it.  We are then faced with a choice.  Are we going to coddle those thoughts, thinking them over and over again?  Or are we going to snuff them out with our shield of faith, choosing God’s mind over the carnal mind?

For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  (I Corinthians 2:16)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (Romans 8:5-7)

The Science of It All

Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Christian neuroscientist, has done extensive research on how our brains – and our lives – are influenced by our thoughts.  She has discovered that our mind actually controls our brain, rather than our brain controls our mind, as most of us think.

Though the machines these scientists use do not read thoughts (also referred to as memory), they do read what the thoughts do to our brain.  Every time we have a thought, that thought shows up in our brain as an image of a tree with many branches.  The more we think, the more branches we create. Good thoughts create healthy “trees” that flourish in our brains.  However, bad, negative thoughts show up in the form of “briers,” filling up the brain space with negativity.

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Good, positive thoughts, especially those based on the Word of God, obviously are based on a choice to think like the mind of Christ.  These healthy thoughts are thoughts of joy, peace, generosity, love, mercy, etc.  On the other hand, toxic thoughts fall into the carnal mind category.  A carnal mind feasts on anger, resentment, frustration, bitterness, rejection, fear, and so on.

Like Proverbs 23:7 says, we are what we think.  Every time we think a thought, our bodies are impacted.  Doctors know that someone with a positive outlook is far more likely to recover from an illness than someone who has a negative view.  When we think negative, toxic thoughts, we are sending chemical signals to our bodies to bring harm.  It generally shows up in the form of sickness and disease.

Renewing Your Mind

All of us have had opportunities to submit ourselves to a carnal thought.  In fact, if we had the ability to look at a movie of every thought we had in life, I’m sure we’d find an embarrassing number of negative ones.  If a scientist were to take a look at our brains, we would probably see a mass of “briers” taking up our brain space.

According to Dr. Leaf, there is hope for us!  Scientists have also discovered that a toxic thought can be reversed within four days, changing the way our brain functions.  What was once inflamed and damaged with negativity can be restored to health – and our bodies and lives with it.

This can be backed up by God’s command for us to “renew” (renovate) our minds to His Word:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

and be renewed in the spirit of your mind . . . (Ephesians 4:23)

God knew what He was talking about when He gave us these instructions.  It wasn’t to control us or make our lives more difficult.  He knew that negative, ugly thoughts would not draw us closer to Him, nor would it benefit our lives and bodies.  It would, in fact, destroy us.

What to Think

The only way we can restore those “briers” to healthy “trees” is by thinking positive thoughts – God’s Word.  It first begins with a decision to “put off” the old man (Ephesians 4:22), “gird up” the loins of our minds (I Peter 1:13), and “bring every thought into captivity” to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3).  Each time we are tempted to meditate on a particular negative thought, we must decide to immediately replace it with a God-thought.

 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. (Philippians 4:6-8)

Following God’s guideline for our thought life does not include negativity!  If we compared each thought of our day to one of the thoughts listed above, would we find them lining up with His standard?  It takes work, but it is possible!

The result, of course, of applying God’s Word to our minds is only good.  It includes a peace that “surpasses all understanding” as a guard to our minds.  What follows is a peaceful lifestyle, a healthy body, and the ability to make wise and sound decisions.  The devil then has less of an opportunity to inflict the curse of the law on our lives as we consistently snuff out his fiery darts of negativity.  No room can be found for his carnal thoughts as the space in our brains is being filled with Christ-thoughts!

Love Him with Your Mind

Renewing our mind is not simply an act of self-preservation, however.  It has everything to do with living the life of a true disciple of Jesus. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our desire should be to obey and honor Him in every area of our lives.  It’s a decision to follow His lead and forsake the sinful, negative thoughts that would try to destroy and dishonor our relationship with Him.  Our greatest motivation for that obedience, of course, should be because we love Him.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” (Matthew 22:37)

Like the rest of our bodies, our minds were made to love Him . . . and not just part of them.  All of our minds were designed to function in such a way that would bring Him joy.  Every time we cast down a “toxic” imagination, we are showing our love for Him and His Word.  Each negative thought that is replaced with His thought is proof that loving Him is more important to us than hanging on to a mind contaminated with the lusts of our flesh.  Once again, we are saying with love, “Jesus, be the Lord of all of me.”

 

Further Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVBATU-yFoQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5VJ8UhP_lg

http://drleaf.com/

Hidden Things

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My husband is an electrician . . . which means he’s seen many places under many conditions. He’s been to private homes, commercial buildings, waste water plants, and business offices. He’s worked on things as simple ceiling fans and as complex as outdoor security cameras controlled by solar panels. Yes, I think he’s the best electrician out there! And, no, I don’t think I’m biased …

As an electrician, he has run across some interesting circumstances. I think my favorite (or not-so-favorite) story of his is the time he went to a local restaurant to fix an electric buffet that was on the blink. The restaurant, of course, was panicky because it was the busiest time of the day, and loads of food was cooling on top of the buffet. Undaunted, Michael dutifully started to move the buffet on wheels. What he discovered underneath would have ruined my appetite within seconds. Are you ready? What he found were … mice. Oh, no, not just any kind of mice. He found dead mice . . . but not just dead mice. These mice were hallowed out because they’d been decaying there so long!

The craziest detail about this tale is that people continued to visit the buffet while Michael worked, undisturbed by the sight of mice skeletons littering the floor. Obviously such filth didn’t hamper their appetite. They had come for food, and food they would get!

Logically, I would have thought that the restaurant would have discovered them long ago due to the stench! It’s hard to believe that something like dead mice could go so undetected by even the cleaning crew. Those mice had been there for probably months, generously adding to the aromas coming from the kitchen. Apparently someone had a glitch in their sense of smell . . . or someone just chose to walk away and ignore it.

This reminds me of a verse in Mark 4:21, 22:

“Also He said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lamp stand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.’”

Michael’s electrical skills sure brought something to light that day! What had been safely hidden from view had been revealed in just moments. It was all in plain sight for even the most curious of customers to see. The proof of invaders was undeniable. This restaurant had issues!

This is also what happens in our walk with God. No matter what is going on in our lives or in our minds, God sees it all. Not one thing can be hidden from Him. We can try our best to cover our tracks, put up a façade, or skulk behind a mask, but it will never be enough to hide form God’s all-knowing, all-seeing gaze.

“For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:12-13

It’s exciting to know God sees everything about us when we have a need. If we’re sick or in trouble, we can have confidence that He sees and cares. If we’re grieving over a loss, it’s comforting to know that He sees our hearts and is moved with compassion. We are not alone in our silent little world. We can trust His ever-seeing eye to see things we never knew existed, and deliver us from hardship that would have otherwise defeated us.

However, many times we have secrets we’d like to keep under wraps. Maybe we did something wrong and don’t want anyone to know about it. Maybe, behind our veil of strength, we hold a weakness that we’d like to keep hidden away lest someone think badly of us. Whatever the “mouse” we may be trying to hide, God already knows all about it.

Unlike the restaurant owners, God doesn’t wait to deal with our “mice” until they’re rotting. His Word, His “Sword,” goes to work the moment a temptation come our way. He will immediately reveal to us where we need to set a mouse trap, and how to dispose of its contents. He cares about our well-being too much to leave us struggling with an uncontrolled mouse in our house. He knows it will only lead to our demise. Left unidentified and unchecked, it will only grow and grow until its stench fills the room. Before long our lives are contaminated, and our secret has turned into more than we can handle.

Our responsibility through all this is to listen closely so we don’t miss an opportunity to deal with our “dead mice.” We must keep our eyes and ears alert to what God is trying to tell us. Not one moment should we ignore that sinful thought, or inclination to harbor a grudge. No compromising habit should be allowed to linger in our “restaurant,” no matter how it may tempt us. If God’s voice is our focus, a counterfeit “mice” won’t stand a chance against the purity of His Word. We will be too caught up in its sharp truth that everything else seems distasteful and gross.

The beauty of God’s nature and Word is that it was never meant to bring condemnation (Romans 8:1). God will never use it to make us feel like a jerk because we let in the mouse in the first place. His Word is present to bring direction, correction, and purpose – all with the intent of making us stronger. When we could have ended up in a rat’s nest, His Word will take us to His throne room. There we’re exempt of sinful contamination, and surrounded with life and health only His Word can bring (Hebrews 4).

I hope that restaurant communicated with its cleaning staff about a more perfected cleaning routine. Even better, I pray they sealed up any holes that would allow the mice to enter in the first place. Regardless, I think the place has lost at least one customer – namely, me. Somehow, sharing the air with dead mice just doesn’t suit my idea of a pleasant eating experience. If I have a race to run, I’d prefer it be to gobble up my food because I like it so much, rather than racing to the bathroom because I couldn’t hold it down!

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Beauty Pages

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Hello, ladies!  I am excited to announce an ongoing project that I finally completed!  This is a subject near and dear to my heart as it is so abused in our culture.  I have created several pages under the “Royal Beauty” tab above that addresses Godly, internal beauty versus worldy, external beauty.  It’s one of the lies and insecurities the devil tries to use in order to hinder us from becoming what God always intended for us to become.  It’s time to throw off some flawed thinking, and begin to think like Jesus!  You’re beautiful because God says so!

Here is an overview of the pages.  Please take a look!

The Beauty Lie – I review fashion and beauty trends over the centuries, including historical facts and enlightening videos.

Beauty Music – This page includes inspiring music videos that address what true beauty really means.  Some of my faves!

The Image of Beauty – I discuss God’s point of view on beauty, and why any other opinion is so flawed.

You’re Beautiful Song – These are song lyrics by yours truly, originally written as a wedding present to my roommate and best friend, Lara Hill!

The Beauty Detox – We all get bogged down by our culture and need our mind renewed.  This page lists some practical steps to overcoming the negative thoughts and lies that have caused frustrations for so long.

Beauty from the Inside Out – We may feel confident in our personal, unique outward beauty, but what characterizes God’s definition?  Find out on this page!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and if it has helped you in any way!