Thoughts Matter

In the bible it tells us to bring every thought into captivity.  What does that mean?  Jesus also said our actions, good and evil are preceded by thoughts.  I always thought this meant don’t plan evil things, don’t plot revenge, and the like.

Later on in my life I learned thoughts mean a whole lot more.  How we reflect on the realities of our lives, the “spin”, so to speak, that we put on things that happen, the meaning we attach to things that are said or done, make a difference in us.  Our thoughts create our emotions.  If we think we are being attacked in some way we feel emotions of fear and/or anger.  If we think we are doing well we feel emotions of peace.  If we have pleasant encounters we feel emotions of love and happiness.  And so on.

Emotions have an effect on us.  Emotions, particularly strong ones, change our biochemistry.  We know fear and anger raise our level of stress hormones affecting our blood pressure and our hearts.  Grief and loss lower our immune system response.  But longer term emotions, buried emotions and the like apparently do things to our chemistry too.  Whole new fields of study are emerging in medicine involving the mind-body connection. Clearly, thoughts have consequences.

How can I change my thoughts?  They seem to come in without invitation, and they romp and play in my mind on their own.   I have to learn to be aware of what I am thinking.  If I, as a follower of Jesus, want to make love my greatest aim, then I must re-frame my thoughts to be loving towards people, and full of faith, trust and thanksgiving toward God.  This is something I can do in prayer as I examine what I have been thinking, and intentionally renew my thoughts.

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