Dear People Who Keep Company With God,

Words are powerful. We can frame our world with words laced with doubt, cynicism and fear, or with words of faith (Heb. 11: 3). Eugene Peterson said it like this, “Words are not just saying something; they are making something.”

The words we speak, our understanding and beliefs have thoughts behind them (1 Cor. 13:11). Consequently how we choose to think will have major influence on nearly everything that happens in our life. Proverbs says, “As he [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).

The Hebrew word for think in this verse comes from two words. One means doorkeeper and the other means split open. The idea is that your thoughts are the doorkeeper of your heart. In other words, our thoughts decide what is allowed into our heart and what comes out of our heart.

For example almost everyone has experienced insecurity in his or her life. For many, though, it is an ongoing experience. Insecurity is based on a belief system made up of self-doubt thoughts. You feel and act insecure because your emotions and behavior is influenced by the belief that you lack something.

Every thought has an emotion associated with it. The next time you begin to feel insecure listen to your thoughts and the mood they create. I hear such things as “You don’t measure up,” “You are such a disappointment,” and so on. If we allow those types of thoughts free rein in our heart then we will become insecure. Life is an echo; you get back what you allow into it.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Who Switched Off My Brain says, “…bringing all thoughts into captivity to Christ Jesus” (2 Cor. 10:5) is the golden rule of safe thinking. She has a practical four-step process for bringing our thoughts into captivity to Christ Jesus that has proven very helpful to me.

1. Thoughts are real and have an actual anatomy. They have a structure in your brain and occupy space. Thoughts and memories look like trees. Toxic thoughts such as insecurity,  bitterness, etc. look like thorny trees.

2. Be consciously aware of your thoughts and how you are feeling. You should never let a thought or thoughts roam chaotically and unchecked through your mind. Examine every thought you have and ask yourself: is this good for me? Is it from God or the devil or my own confused thinking? Conscious awareness of your thinking should become like a habit. A habit takes twenty-one days to create. Today is the first day of that twenty-one…

3. Act once you have analyzed the thought. This means making a conscious decision to actively accept the thought (if it is good for you) or reject it (if it is bad for you). This means you use your God-given ability of free will to do something about the thought you are consciously aware of. Thoughts have as much control as we give them.

4. Building new memories over the old. This is the really exciting part in dealing with our thought life because accepting or rejecting the thought is changing the neural circuitry of your brain: your brain is growing while you think and you have control over the process. Step four happens when the brain steps in and creates a structural representation of what you have chosen to accept (adds more branches on the tree) and converts what you have chosen to reject into hot air!

Many Blessings, BW

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