Last week I said that everyday we make thousands of choices. Much of what we do comes from habitual behaviors. Most of our decisions are made by our unconscious. We gravitate towards familiarity; even though it may be unhealthy, it is comfortable. To take a different path becomes increasingly difficult unless a roadblock of some kind is put in the path to help us change direction.
It works this way: You have a thought. Your brain releases chemicals which can be emotionally toxic or not. An electrical transmission goes across your brain. Then you become aware of what you’re thinking. Thoughts stimulate emotions that result in an attitude which finally produces behavior.
The sum of all our thoughts comprises our overall attitude which we act out. Allowing our minds to dwell on envy, lust, greed, or revenge only leads to bad behavior. All negative or wrong behavior starts with that one thought. It goes like this:
1. One negative thought produces a one or a number of toxic feelings
2. Produces a toxic attitude and negative (or wrong) beliefs
3. Make a wrong or destructive decision
4. Results in wrong actions or destructive behavior
5. Ongoing negative behavior eventually wreaks havoc on our minds and bodies.
When we become aware of a negative thought, we have a choice: to let it go through or put up a road block. The answer: put up a road block. Where do we get this road block? The living Word of God. It’s the God tool we use to erect a road block.
Eugene Peterson, The Message, paraphrases 2 Corinthian 10:5-6, “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”
The NIV says, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” That means we interrogate it and toss it out, or let the thought through. When prisoners are taken captive, they are interrogated. When we take a thought captive, we do the same: “Why am I thinking this way?” “Why do I keep doing what I don’t want to do? Where is this thought this coming from?” We stop and ask God for information. Job did this (see book of Job). But Job also learned it was not okay to demand answers from God. Sometimes we don’t get an answer. We accept that and move forward. We ask God questions such as:
• How did I get here? What are my core values? Who influences me strongly?
• What is it about the way I am designed and my past experiences that attracts me to those influencers? How do I detach myself?
• Where do I place you on my priority list? My family? Myself?
• What do I need to do in life, with your help, to attain balance and happiness?
• What values or convictions have I discovered that are causing conflict in my life?
Continued next week!