I heard a pastor describe a study that measured the impact of what people put into their minds. The subjects listened to a five minute radio broadcast that contained four negative pieces. They found that the subjects were:
1. More depressed 2. Believed the world was a negative place, and 3. Believed that negatives things would happen to them.
Our thoughts are extraordinarily powerful. So powerful that when distorted and led by our flesh, they rob us of joy. Every thought we have sends electrical signals though our brain. They have significant influence over every cell in your body. When your mind is burdened with many negative thoughts, it affects the deep limbic system of the brain and causes problems such as irritability, moodiness, depression, etc.
Now imagine what watching hours of television, facebook, and other media is doing to our minds. By the time a kid is five, he or she has already logged thousands of hours of television watching. The average teenager spends nearly four hours a day watching TV, while the average Christian in this country spends ten minutes a day with God. Studies consistently indicate the negative impact TV has on children’s behavior, correlating it with brain problems.
Why do you think that pharmaceutical companies and Super Bowl advertisers spend millions and billions of dollars on 30 second commercials? We are influenced by their messages! Whatever message is put into our mind has a high potential to influence us to go out and buy the product. It is no secret that advertisers frequently use psychological pressure, such as appealing to feelings of inadequacy or love, which may be harmful.
Advertisements are intended to exploit the desires of a consumer by making a particular product more appealing, and by manipulating the consumer’s needs and wants.
We are what we think. Our thoughts become attitudes; our attitudes spawn actions; our actions braid themselves into habits; and our habits determine our destiny. What are you are feeding your mind with? Listen to what Paul said:
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6, NLT)
None of us want to be controlled by our fleshly, sinful nature. Usually the assumption is that by exerting willpower and trying hard in our own strength, we can stop negative behavior. I used to think I could stop my obsessive behaviors with mere willpower, but was wrong. Willpower can produce short-term change, but it also creates constant internal stress because the root cause hasn’t been dealt with. And when you do fall, those nasty feelings of shame rise back to the surface again. The change doesn’t feel natural, so eventually you give up and quickly revert back to old patterns. For many people, the behavior is driven by deeper emotional factors such as, overwhelming helplessness, failure, rejection, anger, depression, abandonment, criticism, anxiety, or even boredom.
Some people do explore their emotions and perhaps discover that they binge eat when they are lonely or have had a stressful day at the office. Yet, they have not asked the key question, “What do I believe?” “What is the source—the thoughts—behind my actions?”
╪ It has been documented over the ages that those who set their minds on Christ, and meditate and memorize Scripture, their minds change. Mind change equals life change. When the Holy Spirit and the Bible take over our mind, there is an explosion of power, called mind renewal. And God has designed it so that our whole being is strengthened.