I believe that our thoughts are closely tied to our outward circumstances and physical health. It is obvious that negative emotions greatly affect one’s countenance, demeanor and physical health. A person who has gone through trauma and prolonged stress of any kind can tell you that they themselves have experienced such. The medical community has countless names for anxiety disorders, stress induced illness and trauma induced conditions.
Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, cried, “My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.” (Psalm 31:10)
Anguish, groaning, grief, bitterness, unforgiveness anger, guilt and so forth are examples of negative emotions that we humans were never designed to carry within us. Stress, anxiety, unresolved anger and bitterness can lead to serious illness if not managed properly and biblically.
We have heard the old adage many times, “You are what you eat.” Here in the bible, in Proverbs 23:7, we are told that you are what you THINK. Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Who Switched Off My Brain? Clearly shows the direct connection between our thought life and what we live out in life, as well as how healthy or unhealthy we are. In her book, she talks about the importance of learning how to, with God’s help, to control our thought life and thus control our mouths and our actions, and ultimately eliminate destructive emotions that could affect our health.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
By learning to replace negative thought patterns with biblical thought patterns we are transformed. As God’s dearly beloved, we are supposed to be filled with His Light and His Thoughts which are pure, good and right. However, for the Christian, this does not come from attending various workshops, counseling sessions, and anger management courses. While all of these may be helpful in varying degrees, our real strength and victory comes from the Lord and His Word.
First, in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
So many times, instead of simply coming to Him when we are burdened, hurt, or weary, we continue to carry the load we were never meant to bear. Jesus is more than able and more than qualified by the work He did on the cross and the victory of rising again to handle our burdens and can be fully trusted for the task.
Most Christians know and agree with that verse that Jesus is our Burden-Bearer, but receiving Him as our Burden-Bearer day to day isn’t always so simple. Thank the Lord for including a passage in His Word for daily stress management:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Learning to respond to stress and negative emotions like bitterness with prayer and petition with thanksgiving opens the door for the peace of God to wash over our minds and hearts to guard and protect us.
Continuing onto verse 8 in the above scripture takes us one step further, instructing us to replace that worry, anxiety, fear, anger, etc… with good thoughts, high thoughts, Christ-like thoughts:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things”
Imagine going through an entire day without meditation on negative, destructive thoughts. Without rehearsing that last argument you had with someone, or hearing self-condemning thoughts of guilt and criticism. Imagine having such peace that daily stress is handled quickly and simply by prayer and trust and thanksgiving. Imagine the strength and energy and vitality you and I would have if only we would handle life’s issues the way the bible tells us to.
If our negative thoughts and beliefs can affect our health so destructively- and this is confirmed by science, it causes me to wonder what excellent and praiseworthy thoughts can do for my health- Thoughts of happiness, purity, joy, victory, healing and love!
I am confident that God’s Word has the power He claims it has, aren’t you? Let’s purpose in our hearts, and minds, to align our thinking patterns to what He says.
Father, I give my thought life to You. I surrender negativity, cast it down, refuse to think on bad reports and I store up Your Word in my heart so that my mind is stayed on what is lovely, true and of good report. I thank you for helping me with this, in Jesus Name, amen!