“For the Holy Spirit knows that a thing has only such meaning and value for a man as he assigns to it in his thoughts.” – Martin Luther
Every thought (positive or negative) leads to an action (behavior). No act is done without first having a thought. Our first example of this concept is found in Genesis 1. We find that God created the heavens and the earth, but it had no form. We can conclude that as God’s Spirit hovered over the surface, He was thinking about His master plan. Then He spoke, “Let there be light,” which resulted in action – “and there was light.”
Here, God is showing us that He doesn’t just do things, but He thinks about them. He plans them out. He doesn’t just react out of nowhere. Have you ever considered how your thoughts are impacting what you do or how you feel? It all starts in your mind. Thoughts impact your life; they affect your attitudes, your fears and worries, how you speak to others and yourself, your outlook of life, how you behave with others, and how you feel.
How you PERCEIVE the words and actions of others will determine your response. What you THINK about a situation or someone will influence how you FEEL. When I use the word perceive, I want you to imagine yourself wearing a pair of glasses. Now, every time you hear or see something, that information enters through your glasses and filters through your brain… you begin thinking about the situation and come up with an interpretation as well as a feeling. This occurs unconsciously and instantly. The problem occurs when our glasses get dirty and we misinterpret the situation, which then leads to yucky feelings. Here’s an example of the process:
- Situation: After a long day at work, where you helped your office move boxes and equipment, you arrive home to find muddy footprints (your son’s and his dog’s) on your cream colored carpet.
- Thoughts: I’ve told him a thousand times not to let the dog in the house. My kids don’t obey me. I must be a terrible mother. If I can’t get this right, I must be a failure. I can’t do this any longer.
- Feelings: Sadness, hopelessness, anger, etc.
- Actions/Behaviors: Screaming, raising voice, crying or withdrawing.
So, if we begin with a negative thought, we will end up with unhelpful behaviors and feelings. We’ll discuss more on how to begin changing the thoughts and taking them captive, but for now, review these two important truths found in God’s word:
- My THOUGHTS impact my BEHAVIORS and FEELINGS
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)
- I am RESPONSIBLE for my thoughts – I am in CHARGE of my thoughts
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
Remember, it’s about your view (lens). Let’s take responsibility for one’s thoughts, feelings and actions! Click here for worksheet (The Link Between Thoughts and Feelings)
Rest in His Word: Romans 8:5
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (NIV)
- What have you been thinking about?
- Have you noticed how your thoughts impact your feelings? If not, notice that this week. Log your thoughts and the accompanying feelings.
- Bring your thoughts to God and share them. Ask Him to begin renewing your mind.
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