The Freedom of Non-Toxic thoughts
Recently, I was reading a very interesting book called “Who Switched Off My Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf. According to Dr. Leaf, we have approximately 30,000 thoughts a day, but the human brain does not have the capacity to filter them. In other words, whether the thought we have is toxic or healthy, if our will does not filter that thought (as false or true), it gets stored as truth.
From this book I also learned that if a person has a toxic thought, they have 29 seconds to filter that thought before the brain secretes a toxin. So God literally builds into the human body a penalty for bad thinking!
As a pastor, I see this toxic thinking played out in my office as I listen to people share thoughts about themselves, God, and others. The question I ask is, “Do you really believe that? “or “Where did that thought come from?”
It is amazing to me how bad our thinking can be, and the price we pay when that thinking goes horribly wrong. When I was a young Christ-follower, my youth pastor helped me to understand a very simple biblical truth: my thinking determines my behavior, which form my habits, and finally create my destiny.
For those of us who were raised in dysfunctional or abusive homes, we understand the price of such abuse. I remember, very vividly, comments my father and mother would make about me and the way it made me feel.
Habits formed out of that bad thinking. I exaggerated my achievements, lied about failures, pleased others to a fault and hurt myself and others. In my adulthood, I had to go back a contend against the messages I had heard and re-boot my thinking in order to change my behavior. It took years, but it was well worth the effort. Whether you grew up in a dysfunctional home, or you’re around toxic people, or you drift toward unhealthy thoughts – we all have to filter what our minds camp on.
It is no wonder that the Bible has so much to say about healthy thinking!
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8) he writes: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think upon these things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
In his second letter to the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 10:5) Paul again says: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.”
In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae (Colossians 3:1), he reiterates: “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think upon the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
These verses and others we see scattered throughout the Bible enforce this need for us to vigorously embrace truth, for as Jesus said in John 8:31, “And you will know my truth, and the truth will set you free.”
To truly live in freedom is not just about accepting Jesus Christ – it is about embracing the truth He proclaims. It is a vigilant effort to pursue truth, embrace truth, and live out the truth – in our hearts and minds, even where no one can see but us and God.
Q. How healthy are your thoughts about yourself, about others, about your God? What price have you paid for bad thinking?
Q. What would be the benefit if your thoughts were healthy and in line with the Word of God?