Tag Archives: controlling our thoughts

(Luke 21) Mind-Numbing

Jesus, talking about what was and is to come, said something that has me thinking. Verse 34 says:

Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap.

I get the carousing and drunkenness. Alcohol dulls the senses, muddles the brain. Someone in that state is physically unable to focus because of the drug in his system. But why would Jesus put worry in the same mind-numbing category?

Do you think our society is plagued with worry? It seems people worry about COVID, whether or not someone is vaccinated, racial issues, the economy, the very future of our society. There are still people who refuse to leave their homes because of worry.

Some of the things people worry about are real, others are imagined or exaggerated. But Jesus doesn’t make that distinction here, does He? It appears He believes any worry is as mind-numbing as alcohol.

Sitting here and going over this in my mind, I am beginning to see the implication here. If we worry, we’re not thinking clearly. If we worry, it’s hard to focus on anything else. If we worry, our minds are on ourselves and our situation. And if that’s true – our minds cannot be on God.

Now here’s where I see worry like drunkenness. One drink or one moment of worry can be controlled. We put the bottle down, or we change our thinking. The second drink makes it harder to resist a third. A second moment of worry makes it harder not to continue to worry. And when drunkenness or worry overtakes us, our minds are numb to the things of God.

Verse 36:

But be alert at all times, praying…

You can’t be alert with alcohol in your system. I get that. What stands out to me today is the idea that worry has the same effect.

God has a lot to say about worry in His Word. If you are one who struggles, let me suggest that you get out a concordance, or Google “Bible verses about worry,” and let God encourage you.

Be alert. And pray.

Philippians; If You Think It, You Can Be It

There are some motivational speakers and authors who preach the power of our thoughts. “If you think it, you can be it.”

Now, I’m not discounting the fact that our thoughts have a lot to do with how we feel, and our feelings contribute to what we do. Typically, thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions. So imagining myself CEO of the company might help me to feel confident, which will give me the courage to take on those hard projects that will get noticed by those in charge. Even the Bible tells us how important is our thought-life.

This time of year, when so much focus in put on family and friendships, can be hard for some people. The loss of a loved one still feels like a knife to the heart. The empty chair, whether through death, or anger, or neglect, seems the focal point of the whole house. Every Hallmark movie, every Christmas song on the radio, every card that comes (or doesn’t come) in the mail reminds us of what is wrong.

And we get sadder, or angrier, or lonelier than we were the day before. We remember the harsh words said in our last conversation. We replay happier times, and tell ourselves we will never be that happy again. Our thoughts can swallow us whole.

But here’s some good news. Paul tells us God offers peace. Not just in good times. Paul simply says, “And the God of peace WILL BE WITH YOU.” (4:9, emphasis mine)

How? How can I find peace when my heart is broken, when anger or regret or hurt feelings occupy 90% of my day? The answer is here in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He says think instead on these things:

“…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.” (4:8)

Do you want peace in your heart and life? Then think about what is true. Not just about your situation, although that is certainly important. Think about what is true about God. Turn your thoughts away from yourself, and toward Him.

Think about what is noble and right. Take the high road. You might be the one who needs to swallow your pride, to reach out to that one with whom you are estranged. It’s Jesus’ example that we show love to those who are not loving toward us. It’s the right thing to do.

Think about what is pure, lovely, and admirable. Don’t let your thoughts sink to the gutter. Don’t wish someone ill. Don’t keep reminding yourself how unfair you think they’ve been. Get rid of anger, selfish ambition, jealousy, evil.

Think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Has God blessed you? Then think about that. Talk to Him about how thankful you are for what He has given you, without mentioning what you think He should give you. Praise Him for who He is to you.

Scripture tells us if we get a handle on our thoughts, the God of peace will be with us.

If you’re okay with feeling depressed, lonely, or angry this Christmas, then don’t change anything. But if you want to experience God’s peace, I’ll go so far as to promise His joy, then change your thoughts.

When Satan would nudge you with negativity, turn it into praise. Think instead on that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy…” think about those things instead.

If you want God’s peace, you can have it. Think about it.