As part of the preparation for the process of The Incredible Journey to Me: Learning to Live in Health, I went through a thorough physical process to determine my ability to first, healthily lose weight, and second, what parts of my body could endure exercise. Of great importance was the health of my heart. Being on blood pressure medication was a concern and therefore I was given a few tests by the integrated medical clinic assisting me. With great thankfulness, it was determined my heart is healthy and could undergo exercise.
Equally important to the process of losing weight, for me, is the health of my emotional seat — my emotional heart and how my mind drives my emotions. If you have read my story you know negative emotions have driven me into very unhealthy mental challenges in the past. You ask, your emotions drive your mind, your mind drives your emotions, which is it?
Have you heard the saying: What you Think you Become
There is truth there. The Bible says it this way:
Philippians 4:8 The Message Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Why should we think on the lovely, the noble, the beautiful? Why is this so important? Because we were created by the Creator with ALL emotions. If what we think about is negative, if we are focusing on all the evil or all the bad in relationships, in business, in the world, or the economy, our emotions will be driven by these thoughts.
With repetitive negative thinking comes bitterness, depression, fear, anger, dissatisfaction, no fulfillment, disillusionment, paranoia, suicidal ideation, idolatry, and willful independence apart from God. From these thoughts the heart (the seat of the emotions and where God connects with us) is weakened. And it can even be a physical weakness as a result. (Another blog)
However, if we have the “mind of Christ”, that is, choose to think on (meditate on) whatever is lovely, pure, holy, innocent, beautiful and true, our emotions will be driven to follow suit. We will have joy, peace, contentment, hope, and be optimistic. From our emotions we act. If emotions are not “healthy” we re-act.
Now, we will always be able to appropriately connect with what people often term as negative emotions. They are not negative. It is how long and tightly we grasp them that causes the negative responses. So that if someone we love dies, we appropriately experience grief. If an injustice is observed, we can experience anger. If we are wronged, we can experience hurt.
These “feelings” in and of themselves are not wrong, they are NOT sin. Experiencing an emotion IS NOT SIN. Denying an emotion is sin. (another blog)
Sin may occur after the emotion, such as, cutting someone off in traffic after that person did something wrong to you. Sin is snapping at someone who has wronged you. Sin is taking anger inward and living in shame, sorrow and depression. Sin is inappropriately responding to hurts by self-medicating, self-harming.
Emotionally overeating is sin. Drunkennes is sin. Cutting is sin. Alcoholism is sin. Substance abuse (any substance, television, video games, food, pornography, sexual addiction, anything voracious and uncontrolled and unsubmitted to God) is sin.
This is why the Bible is clear that the mind is the threshold. Stopping anything that is not lovely, pure, noble, praise-worthy, etc. from coming into and staying in the mind is KEY. It ALL starts in the mind. It is where the enemy attacks. It can be a violent attack, yes, but more often it is very subtle and insidious.
There is good news. We can change how we think and we can learn how to be vigilant about what enters our minds, drives our emotions and ultimately produces our behavior.
More will come on this process. Heart health, again, is KEY.
The reference is actually Proverbs 4:23 rather than Psalms 4:23.