Living Well – body, MIND & Soul

Diet and exercise are not just important for our bodies, but also for our minds.

1. Diet

We’re quite good, particularly at this time of year, at thinking about the diet of our bodies, and we’re generally happy to try all sorts of different ideas and approaches to help us improve our physical health and retain, or return, to our ideal weight. However, we’re not always so good at paying attention to our minds diet;

What are you feeding your mind upon? What is the dominant diet of your thought life?

Each of us will have anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 thoughts each day, all of which are influenced is some way by all that’s going on around us. But how intentional are we in ensuring that we are cultivating a God honouring, healthy thought life, how much attention are we paying on a daily basis to the state of our minds.

1 Peter 2:1-3 says; ’So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretence, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.’(The Message)

We have to be proactive in removing the bad stuff, but also in pursuing and filling ourselves up with the good. Remove and replace.

How do we remove?

A. We need to cast out the unhealthy, ungodly thoughts.

Take control of your thought life – you are not a victim. You don’t have to dwell on those negative, ungodly thoughts.

2 Cor 10 v 5bNIV.‘…. take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’

You can’t always prevent the thoughts that will invade your mind, but you can grab that thought and make it obedient to Jesus. You can take hold of it, by the power of His Spirit, and destroy it’s influence.

What if you have an anxious thought that invades your mind, which you know is going to be crippling and destructive to you, so you concentrate on it, you give it the attention it demands, and you try and out think it away, or over think it away. You talk about it, and think about it, and turn it over and over in your mind to try and figure out how to deal with it and get rid of it. Does it work? Of course it doesn’t?

The more thought and attention you give it, the bigger that anxious thought becomes, the bigger that problem appears, the greater that fear will seem. If you give it oxygen it will breathe and grow. Use your energy to exalt God in your mind, not the problem or anxious thought.

Now of course to do that effectively you’ve got to be in the word, you’ve got to know what God has said and be able to declare it in your mind, and we’ll come to that in a moment.

So we need to cast out unhealthy, ungodly thoughts.

B. We need to repent of our sinful thoughts.

Taking every thought captive is a prevention tool, it’s putting a guard over our mind, to stop the rubbish getting in. Repentance is a cleansing tool. It is acknowledging that rubbish has got in and we want it removed.

The psalmist says, ‘Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ Psalm 139 v 23-24

The psalmist is saying ‘Lord, reveal the offensive rubbish in my life, purify me and lead me away from the rubbish dump to pursue your way of everlasting joy.’

So a healthy diet for our mind involves the removal of junk.

But then we also need to fill our minds with the good stuff.

There is a story told of a grandfather who was sitting with his grandsons and telling them stories and musing about life as grandfathers do. He explains to his grandsons that there exists a battle in everyone’s life between two wolves. One wolf is unhappiness; represented by fear, worry, anger, jealousy, self-pity, resentment, inferiority. The other wolf is happiness; things like joy. love, hope, serenity, kindness, goodness, truth and compassion. After a few brief moments of thinking, one of the grandsons asks ‘So grandad, which wolf wins?’ And the grandfather answers very simply by saying, ‘The wolf that wins, is the wolf that you feed.’

Such a simple truth, but yet we so often fail to recognise this in the context of our own lives, and our own minds. The wolf that you feed will be the wolf that wins the battle in your mind and so determines the state of your life. We have to feed our minds with good things. As we clean out the rubbish from our minds, we have to fill it up with fragrant, godly stuff.

What does Paul say, Philippians 4:8‘Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.’(NIVUK)

This is the way to a healthy mind. We need to think about that which is good and godly, lovely and praiseworthy, positive and pure.

How can we make sure we get that stuff in?

2. Exercise

What activity is your mind regularly engaged in?

A healthy mind will require us to be actively receiving life-giving words.

Firstly; Prioritise the Word of God.

The Bible is the greatest source of life giving wisdom and encouragement that we have available. This Bible contains the very words of God for our good and godliness. If you want to fill your mind with good stuff, then get into the word, read it, listen to it, meditate upon it, memorise it, chew on it, enjoy it, hear it and do what it says. Fill your mind with life-giving words from God.

Secondly; Surround yourself with encouragement.

Seek out people who speak life-giving words over you and to you and in your hearing, and then also be the person who speaks positive, life-giving words to others.

Should the church not be a place like this? A place where we are surrounded by encouragers and where we are built up by one another?

Ask yourself: Am I someone who speaks encouragement and life over others? What am I contributing to the atmosphere of the church? Am I speaking the best and believing the best about others?

If we each take our responsibility seriously, then the church will increasingly become a place where the overwhelming and dominant atmosphere is a positive, life giving, life affirming, encouraging one. That’s the goal. Play your part.

Do you want to live well and love well in your mind this year? Then take control of your thought life, cast out the junk, repent of any wrong thoughts that have taken root in your life, be proactive in filling up with good stuff, prioritise Scripture and seek out and speak out healthy, positive, life-giving words.

Post by: Martin Coleman