Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 002 Protecting Our Thoughts
Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #002 – Protecting our Thoughts
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed and thrilled to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
On a previous episode of the Live with Eternal Perspective Podcast, I talked about the condition of our hearts. If you didn’t get a chance to hear it, I recommend listening to Episode #001 soon. Today’s topic stems directly from what we hold in our heart. What goes into our hearts has flowed from our mind before settling there.
The thoughts we allow to speak to us ultimately shape who and what we become.
What we think is that important.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
God places the perfect truth and guidance we need in this world in His word.
Our Heavenly Father knows our propensity to fixate on various ideas and images. He understands our thought process can go from topic to topic quickly, escalating from indecision or fear to anxiety and doubt without a shred of truth involved.
Think of the verse I read from Philippians. We are instructed to fix our thoughts on what is true. Just because we think something doesn’t mean it is authenticated or valid.
The verse also tells us to think about what is honorable and right, what is lovely and admirable. That doesn’t mean to obsess over those expensive heels or lovely blouse we saw at the mall. It doesn’t mean to constantly compare ourselves to someone more attractive or to attempt to model ourselves after a celebrity on the cover of the latest magazine, or to beat ourselves up over what we did earlier that day.
God wants the absolute best for His children. He desires us to fill our minds with what is excellent and worthy of praise.
Listen to another translation of the same verse I read earlier from Philippians. “Finally, bretheren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
The Greek word translated as “meditate” means to ponder, to consider, to give proper weight to. God does not want us to ruminate on anything but the pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy. “Good report” translated from the Greek word means acceptable. God wants what we ponder in our mind to be considered acceptable to Him.
Scientists are actually finding more discoveries that confirm scripture. The more intensely God’s word is studied; we find that it stands the test of time, as well as substantiate breakthroughs in medicine, mathematics, and science. Actually, all areas of our life are touched by and affirmed by scripture. The God of the Universe who inspired and created the Bible is the same Creator of the world and everything in it, and He tells us we are made in His image, so it is no wonder that we would be able to connect all things to our mind in miraculous ways.
That is why it is absolutely not a surprise to me that neurosurgeons have discovered that our powerful minds are shaped and altered by the thoughts we allow to reside there.
Unfortunately, it has created a mass of self-help experts who offer life-affirming chants and quotes that never access the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but promote living our best life by self-reliance.
It’s also not uncommon to hear stories of people spiraling into poor health when they live with constant negative thoughts and emotions.
Research in the field of neuroscience has uncovered that the influence of every corporal experience within our brain, such as fear, fatigue, happiness, cold, sadness, etc. is working to shape our brains every time we have it. With each sensation, vision, or emotion we experience for the first time, new relationships between more than 100,000 brain cells is supposedly inevitable.
Think of the pornography epidemic and how addictive and damaging it is, even when someone accidentally uncovers it on an electronic device. The image is already embedded in their mind, creating harmful and distracting emotions and feelings immediately.
Thankfully, this brain pathway phenomenon must have focused and consistent reinforcement. I believe that is one reason God calls us to meditate on what pleases Him. He knows our beautifully created minds need repetitive stimulus. This is a merciful safeguard when our minds have been traumatized or allowed to be filled with the wrong things. Even then, damage takes time and effort to rewire.
Romans 12:2 instructs, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
We don’t want our minds deceived by misleading and false messages that attract us with advertisements, shows, books, magazines, electronics, and even some church pulpits. We must know God’s word, digesting it as we converse and spend time with Him, pray to Him, and then listen for His sometimes quiet voice. We need to purposely remove ourselves from distractions that battle for our time and draw us away from the only One who can give peace and joy to our spirit and calm us with truth. We must use our mind like a tool to excavate poisonous thoughts and replace them with the fresh soil of God’s truths.
When we brought our younger daughter home at the age of 9, she had lived in relative isolation due to her illness. She didn’t receive the communication or stimulation she needed to properly develop emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually. On top of her heart condition, she had lived with constant ear infections since infancy. When we received her, both eardrums were broken and her ears bled on the plane flight home. Since the infection had festered so long, her already congenitally small bones and nerves were further damaged and dissolved. She is deaf in one ear and suffered almost complete hearing loss in the other.
After arriving in America, she had to transition from the way of life she knew in China, to absolutely everything different. Learning a new language, how to live with our family, the foods, the smells, the clothes, learning how to play, countless medical visits, procedures, and surgeries…everything – on top of not hearing correctly, had to be excruciatingly difficult. Yet, little by little, she accepted each challenge with bravery and resilience. After being home with us for four years, she has come incredibly far. It will still take her a very long time to catch up, but she is learning and progressing at her individual pace and she is delighted to learn and grow.
I relate her story here, because I think of her when I consider the mind. With all her brain pathways that have been rebuilt and altered, I have seen first-hand how remarkable the human mind is and yet, how difficult it is to imprint lasting change in some areas. I’ve also witnessed the damage that a traumatic past inflicted on an innocent life. Through God’s merciful love, she has seen huge progress, but there are days that show me just how important her positivity and my repetitive teachings are, despite her intelligent mind.
I have no doubt that if my daughter had been negative or had not wanted to learn and grow, the challenge would have been overwhelming. I thank God often for her positive attitude and energy.
2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” He proved that promise to me through Brooklyn’s enduring and joyful spirit and her continuing transformation. The most beautiful part of her story is that she now knows Jesus as her Savior and she relies on Him more and more as she grows her spiritual maturity.
As she grows, it is my responsibility to safeguard her mind by protecting what she sees and what she learns to hold in her heart. I want her far from false thoughts or ideas that are counter to scripture. I want her well-acquainted with the freedom God wants for her and that Jesus extends to her through His death and resurrection because God wants us, His believers to model freedom to our children and grandchildren to secure it for future generations.
Exodus 34:6b-7 says, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
If our thoughts, which affect our attitude and actions control our personal lives, then they surely penetrate the mind, attitude, actions, and future of our children and others around us. God word validates what common sense dictates.
If we do not live with peace and joy, intentionally surrendering fear, negativity, anxiety, and the host of numerous dispositions and attitudes we carry to Christ in complete surrender, do we really expect our children to?
2 Corinthian 10:5, offers sound advice. “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 for Christ.”
Only when we take our thoughts captive and surrender them to God does change occur.
Be still and know that He is God. Take time to meditate and reflect on Him and His word as He instructs. At times we may feel we are losing freedom by surrendering our precious time to Him, but as we purposely devote ourselves to growing in God and loving Him as He desires, we find that it is only through surrender that we are released from bondage. Allow Him to change behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, and desires.
As I raise and train my daughters to hold their thoughts captive and guard their heart, I am attempting to model and teach the following steps:
1. Acknowledge thoughts – We are human. God allowed us the capacity to think and feel with an enormous capacity. We are all unique. Our experiences and histories, the way we are raised, the joys and traumas we experience in life all affect us. We must not sweep away what we think or feel. Allow time to process, but not linger in our feelings.
2. Hold our thoughts against God’s truths - Does what we feel stand true to what God’s word says? Are our emotions in alignment with God’s truth?
3. If they are not in alignment, acknowledge God’s truth – immerse our mind in the truths of God. Read, study and reflect on scripture. Consult Godly counsel, if needed. Pray and meditate.
4. Speak God’s truths – Just as we all learn differently, we each absorb God’s word and truths in unique ways.
5. Write God’s word – scripture writing can reach us consciously and subconsciously and become embedded in our mind, especially if we are very visual.
6. Memorize God’s word – As we write God’s word, it helps with memorization. When negative or contrary thoughts invade our mind, God’s word easily overcomes them.
7. Pray – Prayer, especially using God’s word is especially effective in combating negative thoughts or attitudes. Using God’s own words actually aligns us automatically with Him. What is the best part of relying on scripture?
Hebrews 4:12 gives us the answer. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Without God in control, our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and actions that stem from them hold us hostage, driving depression, negativity, fear, loneliness, and isolation, and effectively driving a wedge between us and our Heavenly Father.
Psalm 139:23-24 gives perfect instructions for the ending of this podcast. “Search me, 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.”
Thank you so much for listening to the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. God has impressed so much on my heart to share. Living with an eternal perspective affects absolutely everything in my life. I am thrilled to delve into different areas with you. Since everything affects our eternity, we will have a lot to discuss! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you found value in this podcast, please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. I also encourage you to leave a review. In order for others to be able to find this podcast, I will need the support of listeners who will invest a few minutes in subscribing and reviewing to lift Live With Eternal Perspective higher on the charts so that the platform shows it to everyone.
Thank you again for sharing part of your day with me. Until next time, keep looking Upward and finding new ways to live with an Eternal Perspective.