Have you ever been fearful? One night, my daughter and I were talking about being afraid of things, including walking outside at night. It was 9 o’clock at night. It was very dark outside. And we wondered what was out in the front yard. And we dared each other to walk outside all the way down the front path to the driveway in complete darkness. Scary! We realized that there was actually nothing to be afraid of, and that fear simply existed in our minds. It didn’t really exist, unless we thought it did.
Let’s learn about fear and eliminating it by controlling our thoughts. Check out 2 Corinthians 10:5, where there are clear directions for our thoughts.
II Corinthians 10:5: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Well, what does that verse mean? “Casting down imaginations” means that we are to cast down, or demolish, imaginary thoughts or imaginations. Imaginations are things that actually do not exist. Right? Just like the scary things lurking in the dark that my daughter and I were imagining. We are to eliminate those thoughts, particularly when they are “against the knowledge of God” or contrary to God’s Word. We should not allow our thoughts to become subordinate to imaginary things, like fear. We are to "bring into captivity every thought." We are to hold and protect our thoughts. Control them. Get control of your thoughts! Hold them captive. And we can do this one thought at a time. If a thought does not agree with God’s Word, then we change that thought. And if our thoughts are fearful, those thoughts do not agree with the Word.
II Timothy 1:7 says that God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Changing the TV Channel
Changing our thinking can be as simple as changing the channel on our TV. We’ve all sat down to watch a TV show or movie only to find the content is not to our liking. Do we suffer through it? Of course not! We click and change the channel.
When it comes to our thoughts, might we be able to change the channel just as easily? Yes. We can decide to change our mind whenever we find ourselves thinking in a way that makes us fearful. And to what channel do we turn our thoughts? Do we change it to the “empty” channel, where there’s nothing on but static and emptiness? No. I prefer not to. Instead, we can change it to the channel where positive, practical truths are being broadcast. With the spiritual truth in our hearts, we can eliminate fear by “bringing into captivity every thought” and lining them up with the truths contained within God’s Word.
Here are two tips to help us with this process of changing our minds and lining them up with spiritual truths:
The Buddha said that the mind is everything, and what we think, we become. That's accurate. If we think about fear, we become fearful. In order for us to change our thinking from fearful thoughts to the powerful, sound truths of God’s Word, we need to first get those truths into our minds and hearts.
Truth does not come to me by osmosis. I require reading, studying, meditating, and the practical application of truths in my life for me to fully understand it. The more we read, study, and believe in our hearts, the easier it will be for us to change the channel, dispel imaginations, and eliminate fearful thoughts that are gripping us. The Scriptures teach us of God’s power and protection and love, and by building these truths in our hearts, we can build our believing and trust in God. By reading and studying God’s Word, we can flood our minds with the positive truths and wash away doubt and fear.
The Word says to meditate. The word "meditate" is used a lot throughout the Scriptures.
According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, "meditate" means to rehearse and go over a matter in one's mind. New Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies says that "meditate" means to talk with oneself. Biblically to meditate means to focus and rehearse one's thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply. For buddhists, this may be similar to having a mantra.
An Example of the Practical Application of Meditation
For me, meditation involves the practice of applying a spiritual truth to any situation in which I have a need. So, for example, when I was informed in 2014 by two doctors that I would never run again, I was practiced enough to be aware of my thoughts in the situation and to apply certain truths to fulfill an emotional, physical, and psychological need. At that moment, I needed to be assured that the counsel of others may not be accurate, to trust and lean on something that was accurate, and to believe that I was more than fully capable of walking, running, and enjoying a lifestyle that I intended to have.
In that moment:
I meditated, or applied biblical truths, and replaced doubt, worry and fear with power, love, and a sound mind. At that moment, I smiled back at my doctors and gave a chuckle. And asked if they'd like to reconsider their diagnosis and recommendations, before I get up and leave. Presently, I regularly run a 5K with 9-minute/mile averages (torn ACL, torn MCL, 46 years old, 235 lbs).
As we rehearse in our minds (meditation) the spiritual truths that are available to us, we can put an end to suffering and live a life that is abundantly filled with joy, peace, and love. This is part of keeping our hearts with all diligence as Proverb says.
Proverbs 4:20-23 says, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Sometimes the bible will try to get your attention, so in Proverbs we see a father speaking with his son and saying, "Hey! Son, listen to me." Keep my words close to you, close to your heart. For spiritual truths are life (powerful, more than abundant life) to anyone who finds the truth. And words are also heath (or destruction). Keep your heart (and mind) with all diligence (it takes work and effort). Why? Because out of your heart and mind will come all of the issues of life that you'll ever deal with. It all comes from the mind and heart. That's where life is; that's where the battlefield exists. That's what this one Proverbs verse says. Might we all be better off by rehearsing this (meditating upon this) and recalling it into our minds at the right moment, when needed? I think so.
Alignment and Harmony
With God’s Word in our hearts, we can more readily recognize if a thought doesn’t line up with what God says, and then change it. It’s like inspecting a house and finding a trip hazard.
I teach home inspectors how to do their job. I teach from a standard, a building standard. And I encourage my students to read and study those standards. Why? Because when they walk through a home that they are inspecting, and something is not right, they’ll be able to recognize it--like a trip hazard at the steps, for example. After reading and studying a standard, they should be fully-equipped to recognize something within the house that’s not in alignment and harmony with the rest of the structure. They'll be able to identify that defect that might do someone harm, and get it fixed. It’s the same with our thoughts being lined up with the spiritual truths provided to us.
When you have a standard to which you may refer, you can easily recognize issues in your life that are out of alignment and harmony.
Fix the Trip Hazard, Change the Channel
There is no reason to be held captive by negative thinking. We can lead each thought captive, stopping the thoughts from doing any more harm. We can stop the action of any fearful thought as soon as we notice it. We can fix the trip hazard. We can “change the channel.” We just need to pay attention to what channel we are watching.
We can change. We can change our minds. We can become transformed by the renewing of our minds, and not be conformed to the world. When we think about what we are thinking about, we can do this. I know we can, because God says we can in Romans.
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
How do we renew our mind? A simple definition of renewing the mind is to hold the Word in mind and act accordingly.
An effective way to eliminate a fearful, negative thought is to replace it with three positive truths from God’s Word—thoughts of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). For example, here are a few positive truths to meditate over: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/bible-quotes/.
The Word of God gives us the ability to bring every thought captive. Just as we change the TV channel if we don’t like what’s on, we can change any fearful thoughts, which are contrary to God’s Word. As we read and study the Word, we become better at renewing our minds and getting back in alignment and harmony with the truth. We can eliminate fear, thought by thought, with the quick and powerful Word of God in our mind and hearts. May God bless you.
You may be interested in reading How to Renew the Mind.
This article explores the way in which you see yourself positioned in the cosmos and how that defines who you are and how you see the world around you.
We live on a wondrous planet spinning around an amazing solar system. Everything you see in our system, the sun, planets, Earth, me, and you were all created and formed from dust. Yet Earth is astonishingly beautiful and complex. Our oceans are enormous. Our weather is incredible and ever changing. Our mountains are giants and our landscapes are breathtaking.
I am fascinated by how the world in which we live was created by God, how it moves, how it is shaped, and how the physics that governs our world also shapes other worlds in the universe. The ways in which we experience life here on Earth connects us with everything else in the universe – from our solar system to the moving stars in the night sky.
It’s an amazing time in which we live, because we’re the only beings that have the capability to explain who we are and our position in the universe.
My perspective, the way in which I see myself, on our planet, in the universe, defines how I see the world around me. Similarly, the way in which I see myself positioned spiritually in the cosmos defines much of who I am.
When the Bible was written, people thought that the Earth was in the center of the universe, and that it was flat like a round disk, and if you went too far out to sea, you’d fall off the edge. We know better now.
People used to thank God for the sun rising over the Earth, and for the Sun setting below the Earth, and its apparent movement across the sky. But the movement of the sun is caused by our planet spinning through space. What we see is different from what’s actually taking place. The sun does not revolve around the Earth. It's the other way around.
Our planet is a sphere, a ball of rock.
Our ancestors didn’t know all of these beautiful patterns, rhythms, and order of the solar system. When our ancestors looked up into the night sky, they saw tiny bright lights, and imagined images and figures. And they used the stars to tell stories of creation, life, and their position in the cosmos. Today, we tend not to look up at the stars in the majestic sky anymore. We’ve lost our connection to the stars and other planets.
When our ancestors looked up at the night sky, it told them one thing – they were at the center of the universe. If you look up at the northern night sky, you’ll see a star called Polaris, the North Star. The cup of the Big Dipper points to Polaris, which is at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. The North Star is almost in line with the Earth’s celestial pole. And when you stare at the North Star at night, all of the other stars rotate through the night sky around that point. So, it looks like the entire universe rotates around the Earth, that the Earth is apparently the center of the universe. And that’s what everyone, our ancestors, thought for thousands of years. It looked obvious. But they were wrong.
Mars Retrograde Motion
To really understand the position of the Earth in the solar system, we have to look at Mars. When you plot a chart of the position of Mars traveling across the night sky, you’ll notice that it doesn’t move in a straight line across the nighttime sky, but changes direction and loops back on itself. This retrograde motion is impossible to explain, if you think Earth is at the center of the universe. It can only be explained when you position the sun at the center, and the Earth as one of many other celestial bodies orbiting the sun.
Understanding this retrograde motion was a great achievement in understanding our position in the solar system and the beautiful patterns and order of universe.
A couple thousand years ago, a man named Paul had a similar breakthrough achievement in understanding our spiritual position in the cosmos. And he taught others about it. And he wrote those teachings down for us to read, learn from, and apply to our lives. Let’s take a look at Ephesians 3 in the King James Version.
About 50 AD, a man named Paul wrote about the most fundamental change in our relationship with God. He revealed the greatest spiritual truth that anyone could ever know. It was one of the greatest mysteries of the world. And it triggered a fundamental change in humanity's relationship with God - a relationship in which believing, rather than behavior, became the key to a more than abundant life.
Paul was born Jewish. He lived in Tarsus, which is now Turkey. He lived within the Roman Empire. He traveled to Jerusalem, Asia, Greece, and Rome. And he taught and wrote. Paul wrote 13 letters. He never met Jesus, the man, but met his friends and disciples, and for many years, Paul actually had a job to hunt and persecute them. He grew up under Roman law, and he knew the Jewish law or Law of Moses (Old Testament) very well.
Pay for Love
Under Jewish Law, good behavior included what was/is called “indulgences,” where you essentially pay for God’s love. The more money you pay the church, the more of God's love you receive. This religious dogma limited people of the past. But, because of men like Paul, we now know better.
Ephesians 3:6 actually reveals a certain spiritual truth that remained a mystery until Paul revealed it:
This was a great mystery revealed -- that we are to be of the same body (both Judean and Gentile). Paul revealed to the folks who lived back in those days that everyone could be of the same family, one new body, a new spiritual family body, both Judeans and Gentiles, both the "haves" and the "have nots," both the rich and the poor. All believers in that body are "fellow heirs" of all that God has made available to us. And we can "partake" of God's "promises."
Turn to Colossians 1:26-27 in the King James Bible. It says,
Paul writes this to help reveal the great mystery in more detail. And it's all about love.
Gift of Love
Every believer can have Christ in him or her, which is referring to the gift of holy spirit. Holy spirit is a gift from God to every believer. And it's given unconditionally. "Christ in you" in the bible means the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. So, where the bible says "God in Christ in you," that means that you can have the gift of holy spirit in you, the unconditional love of and from God, held in your mind (renewed mind) and manifested (applied) in your life.
How can God be in your mind? Well, you have to understand what God is, and what God is not. God is not a man. God is not an old man with curly hair floating in the clouds, waving his finger, and doing good and bad things. That's a bit delusional. You might as well believe in Poseidon. Actually, God is what the bible says it is. God is spirit, love, light, energy, everywhere, powerful.
The Buddha said, "The mind is everything. What you think, you become." That's so true.
That's how every believer can have the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. It's all about believing. And it starts with your mind.
That’s what Paul revealed. That’s what Paul taught and wrote for us to read today. Paul revealed a spiritual truth that helps us understand our spiritual position with God and our relation with others.
So, in this article, we learned a little bit about our position in the universe and our relationship with God. We know a bit more than our ancestors did. The retrograde motion of Mars helps us position ourselves in the universe. And Paul revealed a great spiritual truth that also helps position ourselves as the children of God who have the unconditional love of God held in our renewed minds and manifested in our lives.
You're positioned just right. Stay where you are.
Mind is Everything
A man is what he thinks. Literally. A man’s character is the sum of all of his thoughts. His mind is everything.
Every action requires a thought. Action blooms from a man’s thoughts. Every act grows and springs from his seeds planted by his thoughts. Joy and suffering may be the fruits of his thoughts. He may reap both the ripe and the rotten of his own mental harvest.
A noble, manly character isn’t created by chance, but by the natural result of continued effort in intentional thinking. Believing. A man is built or destroyed by himself. By thought alone, a man may create the weapons with which he destroys himself. His thoughts can also forge the tools with which he builds himself a comforting armor of joy, power, and peace. Between the Godlike and the bestial are all the of measures of a man’s character, and he is their maker and master.
As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
You may be interested in reading Learn How Your Spirit Makes Your Work Fruitful.
Today, I told my friend, who invited me and my family to his lake for an afternoon swim under the hot Boulder Colorado sun, that I just crossed off from my bucket list a most enjoyable dive into a lake of deep, cold water. I enjoyed it greatly. I thought it was wonderful. The water was mysteriously dark, deep, and freezing to the bones. Nice!
Enjoyment was on my mind, and I shared that crossed-off item with my friend.
Our minds are everything. Our minds, our thoughts, make us who we are. My mind is everything that I am and everything that I ever was. All of my present and past experiences are shaped by my mind. And every experience (all the bad, good, and even ugly ones) in my life is felt as such because of my mind.
Every act and every fact is created, shaped, and shared by our thoughts. There's nothing in the universe that exists without someone first having a thought about it. This may not be obvious. Try to name one thing that exists, has existed, or will ever exist without a thought.
Therefore, if you are constantly doubting, endlessly worrying, always fearing, it won't matter how successful you become, how much money you have, how big your house is, or who's in your bed - you won't enjoy any of it.
I could share my bucket list with you. All of us could write our own lists of goals, accomplishments, and things to achieve that are intended to bring enjoyment to our lives. The reality is that we're all trying, working really hard, to enjoy life right now, at the present moment. But most of us don't actually achieve that state.
This is how the mind works.
Sam Harris writes in Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion,"
And here's the key to life. How you interpret the present moment (ie. Am I enjoying this freezing lake water?) is contingent upon how you think about the present moment, regardless of what you're actually doing.
Around 67 AD, a man named Paul wrote a letter from prison that taught a lot about the mind, truths that I share at my weekly family fellowships, such as:
That's a good one.
Wayne Dyer writes in The Power of Intention,
The Buddha taught that what you think, you become. True. Descartes taught that everything exists because you think. Yes.
I encourage you to investigate certain truths for yourself and learn how to be mindful about what you're thinking, regardless of what you are doing.