“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – Jesus (John 15:5)
“We are wired for love” declares Dr Caroline Leaf, well-known neuroscientist, author and motivational speaker. Brain research shows us that our minds (and consequently our bodies) do not have any circuitry or structure to handle negative thoughts, stress, anxiety, depression, unforgiveness etc. In fact, says Dr Leaf, your body reacts to these toxic thoughts (as she calls it) in the same way that it would react to a virus invasion or an injury. Your immune system sends out a response to the site causing the problem (in this case your brain), causes inflammation, trying to heal the problem.
Isn’t God amazing? He has designed our minds to be filled with only good thoughts. Thoughts of love, peace, kindness, goodness. Thoughts that build us up. But wow, do you know anyone with constant loving, beautiful thoughts 24-7?
These last few weeks God has been taking me on a journey to really start working on renewing my mind. It all started with a revelation from Rom 5:1-5 about rejoicing in trials. I realized that part of the reason God asks us to rejoice in trials is because He loves us so much that He wants to spare us from suffering. Now don’t get me wrong. You will undergo trials. In fact Jesus has assured us that in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33) But what is true suffering? The hard circumstances we go through or the turmoil in our minds and emotional storms we have to face inside? Consider this: going through sickness or hardship with a heart filled with joy and peace versus going through those same circumstances, fighting loneliness, hopelessness and despair.
We are wired for love. We were designed and destined to live in constant love, joy and peace, no matter the circumstances. And if you are connected to Jesus, 24-7, this is absolutely possible! When God asks us to do something, He gives us the grace and everything that we need so that we can obey. When He told us to “take EVERY thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus” (2 Cor 10:5) He made us completely able to do this, in relationship with Him.
In these last few weeks, I have started to make a conscious effort to talk to Jesus about everything in my mind, submitting, repenting, forgiving, surrendering, thanking and praising throughout the day. Every time I turn my inward gaze from thoughts of worry, anxiety or fear to His love, I am filled with His peace. This is what abiding means to me; in all my ways, to acknowledge Him (Prov 3:5-6), to include Him in every part of my daily life. This does not always come easy. There are a million things every day vying for my attention, but who deserves it the most? The One who lovingly made me for relationship with Him, gave up His Son to restore me in that relationship and then gave me grace upon grace and everything I need for life and for living in that relationship continually. (2 Pet 1:3) Of course!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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.”