Throughout history, various parts of the body have been thought to govern moods and emotions. The heart is equated with romantic love, rather than merely being a muscle that pumps blood around the body. Elizabethan doctors believed in the four ‘humours’ which governed health: blood, phlegm, choler (or yellow bile), and melancholy (or black bile) and proposed some fairly radical treatments if they felt these humours were imbalanced! It was a long time before the brain came to be recognised as the centre of the nervous system in the human body and essentially the body’s ‘control centre’.

How we think and what we think radically affects how we live. God wants our thinking to be transformed by Him: ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.’ (Romans 12:1-2 TNIV) I am convinced that every battle is won or lost in the mind and that it is absolutely vital to our spiritual growth and health that we allow our minds to be transformed so that we can behave in right ways.

Transformed thinking is the antidote to feelings which vacillate from moment to moment, let alone from day to day. As we allow our minds to focus on truth and learn what it means to have steadfast minds (Isaiah 26:3 TNIV), we are able to have wrong thoughts washed away and let God’s thoughts have right of way. In 1 Corinthians 2:16 TNIV Paul says ‘we have the mind of Christ’ – an amazing thought that can revolutionise how we think and how we live!

The ‘how’ of transformed thinking is clearly laid out for us: ‘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.’ (Phil 4:8 TNIV) If we are struggling with our thoughts – and Jesus reminded His disciples that all wrong behaviour ultimately starts with wrong thoughts (see Matt 5:21-48 TNIV, Matt 15:19 TNIV) – this is the key that unlocks our thinking. So often we dwell on wrong thoughts, weighing them, pondering them, even praying about them. The answer is to focus instead on what is true and good and most of all to focus on God (Col 3:1-2 TNIV, Heb 12:1-3 TNIV) – God as He reveals Himself and not as our faulty thinking imagines Him to be. That is why I love many of Matt Redman’s songs (see below), which repeatedly declare that God is who He says He is.

‘The Glory of Our King’, Matt Redman
‘We Shall Not Be Shaken’, Matt Redman