Friday, November 17, 2017

The heart of the matter

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. (Hebrews 4:12 ERV)
If you have ever tried to change the way you feel about something without dealing with the constant barrage of thoughts that invade your mind (and heart), you know how hard it can be to manage those feelings when there is no change in thought pattern. A lot of people will adhere to the theory of changing one's thoughts - giving us the catalyst by which we move from feeling one way about something to feeling a different way. I will tell you there is an element of truth to this, but it is much more than positive thinking that changes the way we behave! 
It takes more than just being "positive" about a matter to change the feelings we have toward it. For example, if we think we cannot possibly save up that emergency fund we are supposed to have that ensures us a little "buffer" should it become difficult for us to work of a period of time, you likely will "feel" the "hardness" of saving. If you begin to think even a little can get you to the goal, such as giving up one foo-foo coffee a week and placing that in the savings jar, you might just begin to see some practical change in the way you feel about saving.
Too many times we "feel" bad about the way we are acting or what has been developing in our lives - especially that inward stuff we don't always want others to know is happening. We deal with a barrage of "bad feelings" that really "nag" at us all day long. If not all day, then at least when we encounter that one individual who rubs us the wrong way, or the tough circumstances that are just putting the "screws" on us right then and there. These feelings don't stem from the outward stuff, but how it is we begin to "think about" that stuff.
This is why God uses his Word to change both thought and feeling. Thought first - then feelings follow. Too many times we get this backward - thinking thought will follow some feeling we try to muster up in order to move beyond that issue. The truth is - feelings follow thought, not the other way around. God uses his Word to "reorder" our thoughts, convicting us sometimes where we most need it, then providing us with the necessary tools to change the way we are thinking. In turn, feelings follow. 
We won't accomplish this change of thought all on our own, though. Positive thoughts aren't always heartfelt! They need to be heart-taught, then heart-got! Just sayin!