Thoughts & Feelings

I read an interesting story some time ago about a 99 year old man being interviewed by a reporter. The young reporter was very impressed with the old man’s youthful attitude. As he was leaving the reporter voiced an interest in returning one year later to interview the man on his 100th birthday. The old man’s answer was a classic. “Well,” he said, “I don’t see why you can’t, you look pretty healthy to me.”

I like the old man’s answer. He was not concerned with his age, ailments or arthritis. He was looking forward to the future.

Thoughts affect feelings!

When observing the lifestyle of the rich and famous on television you may feel like a pauper. But then reporters begin to describe the plight of those in third world countries who live in cardboard shacks and fight over scraps of decaying food they find in garbage cans. Suddenly your little dwelling place looks like a castle and you are eating meals appropriate for a king.

When alone with the annoying discomfort of your afflictions you may feel like you are about to die. But when you become aware of the suffering of those who are truly at death’s door, you feel pretty good.

And so it goes. In every area of life the principle is the same. In fact, the Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:7: “As he {a man} thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Philippians 4:8 provides specific guidance for our thought life:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Obeying that admonition is a huge challenge in today’s society. Our minds (the media is usually the culprit) are repeatedly filled with accounts of intentional deceit, lurid images of unrestrained evil and reports of unpraiseworthy events, all carefully designed, produced and broadcasted to influence what we think. It doesn’t take long to become discouraged, and prolonged meditation often leads to depression.

Yet the very next verse (Philippians 4:9) says that those who are willing to constrain their thinking will be rewarded with the abiding presence of the “God of peace.”

Thoughts affect feelings!

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” (Psalm 42:5)

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