How do we Process Life?
Teaching from Brad Bigney, Grace Fellowship Church, www.graceky.org
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Circumstances– Stuff happens to us everyday!
- People sin against us
- People do not live up to our expectations
- We experience a sickness
- It rains on our picnic
Thinking– The Bible teaches that we ‘think’ something about each event whether we are aware of it or not. We are thinking and talking to ourselves about what happens to us all the time at an incredible rate throughout each day:
- This is not fair
- I deserve better than this
- I can’t handle this
This thinking is the control center, the motive, the will of a person. The Bible speaks of the ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ interchangeably in many places. The ‘heart’ or ‘mind’ is the control center of our life. When the Bible speaks of the ‘heart’, it is not usually referring to emotions or feelings. To speak of emotions or feelings the Bible usually refers to the bowels or internal organs.
Proverbs 23:7 “…..as a man thinks in his heart so is he.”
Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the issues of life.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 “That you put off concerning your conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever thing are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report……think on these things.”
The Battle is in our mind/ heart. It is a battle for our thoughts and beliefs.
Emotions– Based on what we are thinking and believing, we begin to experience emotions.
Our feelings do not erupt out of a vacuum. Our emotions/feelings flow out of our thinking and beliefs.
Actions– Based on what we are feeling, we begin to make choices in our heart and take action. It is very difficult (though not impossible) to act contrary to our emotions. Most people struggle to rise above feelings.
- Pull away from things when we are afraid.
- Neglect our duties when we are depressed.
- Avoid a person when we are angry with them.
- Speak harshly when we are angry.
T.E.A.- Over a period of time we build habits. We begin to automatically think, emote, and act in the same way that we always have. Notice that this is based on our thinking/beliefs. If we don’t change our beliefs, we will emote and respond in the same way as we have always done.
Character– The habitual way that we respond to people and circumstances becomes to be seen as our character. We make excuses for ourselves and others because of personality or character.
- Angry person
- Anxious person
- Depressed person
- Ambitious person
- Lazy person
- Outspoken person
- Shy person
Character is a habitual way of thinking in our heart. Do you know someone who resists change because they are convinced that their character is just “the way it is”? That they can’t change or that they shouldn’t have to change because “that’s the way God made me”. The simple fact is that just because it’s the way you have always reacted, doesn’t mean you can’t change. God is in the business of changing hearts. He calls us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:23). In fact to not be seeking change is to be in opposition to God’s work in every believer.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
This teaching is necessary because you will always run into people that believe that their emotions are uncontrollable. They get angry and can not help it. They see themselves as victims of their own emotions. This is not true and a lie from the pit of hell. Our emotions can be controlled but it requires change at the heart level of their thinking and beliefs.
This teaching is also necessary because you will always run into people that hide behind the shield of their character. They believe incorrectly that character is unchangeable and everyone else should just put up with them.
Main Points :
- Emotions and Behavior are Controllable by changing beliefs
- No believer should ever say they can not change
- The battle is in our thinking and beliefs
- To believe Truth or Lies? That’s our choice
- God is in the business of changing hearts
Homework Explanation: How do we Process Life
This homework is to help you be aware of your thinking/ Beliefs as they pertain to the emotional response of becoming irritated or frustrated or angry.
When you recognize that you have become irritated, frustrated or angry.
- Note the circumstance that “produced” the emotional response.
- Now work backwards to examine the thinking/ Belief that you hold that the emotion flowed from.
- Extra points: Is your thinking Truth or a Lie according to God’s Word?
- I became irritated when; waiting in line to receive only ½ of a donut.
- Lie: I believe that I should not be inconvenienced by having to wait in line.
- Truth: I was never promised to not be inconvenienced.
- I became frustrated when my wife didn’t immediately see the wisdom of my suggestion as I desired her to. “She disagreed.”
- Lie: I believe that I deserve to be respected at all times.
- Truth: I was never promised to be respected at all times. Christ was not respected at all times, why should I expect it?
- I got mad when no one complimented me for how I served on the setup/ cleanup team.
- Lie: I believe that I should receive approval from others.
- Truth: I was never promised approval from others. Christ was not approved of by many. Why should I expect it?
Use this list of possible beliefs to help with your homework:
- To be loved
- To be accepted
- To be understood
- To be respected
- To be served
- To never hurt or be disappointing by others
- To have personal preference accommodated at all times
- To be viewed as competent
- To be approved of
- To belong
- To be held in high regard
- To be satisfied
- To be safe and secure
- To be comfortable
- To never be alone
- To have peace
- To you have a trouble free, pain-free life
- To have someone exposed
- To be treated fairly
Homework: How do we Process Life (Journaling)
- Circumstance in which I became irritated, frustrated or angry.
- What is my thinking/ Belief that the irritation, frustration or anger flowed out of?
- Extra points: Is your thinking Truth or a Lie according to God’s Word? Explain How.