True or False
"This is terrible!" That is what went through my mind the other night when one of my children spilled syrup all over the floor. I've probably had that thought go through my mind thousands of times. But is it true? Is the spill really terrible? Or is it just something that needs to be cleaned up? What is true and what is false? When a thought passes through our minds, we tend to believe it. But if we pay attention to our thoughts, we may begin to see that they aren't always true. Sometimes our thoughts are false. Often, they are misleading.
Scripture teaches us to question our thoughts here in Jeremiah 17:7-10:
"But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve."
Did you see it? "The heart is deceitful above all things." Often Scripture uses the term heart and mind interchangeably. So this passage is warning us that our minds can deceive us. How? By thoughts that aren't true. And then we feel strong emotions that are connected to those thoughts and our heart deceives us as well. So what can we do about this situation? This passage points us to the answer. God helps us by searching our hearts and minds. We can ask God to help us see the truth. One of the best ways to do this is to ask God, "Is this true?"
Let's say you make a mistake at work and you think "I'm a failure" and you feel bad about yourself. This is the perfect time to ask, "God is this true?" You search my mind and heart. You know what is true. Is this true? You already know the answer. No it isn't true. You are not a failure. You are a child of God. You may have had a failure at work. But that doesn't define who you are. You are much more than your recent mistakes. The practice of questioning your false thoughts has so many benefits! First of all, you will feel much better, because most of your misleading thoughts are negative. Secondly, you will have a much clearer understanding of reality. And finally, you will have a stronger relationship with God, because many false thoughts are about God. For instance, "God has abandoned me." Or "God is punishing me." Or "God doesn't care about me."
I would invite you to pay attention to your thoughts this week. Question them. Ask God, "Is this true?" You may find that your mind is feeding you many inaccurate statements. Remember, just because you think it, doesn't mean it is true. It is easy to accept all of our thoughts as facts, but we pay a high price for this. So enjoy the process of challenging your own thoughts this week. Ask God to help you in this process. You may begin to feel a lot better about your life.
May God fill your mind with true thoughts this week.