How’s it going?
How are you?
How are you doing?
Or an abbreviated version of that.
There are so many ways to acknowledge another person and the state of their life at the present moment. These are mainly used as informal greetings.
Or we might greet someone this way.
How are you feeling?
But, when it comes to our overall well being there is one thing that overrules all these other states of being. It is not about feelings, it is thinking.
What occupies our minds has more to do with our health and well being than anything else. The question of critical importance for every one of us is this. At this moment in time in your existence…
“How are you thinking?”
But, no one goes around saying, “How are you thinking?” do they?
Well maybe we should. What is on our mind affects our emotional and spiritual health, which in turn affect our physical health, more than anything else we do.
How am I thinking, indeed.
8 Watch out that nobody uses philosophy and hollow trickery to take you captive!
The word that the Bible is using for “takes you captive” is originally the picture of conquering armies taking the defeated people back to their countries as slaves. To take you captive is to control you against your will.
Well what is philosophy and hollow trickery?
Philosophy means literally, “Love of words.” A philosophy has to do with the words that occupy your thinking. We all have a philosophy of life, a view of the world that we use as a filter for our thinking.
Christianity is a worldview based on the model and teaching of Jesus. Jesus introduced radical teachings into world history, such as:
“Love your enemy”
(“Love”= will the good of another and work for it in your range of influence)
“The greatest of you is servant to all”
Jesus lived all of these out, and gave the ultimate teaching through his death on the cross. Giving his life for the sake of his enemies.
No one else comes close. Mohammed didn’t do any of this. Neither did Buddha. Neither did Confucius. Only Jesus.
Of course there is that whole resurrection thing, but that’s for another day…
There is no philosophy or worldview that comes close to explaining reality better than Christianity.
“Hollow trickery” is when language is being used to manipulate us, when people use language on purpose to try to make us anxious and on the edge where it is difficult for us to be our best true selves.
Almost all conversation currently occurring in the public square of media, politics, government, and education is using manipulative and anxiety-producing language in this way.
Human beings will use philosophy and human trickery to try to dominate others. Why? This is the influence of Satan and his lies. This is what the Bible means by the phrase, “elements of the world,” as Satan still has free reign in our world to tempt and use lies to try to influence us.
So, what if the words that occupy my thinking are mainly negative and what if I am being bombarded with manipulative and anxiety-producing language? Well, the filter that you run your thoughts through will have a large influence over your well being.
What are some examples of manipulative and anxiety-producing language a person whom you voted for, for President, used during a campaign?
There are two prominent negative filters that affect the lives of people today and there is only one positive filter.
One negative filter is to consider yourself a victim. Whatever is happening to you that is negative is the result of people and circumstances outside of yourself harming you. You are never responsible for anything negative that affects you. It is always someone else fault.
The other negative filter can be called neurosis. Anything negative that happens to you must somehow be your fault. The filter you live your life through is how often you mess up, you’re no good and there isn’t anything you can do with the fact that you are a failure.
Both of these philosophies of life that we impose on our thinking are extremely harmful. The more dangerous filter is victimhood. If you are alway right and anything bad that happens to you is because of people and circumstances outside of yourself, there is little that can be done to change this way of thinking. Negative life experiences can’t have anything to do with you in the first place and you will not seek healing from living this lie.
Emotional and spiritual health begin with recognizing that regardless of people and circumstances outside of myself, if I am an adult who does not have physical brain damage or chemical imbalance, then I am fully responsible for the attitudes and actions in my life that follow. While I am not able to control much of what happens to me, I am in control of how I respond. If it is always someone else to blame when things go wrong in my life, then I will become the kind of person who cannot take responsibility. Then I am lost.
Neurotic thinking is different. A person who is thinking it is always my fault is much more likely to seek help. Neurosis can be successfully addressed when a person realizes there is possibility for change through healing from traumas that helped to bring about this type of negative filter in the first place.
Have you had occasions to use either of these negative ways of thinking?
-not the king. 9 In him, you see, all the full measure of divinity has taken up bodily residence. 10 What’s more, you are fulfilled in him, since he’s the head of all rule and authority.
The only one who has right thinking all of the time is God. And we can know what God knows and think like God thinks because of Jesus. In Jesus, God becomes human, and Jesus takes on all of God’s way of thinking. So, like Jesus, we just have to live close to God all the time.
Well, how do we find God? We don’t have to find God because he is already there with us wherever we are. Through Jesus, the Kingdom of God is here. Put it this way.
People are seeking all different ways to get ahead in life. Negative ways like trying to manipulate or attack other people. Positive ways like trying to be kind and mindful.
But, none of this works if it is human-powered.
The negative is human beings allowing themselves to be Satan-influenced and using manipulation and evil thinking as a result. This isn’t going to work because God is stronger and defeats this way of thinking in the long run.
And the positive, without God, isn’t enough. You can try to be as kind and mindful as possible, but if this is under your own power you will fail. You will be overwhelmed in the long run. No one is strong enough to save themselves.
But not if we are living with God. God is always where we are. We need the supernatural power of God to live a good life where our thinking is in line with God’s thinking. Where we have the “mind of Christ” as the Bible says. Well, we can have all of this because where we are is the doorway to heaven. We just need to be mindful of this. We need to pay attention. Watch out! In a good way, keeping our mind on Jesus. Like the old song. “I woke up this morning with my mind set on Jesus…”
That’s what this means. What’s more, you are fulfilled in him, since he’s the head of all rule and authority.
To be fulfilled in him means we are full of him. Nowhere is this more important than our thinking! When our thinking matches the thinking of those who dwell with God in the heavens, starting with Jesus, then we know everything is going to be just fine for us here on earth. Then we know we lack nothing because we have access to the heavenly blessings now. Then we know we need not fear evil. No human being, not Satan himself has the power we have because Jesus is the head and we are fulfilled in him.
This is the life available to us right now. God is where we are.