of the night. I’ve seldom lasted over five minutes. I kid my clients, “Better than any pill.” So, do you think knowing what’s going on in our brain helps people persist with the thing that’s really going to help them calm down? I think it does. Most people will not persist in a behavior that’s difficult if we don’t understand why we’re doing it. So, there’s a really good use for what we’ve learned in neuro-science about emotions. And this is one of them. We’re really just learning how God accomplishes emotions that are godly, like God’s emotions, but in a physical body.
Here’s another example. Neuro-scientists have been watching what happens in a person’s brain when they talk about serving others selflessly. And guess what? It actually turns off the selfishness centers. Isn’t that good to know? I think it is. For example, if you’ve always held yourself back, riding Job’s horse, and feeling like the victim, if you make an effort to take care of others, you won’t feel like the victim for long. We all have a lot more control over our lives than we’d like to think.
Here’s something else. This intentional kind of effort to take control of our thinking and behavior actually changes the shape of our brain in the same way that genetics does. In other words, if a person is born with a predisposition to be negative, they can override it by taking control of their thinking. A person doesn’t even have to go out and serve someone else. They only have to focus on it in their mind.
Now, I’m a blessed person because I have a job where I get to help people overcome terrible things in their lives. I get to serve them. And I get to make a living doing that. Is that great or what? So what does this have to do with emotions? Well, it makes me happy. Happiness is an emotion. And it came from doing something helpful for others.
Let’s look at a scripture. It’s in Philippians 4:8 and 9.
Philippians 4:8-9 – Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.
So, it’s been there all along. You know, we have our positive psychology now – kind of a new thing in the world – but, it’s been in the Bible all along. We really don’t have any excuses. If we control our thinking, things get better rapidly. Jesus said, in John 14:1:
John 14:1 – Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe, also, in Me.
And that term that Jesus used there – let not – that means, don’t do it! Don’t let it happen. Well, what does that imply? Well, it implies that we have a choice. We have control over where we put our mind. We can let negativity be our mental diet, or we can think something else. The over-arching reason it’s possible for Christians to think positively is just like it says: because God and Jesus – not our own ability – make good things happen. If you get upset, fearful, anxious or angry, just start breathing and counting. And when you’re calm enough to talk rationally to God, then do that. He’ll help you.