GOOD THINKING A PATH TO RESILIENCE BY DR. JULIAN MELGOSA GENERAL CONFERENCE EDUCATION ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR READ FOR THIS STUDY: Mark 7:2123, Luke 6:45, Acts 14:2, 15:24, Gal. 3:1, Ps. 19:14, Col. 3:117.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableif anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things (Philippians 4:8, NIV) As one of the most utilized forms of mental health intervention today, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is
based on the assumption that most psychological problems are improved by identifying and changing inaccurate and dysfunctional perceptions, thoughts, and behaviors. The Bible teaches us about the connection between thoughts and actions (Luke 6:45) THOUGHTS: THE ROOT OF BEHAVIOR
Read Mark 7:2123 and Luke 6:45. What do these texts tell us about the importance of controlling, not just our actions, not just our deeds, not just our words but our thoughts, as well? People who suffer from impulsecontrol disorders fail to resist the impulse to steal, to attack someone, or to gamble. Mental health clinicians know that these impulses often are preceded by a certain thought (or chain of
thoughts), which leads to the undesirable behavior. Mind and behavior are shown by Paul as intimately linked. The Spirit-filled mind will seek good deeds, and the sindominated mind will bring about sinful deeds. Read Romans 8:5-8. WHAT ALTERNATIVE IS PROPOSED BY PAUL TO DEAL WITH IMMORAL BEHAVIOR?
It is not enough to change the behavior for the sake of convenience or to present a righteous face to the world. The heart (mind) needs to be transformed, or else the eventual fruits will show the true nature of that heart. We need a constant sense of the ennobling power of pure thoughts
and the damaging influence of evil thoughts. Let us place our thoughts upon holy things. Let them be pure and true; for the only security for any soul is right- thinking. Ellen G. White, The Signs of the Times, August 23, 1905. THOUGHTS AS A SOURCE OF DISTRESS
What are the things that really frighten you? What are ways that you can learn to trust the Lord, despite that fear? After all, isnt the Lords power greater than whatever threats you face? Words are very powerful tools, either for good or for evil. Our words either build up or tear down. There is life and death in the words we speak. How careful we need to be with the thoughts and
sentiments that come out of our mouths. Read Acts 14:2, 15:24, and Galatians 3:1. How do we have the power to impact people negatively? If you do not feel lighthearted and joyous, do not talk of your feelings. Cast no shadow upon the lives of others. A cold, sunless religion never draws souls to Christ. It drives them away from Him
into the nets that Satan has spread for the feet of the straying. Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 488. Think about times when someones mere words tore you down in a big way. How can you be sure you never do that to anyone else? WHOLESOME THINKING
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableif anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things (Philippians 4:8, NIV). What is the essence of Pauls words to us here? What is the key to doing what he says? Remembering, repeating, thinking about, and meditating on the words in the Bible is one of the greatest spiritual blessings available to us, and it is a sure way to cultivate what Peter called wholesome
thinking (2 Peter 3:1, NIV). The Word of God is the only true fortification we have against the mental onslaught of unspiritual distractions that come from the world. The Bible is clear: God cares about our thoughts, because our thoughts impact our words, our actions, and our overall well-being. God wants us to have good thoughts
because good thoughts, wholesome thinking, is good for us, both physically and mentally. THE THOUGHTS OF OUR HEARTS Read 1 Kings 8:39; Psalm 19:14; 1 Chronicles 28:9; and 1 Samuel 16:7. What crucial point are these texts making? More important, how should this truth impact us and how we think? Does this truth idea make you
nervous and fearful, or does it give you hope? Or both? Analyze the reason for your answer. For you alone know the hearts of all men (1 Kings 8:39, NIV). The word heart often is used in the Bible as the seat of thoughts and emotions (see Matt. 9:4). Only God has access to the intimacy of our mental activity, to our true intentions, and to our secret yearnings. Nothing, even in the form of a fleeting thought, can be hidden from the Creator.
Satan cannot read our thoughts, but he can see our actions, hear our words; and from his long knowledge of the human family, he can shape his temptations to take advantage of our weak points of character. Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, May 19, 1891. How does the discussion above help you to better understand the biblical
admonition not to judge others? How many times have your motives been misjudged by those who dont know your heart? Why, then, is it important not to judge others in return? THE PEACE OF CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS Read Colossians 3:117. What are the specific actions that we are called upon to do in order to live the kind of
life in Christ we are promised? Our thoughts, if stayed upon God, will be guided by divine love and power. Thus, we must live on the words that proceed from the lips of Christ. Ellen G. White, Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 669. In the middle of spiritual warfare, a person may be tempted and find it very difficult to dispel certain adverse thoughts. In those moments, it may be
easier to distract oneself by changing place or activity or seeking good company. This may permit a change that facilitates prayer and assurance. Thought is a very mysterious human process. We really dont know for sure even what it is or how exactly it works. In most cases, though, in the inner recesses of our consciousness, we alone make the choice regarding what we are going to think about. A thought can be changed in an instant. We
simply have to make the choice to change it. (In some cases, though, mental illness can affect a persons ability to change their thoughts easily, and so professional treatment [if available] can be extremely beneficial.) What about your thoughts? Next time the wrong ones come, what are you going to do? More precious than the golden wedge of Ophir is the power of right thought. We need to place a high value upon the right control of our thoughts. . . . Every impure thought defiles the soul, impairs the moral sense, and
tends to obliterate the impressions of the Holy Spirit. It dims the spiritual vision, so that men cannot behold God. The Lord may and does forgive the repenting sinner; but though forgiven, the soul is marred. All impurity of speech and thought must be shunned by him who would have clear discernment of spiritual truth. . . . We are to use every means that God has placed within our reach for the government and cultivation of our thoughts. We are to bring our minds into harmony with Christ's mind. His truth will sanctify us, body, soul, and spirit, and we shall be enabled to rise above temptation.
Ellen G. White, The Signs of the Times, August 23, 1905. What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with impulsive behavior? What promises can you present to them from the Bible? Why is it also important to keep before them all the promises of forgiveness and acceptance through Jesus? How can you keep them from giving up in complete despair, believing that, because they
have not achieved the victory that they want, their relationship with God is somehow deficient? How can you help them learn never to give up on the promises of forgiveness, no matter how unworthy they feel?
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