Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Thought and emotion are two sides of a coin. Since a Christian is supposed to bring his thoughts into subjection before Christ, one wonders how to do the same with emotion and feeling. But the New Testament never appears to treat it conclusively as a separate matter.
That is not to say emotion doesn't matter. But certainly, we say, that a person "feels" a certain way about a topic, when we are trying to say he has a particular opinion, and this way of putting admits the affinity of thought and feeling. For example, I wouldn't feel happy about a certain presidential candidate winning if my opinion and thought were contrary to him in the first place. I wouldn't feel sad over the loss of family or friends unless I thought they were worthwhile people and brought something to life.
Thought and emotion are integrated in another way, too. Anxiety is, by definition, over-thought. It is thinking to much about something and consequently getting worried about it. We also know that anxiety leads to depression. Too much thought causes anxiety and anxiety causes too much thought. But anxiety always begins with a seed of worried thought.
In the case where too much thought is causing anxiety the answer is to busy oneself with useful or entertaining activities that are sufficiently challenging to divert the individual from their brooding; in the case where anxiety is causing too much thought one needs to call upon the Lord for peace. However, if a person has been dealing with anxiety for any length of time it is likely that a "vicious cycle" has already begun to occur in which case both treatments- that of occupation and that of praying for the peace of God- really need to be effected together.
In considering the impact of over-thought and anxiety upon the Christian life it must be admitted that for the person engaging in such mental activities there is a lack of faith, and a presence of self-will. It is for this reason that the anxious Christian, while praying for the peace of God, must also be willing to repent and to admit the soveriegnty and love of God.
Here are some admissions to God that need to be made on the part of the anxious/troubled Christian:
1. Lord, you are in control.
2. You know every detail of my situation.
3. You care about my situation very much.
4. You will, in Your providence, love, and wisdom, guide this situation to conform to your will.
5. Your will is best for me.
6. Forgive me for wanting my will, and for not trusting You.
7. I accept your will; increase my faith and give me Your comfort.

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