- “Thank” (v.) from the Proto Indo-European root tong, which means “to think/feel”
- We have to think the thanks before we are able to express it ~ th(i)nkful
- Being th(i)nkful is not just being thankful for; it is being thankful to.
Th(i)nkful: (adj) describing people who choose to download grace/strength from the LORD to think thanks about every circumstance in their life and to express that thanks orally or in a written form.
God gave us trees, in part, to illustrate our mental and emotional thought processes and how they affect our behavior.
- At the bottom is my THINKING, what I meditate on in my free time.
- My thinking in turn affects my DESIRES; here is where the tree branches out
- Those desires are fleshed out in my BEHAVIOUR, moment by moment, enjoying things that line up with my desires, getting frustrated with things that are against my desires
- EMOTIONS are the upper leaves, what everyone sees.
- ROOTS are where everything starts. Both nutrients and toxins flow up from the soil and affect the entire tree. Toxins flow all the way up, through bad thinking, skewed desires and create some bad behavior with hurtful emotions.
Drawing Up Truth or Lies?
Let’s zoom in on my THINKING and look more closely at what is happening there.
Something influences or controls my thinking. It is hidden, but I have to expose it.
It is called my HEART.
Scripture says that the heart is critical to all the issues in life.
- Proverbs 4:23 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flow the springs of life.”
- My HEART is my core “wanter”; it chooses where my roots are going to grow in order to draw up nutrients
- My heart can choose to draw up TRUTH or draw up LIES
- There is far more dirt around us filled with lies than with truth; TV, the internet, and well-meaning friends can all sow false, distorted and imbalanced ideas and values into our thinking
- I want you to visualize a THRONE in that heart; who or what is on that throne?
- I struggle with the problem of anxiety
- God’s Word says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Phil. 4:6
- What are the lies I am believing and the truths that answer them in this verse?
- I just am an anxious person
- God doesn’t care about my problems
- I can’t be thankful for hard things
- God is not powerful enough to help me with my emotional distress
- I can’t control what I think about
Sometimes it is shocking to write out the lies that I believe. Next, I look at what God’s Word says that is often directly contrary to the lies I feed on. I have to choose and wrestle the roots of my thinking over to these truths.
- God commands me not to be anxious
- God gives me a solution to deal with my anxiety.
- I am to include thanksgiving when I bring my burdens and anxiety to the Lord in prayer
- God promises peace when I do what He says in verse 6
- God gives me 8 things to think about in verse 8: things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy
When I allow the Lord to sit on the Throne in my heart and think on truths from His Word, my desires change! My behavior responds and my emotions follow suit (conform). I choose to think thanks about my circumstances and express it. The desires, behavior, and emotions will follow the engine of TRUTH.
Thinkful Journaling: One way to establish a new brain neural pathway of gratitude is to form a habit of writing down as least one thing every day that you are thankful for. I write about five things. It only takes a few minutes and has now become so much part of my life. It inspires a person to look for things to be thankful for and to express that first to God and then to others.