God's Word + your brain = JOY
What if God created our brains with the ability to overcome these feelings?
When you look forward to something, your brain releases the chemical dopamine. It could be a soldier looking forward to coming home to see his family after serving for months overseas. But it could also be an adulterer looking forward to seeing his mistress. This part of the brain doesn't differentiate between right and wrong… it just knows you are looking forward to the 'reward.'
Let me explain.
What if the alcoholic who has experienced the freedom and power of breakthrough in Jesus looks forward to waking up fresh the next morning, not hungover, with the satisfaction that he exercised self-control for another day? The same release of dopamine will be released as part of a new healthy way of thinking. This is one of the ways addicts stay free. Each day of freedom is another wave of dopamine.
At this point, you may be asking, 'Ron, what does this mean to me? I'm not an addict?' That's a very good question, and I have the answer. If God created dopamine, then it's for all of us. And through healthy choices and behaviors, we should have a steady release of it.
PLEASE LOOK AT PAUL'S WORDS IN PHILIPPIANS
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)
When you meditate on the things that are bringing you down, it brings you down emotionally. You are not drawing on dopamine when you dread something. When you wake up in the middle of the night, and your mind is full of all the things that are difficult, you are stunting the release of dopamine. If you're able to fall back to sleep, you don't wake up excited and full of joy.
Now imagine if we did what Paul said. If you wake up in the middle of the night and your mind is dealing with negativity - take hold of God! Think His thoughts.
Think about the glory that is going to be revealed in you one day through Jesus. Think about the eternal home that Yeshua is preparing for you. Imagine your friends or your children coming to faith. Remind yourself that there's nothing too difficult for God. This is not human psychobabble; this is the way God created our brains to work.
Paul understood this when he wrote 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Read verses on how much God loves you. On how He has miracle-working power inside of you. When you get negative thoughts, take them captive and give them to God. Look forward to tomorrow with the expectation that God will move.
When you go to bed at night, instead of 'praying,' just tell Him, “Jesus, you're going to do something amazing tomorrow. I can't wait!” Do that for a month. You'll be amazed at the results. As you give this month, think of all the wonderful things your financial gift is doing for the Kingdom around the world! You are sowing into God's goodness - acknowledging His thoughts and making them a reality. Providing people young and old with media curated with the biblical values of Jesus, creating opportunities for millions to grow in faith, and most importantly, bringing lost souls to salvation. Take great encouragement in the fact that through your gift, lives are being transformed around the world.
Tether your thoughts to His.
Natural joy is hard-wired in you. Unlock it through Him. I hope you take up my challenge to immerse yourself in the Heavenly thoughts of the Lord. It is the healthiest thing you can ever do.