'Mind and Heart', bronze sculpture by Frank Sh...The point of all this mental exercise I’ve been writing about is to feed the mind with good images, thoughts, and information to develop a mind like Christ. Genuine and consistent Christ-like behavior comes from the mind of the Spirit—God’s thoughts in you.

By that I don’t mean a spiritual lobotomy where your thinking is no longer your own, but where your own thinking is the same as His. From there, you can form intentions that match His will. Destructive images and false information will gradually be replaced with good thoughts, words, and deeds.

A Powerful Link Between Ideas and Feelings

Thoughts create and shape feelings that we subsequently act on. Take the revived uproar in this country over gun control as one example. (For an interesting look at theological implications, you might like this article, Deliver Us from Evil (in a Hail of Bullets).)  The issue has degenerated beyond respectful conversation because people on both sides are ruled by their feelings on the matter.

What they’re acting on is fear. One side holds a deep, abiding fear of losing rights and would gladly give up life to save those rights. The other holds a deep, abiding fear of losing life and would gladly give up rights to save it. Concepts like freedom, safety, and life evoke powerful images and emotions.

Mentally unstable shooters on a killing spree are acting on their own images and information, however warped it all may be. When they can no longer resist the ensuing feelings, they “snap.” (The same goes for “normal” people who suddenly have an affair or embezzle from their bosses.)

So both sides of the debate are deadlocked in contemptuous rants and name-calling spewed at opponents—morons and dumbasses—which is its own kind of murder rather than love or respect for enemies. Normally sane people become verbal hit-men with high-capacity magazines loaded with words, firing indiscriminately at any threat to their respective ideals.

This is what it looks like when people, individually and collectively, are owned by feelings rather than mastering and owning them. Emotions become gods that must be satisfied and served. And the ruined human being that blindly follows feelings is, effectively, a spiritual chump pulled around by the nose. (more…)