Thursday, March 14, 2013

Physical Words

Last Friday afternoon our Center for Global Action group sat around the living room, listening to our teacher Gary share with us about spiritual gifts.

Little did I know my mind was about to be seriously blown.

Gary announced that we would be doing an activity on the power of words in our lives.

You know that old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Well let's go ahead and throw that saying out the window right now.

Words have immense power in our lives, both positive and negative. Who doesn't love to have positive things said to them and about them? Similarly, isn't it crushing to hear negative things spoken to you or about you? No matter how much we say "words never hurt me" the reality is, they do, whether we realize it in the moment or not.

Going forward in our activity, Gary had one of our classmates, Chase, come to the front of the classroom, extend his arm out to the side, and hold it up while Gary pushed down as hard as he could on it.

Gary told Chase to think of something positive about himself, just in his head. While Chase had that thought in his head, Gary pushed down on his arm. He could not push it down, and told us that it was in fact stronger than the first time.

He had Chase raise his arm again, but this time, to think of something negative about himself, something he didn't like. He pushed down on Chase's arm.

His arm came down. There was a physical response to the negative thoughts in Chase's mind.

We tried the exercise again, but this time, Gary spoke positive, encouraging words to Chase about him, while he pushed down on Chase's arm. He couldn't push it down, Chase's arm stayed up and firm.

Then, he said that he was going to talk about Chase's shirt, and say something negative about it (just to demonstrate negative words). He spoke it out while he pushed down on Chase's arm. Almost immediately, it fell to his side as Gary pushed down.

I was shocked. But at the same time, it was making sense. Negative words and positive words create physical responses in our bodies.

Gary had us all stand up and do the exercise with a partner, going through the thoughts within our own head, and then having someone speak words over us. As I participated in the activity, I was astounded. My arm stayed up during the positive thoughts and words, but fell and was weaker under the negative words, and the same with my partner.

What an incredible visual to the power of words in our lives.

It definitely makes you pause and think about the charge that Christ gives us to take our thoughts captive. Not only because what is in our thoughts and hearts will outpour into our lives through words, but because it creates physical and spiritual responses in our bodies.

Recently I joined Triumph Fitness, a group of us that gets together every morning during the week for a cross-fit style workout at the Adventures in Missions office. God has opened my mind to bringing the spiritual into the physical, literally into our workouts.

I began to think about how even negative thoughts during our exercises could effect what I was physically doing. If I think in my head "oh, I can't do this," I'm already setting myself up for failure, and weakening myself, literally.

But if I lean on Christ, cry out to him for the literal strength I need to challenge myself while working out, I am filled with his strength, spiritually, and physically. This revelation has stretched me and grown me already.

And it applies to everything.

Praising God in the storms.

Speaking life and joy into situations where things are difficult.

Pressing into the joy, into the heart of God, and realizing the power of the words we speak, and even more, the thoughts we think. We can effect our lives in big ways when we take our thoughts captive.

Probably why Jesus emphasized it so much.

I know that I am now challenged to take my thoughts captive even more, and recognize the physical and spiritual effects of the words I say and think.

What thoughts do you need to take captive today? What way can you bring God into your every day moments and situations? How can you bring life into it?

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