What Do You Think About?

“And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8.
This verse is challenging in our society today, as we are bombarded by news of criminal actions, death, and more. It’s hard to think positively in the midst of the world’s problems sometimes; however, it is necessary. The mind is Satan’s favorite thing to manipulate because he knows that it is where destruction begins. If he can alter our thinking, he has a much better chance at altering our actions.
When thoughts of the world’s issues constantly circulate our minds we open the door for hopelessness, disparity, and negativity, all of which do not reflect a life saved by God’s grace. On the contrary, when we focus our thoughts on positive things we close the door to Satan’s attacks. God knows how effective Satan’s attacks on the mind can be when we are not focused on Him. For this reason He gave us instruction on how to direct our thinking.
First, on what is true. God’s Word is the undeniable truth. We must filter everything we hear through God’s Word. You may hear from others that you are worthless, tempting you to think this of yourself as well. However, that is not the truth rather it is a direct contradiction to the Word of God. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them”. God crafted each one of us with great care for a specific purpose. No one is worthless in the Kingdom of God.
Second, on what is honorable. Several actions bring honor to God. Several actions bring dishonor to God. Purposely choose to think on those things that bring honor to God. For example, say you read about a mass murder and about the completed construction of a new church building on the same day. Which of those actions brings honor to the Lord? Which of those actions promotes positive thinking? Clearly, the establishment of a new church would bring honor to the Lord and promote positive thinking.
Third, on what is right. Not what is right in our own eyes, but what is right in God’s eyes. “For there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death,” says Proverbs 16:25. Thus, we cannot go by our judgment of right and wrong, but rather seek God’s guidance. He gives us commandments to guide us to right living as well as a conscious to tell us when we have done wrong. When our thoughts dwell on things that are not right, we will know. It is then our responsibility to think on what is right, such as loving others and forgiveness.
Fourth, on what is pure. Pure in the biblical sense often means without sin or corruption. In the dictionary you will find definitions saying something similar to “not mixed with anything else”, “containing nothing that does not belong”, and “clean”. Our thoughts should not be polluted with negativity and thoughts that do not fit the Christian lifestyle. They should be clean. They should be pure. Impure thoughts will cross your mind because we are by nature impure sinners. However, once Jesus enters our lives He on the inside of us is pure and He can replace our unclean thoughts with pure thoughts. All we have to do is ask.
Fifth, on what is lovely. So what is lovely? God’s beautiful creation is lovely. The sound of birds singing in the morning is lovely. The site of children kneeling by their bedside to pray. The changes that come with each new season, from summer blooms to the colors of fall to the winter snow. Just look around you. It’s impossible not to find something lovely to dwell on. The choice is yours if you do or not.
Sixth, on what is admirable. The news usually broadcast stories of disaster, but there is also often a heroic story that can be found among the mess. For example, not too long ago a young American risked his life to save people he did not even know and who were not his countrymen either on a train to France. That is definitely an admirable action worthy of recognition. However, though there are several people in this world that we can admire, there is none more worthy of our admiration than God our Father. Choose to focus on those stories and people who follow the ways of our God. Choose to focus on the admirable action of Jesus Christ who died a horrific death for us while we were still His enemies.
Lastly, on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Things like a friend who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and miraculously healed by our God. Like an orphan child being accepted into a new loving home. Like a man who was let go at work finding a new job after months of searching. Like a lost soul accepting God’s salvation and grace. The list can go on for eternity. There are so many excellent things our Lord does in this world, and He deserves unending praise.
Let your thoughts be filled with truth, honor, righteousness, purity, love, admiration, excellence, and praise today. Leave no room for negativity to creep in. Ask God to be in control of your thoughts and be amazed at what He shows you.

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