Powerful - your thoughts. Philippians 4.8
5/18/2018 12:30:42 PM
You alone determine your thinking, what goes on in your mind
Powerful - your thoughts. Philippians 4.8
attitude joy creativity contentment worry fear potential anticipation dissatisfaction Look carefully at these words … they have something in common. Each is determined by your thinking. Turns out the Bible has a lot to say about our thinking; and Friend, our thinking is the one thing that we alone can choose! Paul, himself a great thinker, said several sage things about our thoughts.
Starting with where we find ourselves in Philippians 4.8 - 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 excellentor praiseworthy—think about such things.
Friends, you and I are the gatekeepers of our thoughts, which is why we must exercise great wisdom about what we let into our minds, taking care about what we read and listen to, being aware of whatever pulls us down, away, or distracts from the good and godly (social media??). When I was a very little girl, I used to sing a song at Sunday school, ‘O be careful little eyes what you see … and then, little ears what you hear … for the Father up above is looking down with love, so be careful little eyes what you see…’ I’m not little anymore, but the wisdom of the song rings true. There are times when we need to say, “Enough! I am not watching that anymore! I am not reading that author anymore; her writing fills me with negativity, or movies like that take me places my mind should not go. And further, I have cruddy feelings after spending too much time on Facebook.”
‘Set your mind on things above,’ Paul wrote in a different letter. SET is a verb; it implies an action to be taken on our part. It implies intention. ‘What are the things above?’ you ask. Those things which matter in Heaven and last for eternity. Our minds set themselves on something, have you noticed? So we are wise to consider that to which our minds are given. This anonymous little piece is a great reminder for me: “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” So… it seems that character is formed by making choices in one direction—thinking rightly again and again.
To be a good thinker requires a couple things: first desire and then discipline. Good thinking does not just happen. Good thinking happens by intention. It happens by exposing ourselves to good, right and true thinking. Become a student of that which is lovely and noble, that which is pure and excellent—enjoy, delight, learn and share those things with others.
Would you say you have a good attitude? Do you experience joy? Would you say that you are creative? Are you able to be content in this world? Do your worries threaten to consume you? Are you maximizing your potential as a human being? Do you wake up with a feeling of anticipation for the new day? Does your fear (of the future, of failure, or whatever) rob you of sleep at night, or peace in the day?
I could make the case that the answer to every one of these questions is determined by your thinking.
We must learn to elevate our thinking. How? ‘Do not be conformed,’ Paul wrote in Romans 12.2, meaning do not let the world’s thinking take over your mind… including, do not be limited in what God has for you by your poor thinking. When he said ‘but be transformed,’ he intended for our thinking to be radically improved … by the ‘renewing of our minds.’
To be sure, our minds are renewed through God’s Word, worshiping him, time spent in community with other like-minded God seekers, and in focused solitude - all which facilitate the Holy Spirit’s work in us.
Two prayers to close: May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my refuge and my redeemer! Psalm 19.14 (GNT)
Dear Father, please remind me to think about whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—whatever isexcellentor praiseworthy. Prompt me when my thoughts are not of you and help me to change course. AMEN! Apprehend these thoughts, write them out, memorize them. Yes, your thinking is powerful.
Study for yourself: Colossians 3.2, Psalm 19.14, Romans 12.1-2, 2 Corinthians 10.5