“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
Is it impossible to stop thinking? Try to shut down your mind and you will soon realize that it is impossible to stop streaming thoughts through your mind. It won’t be long before your thoughts will be reminding you of the jobs you haven’t done, anxious thoughts about the future, fragments of memories, images of people you know, and portions of songs you’ve recently heard. The question is are we simply thinking without control of what we think? Are we simply a victim to outside forces, or can we control our thoughts?
There is a famous scene in Peter Pan where Peter is in the children’s bedroom; they have seen him fly, and they wish to fly too. They have tried it from the floor and they have tried it from the beds and the result is failure. “How do you do it?” John asked. And Peter answered: “You just think lovely, wonderful thoughts and they lift you up in the air.” The same is true for the believer. The only way to defeat evil thoughts is to think on different things.
The apostle Paul understood this principle. He gave us a list of things we should focus our time and energy thinking about: “fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.” (Philippians 4:8 GNT) The human mind is a wonderful creation of God … it cannot think of two things at the same time. So while you are thinking positive thoughts, you cannot be thinking negative thoughts. When you are thinking about things that are true, honest, just, pure, and lovely, you cannot think about those things that are false, dishonest, unjust, impure and ugly.
For me the take away from all this is that we can truly adjust a lot in our own lives simply by changing our focus. Focusing on the positive in all situations strengthens our belief which leads to increased faith. On the flip side, when we focus on negative things it weakens our belief, or gets us believing stuff that isn’t true. And that not only erodes our faith, it actually will increase fear in our lives.
Fortunately God has given us control over that by putting a choice in front of us. All we have to do is decide what we are choosing to focus on?
Jeremiah 33:3 ESV says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
- In what ways is Philippians 4:8 a reality for you? What would you have to give up to start thinking more consistently with Philippians 4:8?
- Is it possible to change without first changing your thinking?