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“And now, dear brothers and sister, 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 (New Living Translation)
The New Life Version says it this way, “Christian brothers, keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things.”
The New King James reads, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
No matter which version we pull up, Paul tells us to think on the good things. Yet, I catch myself allowing things that could never be good creeping into my mind. One of my favorites verses in scripture, one I lean on greatly, yet one I don’t live up to all the time. I wonder what my reality would look like if I thought only on good things!
This instructional list of adjectives includes:
True and honorable
Right and pure
Respected and lovely
Noble and just and admirable
How is it we find ourselves filling our minds with thoughts that are:
Gossip and destructive
Angry and hostile
Bitter and ugly
Worrisome and lying
Disgusting and hurtful
Sad and regretful
Jesus is coming back for a church that is without spot or wrinkle, a church that is watching and waiting for His return. How can we expect to produce the fruit of the Spirit of God if we’re weighed down with the negativity of that second list? God knew how powerful our minds are; He created them to be powerful! Paul no doubt learned from his own experiences, and could see how this wisdom from God was so vital for our lives to be filled with liberty and joy and power-filled. He shared it with us centuries ago, knowing that however many generations received his instructions, we’d all need them to thrive.
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If we read this scripture every single day and post it where we’ll see it and memorize it and teach it to our children and make up songs about it the job will be partly done. But, we also need to fill our minds with those good things. Constantly watching television programming that degrades our thoughts or listening to music filled with perversion and profanity and reading material that should make us blush and hope no one sees us won’t give our mind much of an opportunity to fill itself with positive things. Nor will rehearsing over and over again every failure we’ve suffered through or every hurtful thing done to us.
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It’s time to take inventory. Do we complain more than we give thanks? Do we curse when something upsets us? Do we find vulgarity entertaining? What kinds of images are stored in the hard-drive of our brain? It’s time for some reprogramming. It’s time to focus on the Word of God, for real. It’s time to focus on the things that glorify God and all that is good instead of what the world beckons us to accept as good.
“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:14 (KJV)
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 (KJV)
If you have an extra minute or two, read 2 Timothy chapter 3 for a description of what things will be like in the last days of life on this planet as we know it… Personally, I don’t think Paul is talking about the people around us that don’t believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, but to us – the church of Jesus Christ, His own body.
Yes, it’s a good start. Write out Philippians 4:8 (4:4-8 is GREAT) and put it where you’ll see it often to remind you. It’s such a good idea; I suggest you do it right now. Watch your mood change, too!
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