What role does thinking play in your life? Is it fair to say that in many ways you are what you think? I don’t think that fact could be overrated. Haven’t you had your thoughts take you to a far different place than you were just moments before? Your thoughts and your mastery of them have a direct impact on all of your life, even the spiritual side.
That’s why Philippians 4:8 is so special: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Here we are told what to think. The word “think” here means “meditate” and so refers to that deep thinking we do.
The verse begins: “Finally”. After being told to rejoice, to not worry, to pray and have faith, and receive the peace of God which is beyond understanding in the process, we are given one warning. The wrong thoughts may derail the whole thing.
So, as some have said, the battle is in the mind. I must put my mind on the right things or suffer tremendously. That doesn’t mean I never have a negative thought. That’s where the “power of positive thinking” folks have it wrong. There are truly negative things that must be faced in life.
When I face something negative, then, the plan is not to stick my head in the sand as if weren’t true. Such an approach is only a form of dishonest thinking. What I must do is keep my thinking true, honest, just, praiseworthy, and even pure. For example, if the doctor gives me some gut-wrenching news, I don’t block it out as if it weren’t true. No, I’ll think nobly about it. I’ll think–how can I handle this appropriately? If I face some disappointment or injustice, I’ll think–how can I honor the Lord in this? I’ll also think true and honest all the way through. I’ll think the Lord is in control and He loves me. That’s the truest thought we could ever think!
The next verse speaks of the things “learned, and received”, and surely refers to bringing God’s Word into my thinking. This is the only place we can get good thoughts when blasted with bad news.
I’ll confess that my wife Alicia is the one who made this a special verse in the life of our family. When she was first stricken with paralysis, I would think much to myself–what is she thinking? After a point she was doing so much better than I thought possible, I asked her how she did it. This verse, she said, was the secret. At dreary moments, she has even quoted this verse to me! I forget it at times, but it works when I use it.
What are you thinking on today? Whatever it is, good or bad, defines the day. Over a life, it will define me.