Read Philippians 4:1-8
Imagine for a moment, that you live on a busy street and have a 2 or 3 year-old boy. Of course, you wouldn’t just allow the little one to play outside without supervision. No, you would be very careful to watch him, steering him away from certain areas that are dangerous and toward areas that are safe. In fact, you might even build a fence around a portion of the yard as a means of keeping him safe. You would be proactive in protecting your little guy.
In some ways, your thoughts are like that little one. They are prone to wander. At times, they stay in safe areas. At other times they venture out into areas where danger abounds. I wonder, though, have you seen your thoughts as things over which you have little or no control? Have you seen them as things that just sort of run wild?
According to Philippians 4:8, we can steer our thoughts away from unhealthy and dangerous areas and towards eight specific, God-pleasing patterns.
- Think on what is true – God and His word are true. Do your thoughts measure up against those standards or are they lies?
- Think on what is noble – These things are sacred rather than profane. Do you fill your mind with and meditate on things that please God?
- Think on what is right – Not everything measures up to God’s holy and just standard. Do you choose to focus on God’s perspective or on that which man defines as good?
- Think on what is pure – There should be no impurities, nothing unclean that infiltrates our thinking. Do you entertain impure thoughts?
- Think on what is lovely – Man does not always consider those things “lovely” that God does. Are your thoughts centered on beauty through the eyes of heaven?
- Think on what is admirable – Even though the world around us is often characterized by wrong thinking, there are still godly actions and kindnesses that are appreciated by most. Do you dwell on those kinds of things?
- Think on what is excellent – This speaks of outstanding goodness and virtue. Do you discipline your thoughts to focus on the virtuous?
- Think on what is praiseworthy – These are things that would garner applause . . . from heaven and earth. Would God cheer about those things you think about?