September 10, 2021
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. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NLT
Every now and then you meet someone who stands out from the crowd in a big way. They seem to exude health and hope. They look at the world in a different way. They are calm, positive, uplifting. Nothing seems to set them on their head. They appear to love everyone, even the ones who don’t love them back. Their perspective and attitude are infectious. What’s that about?
Those are the qualities Paul had. In the midst of situations far worse than others were facing he was the uplifter, the encourager. He heard the most discouraging and cruel things about himself from others, but he remained confident. How did he do that? He chose his thoughts. He knew he was not a victim of biology or circumstances. He knew that the religious leaders, the Romans, or the reckless slanderers around him were in charge of his perspective and outcomes. He was by his choice to think appropriately.
Dr. Phil is famous for directing people toward change by saying repeatedly, “Use your verbs.” Paul did. He listed them in this transformative verse:
FIX—Nothing casual here. Fix means to determinedly set, to make a permanent attachment. Fix your thoughts on the things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable. That would begin with fixing our minds on who Jesus is and who He says we are. We get our honest identity from Him.
THINK—Don’t just work to keep negative thoughts out. Actively choose to constantly override the negative by choosing to think about things that are praiseworthy and excellent. That should affect the things we read, the music we choose, the shows we watch, the podcasts, social media, and “information” outlets we deliberately engage with.
KEEP PUTTING INTO PRACTICE—Knowledge not put into practice is not only useless; it is slowly destructive. Our hearts harden and we are less open and susceptible to change. When God gives us truth from the lives of other healthy people or from the Word itself, it is a prescription for our next steps.
Big verbs, big choices, big change. It’s God’s plan.
- God, help me think and live intentionally this week.