Jump Start # 2049
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
I have always liked this verse. It’s a display case of what we ought to be thinking about. But there in lies the problem. When do we have time to sit around and think. Our culture doesn’t do that. We are up with an alarm in the morning and immediately we are on the run. There is little down time at work. We come home and there is family, meal time, some TV, maybe out to a movie, then we crash in bed exhausted ready to start the same thing the next day. On Saturdays, we get a little more time to catch up on sleep. Sunday, it’s off to the church house. Just when do we let our minds dwell? Even when driving, the music is on, the phone rings and there is little dwelling time.
Here are some thoughts for us:
First, the passage reminds us that God is concerned with what we are thinking about. If there was ever a case to be made for control or legalism, some might point to this. God is not just concerned with the big things, but even the things we think about. What we think about illustrates what is in our hearts and from our thoughts our behavior is formed. The list Paul gives, eight categories, are all positive, good and up lifting. It’s not just your behavior, but your thoughts that God is concerned with. Think right.
Second, you’d be surprised to find moments in every day to do some godly thinking. When you are exercising or going for a walk. When you are in stores. When you are in the car, turn the radio off, and think. Sprinkled throughout our days are moments to think. Especially true when you are in bed at night. Put your mind to good use by thinking good things.
Third, Paul’s list does not contain the specifics for each category. That’s up to us. Whatever is lovely. What’s that? Many things can fall under that subject. You are thinking about those things. In doing that, you are shutting out wrong thoughts, evil thoughts, lustful thoughts and thoughts just about you. How you are treated by others, is pushed out of your mind. Greed, materialism, counting your wealth, all of that gets replaced with pure, good, lovely thoughts. By doing this, our attitudes and our priorities are being realigned.
Fourth, when we think about these things that God wants us to, two actions spring from this. First, it makes us thankful. We become thankful for what is pure, right and lovely in life. We lower the nets more and give thought to these things spiritually. The second thing this does is that it leads us to action. We think about the good people in our lives, we may then drop them a note expressing our appreciation. When we think about things that are right, such as teaching the Bible, we then realize that we need to be active in that and utilize those opportunities ourselves. Thinking about these things leads to positive change within us.
Fifth, we are at the driver’s seat of what we think about. Let your mind dwell on these things, puts us at the control of our thoughts. Filling our minds with hatred, violence and prejudice will only lead to wrong thinking, wrong attitudes and wrong actions. Taking away guns from young people will not change the way many are choosing to think. Why do some think the worst? Why are some so negative? Why do some dwell upon what is wrong? Why do some dwell in evil? Choice. Maybe there is no role models. Maybe there is no one to guide them. Maybe there is no Bibles opened to this passage. What a challenge before all parents to teach their children how to think properly. What you fill your mind with shapes you and forms you. Movies laced with foul language becomes the source of bad language in and around us. Filling a heart with praise of God, being thankful, makes a person a blessing to others and it opens their eyes to help others.
What are you thinking about? We are the product of what we think about. A mind filled with goodness will be a life filled with goodness. A mind filled with turmoil will be a life torn with worry, fear, doubt and stress.
What are you thinking about?