How is your thinking?
Anxiety, depression, worry and fear all stem from our thinking.
“You are not what you think you are, but what you think – that you are”
You choose what to think about, and what you think about, affects your whole life.
In Philippians 4, Paul is coming to the end of the letter and he wants to encourage the Philippian church to healthy disciplines. Our thought life is a discipline, meditating on God’s word, allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds daily.
All sin begins with a thought, we see something, and it triggers a thought that leads to temptation.
We hear something in passing and a thought builds that leads to offence and we begin to hold a grudge. Our minds are the epicenter of the spiritual warfare that we are engaged in.
Whenever we begin to believe a lie, Satan has control over us in that area.
There is a battle for the control of our minds, therefore it is imperative for us to daily spend time in God’s word. We live in a world with a constant stream of information. We are saturated with up to 16 hours a day of information and not much of it good. When we neglect feeding on God’s word, saturating ourselves with the truth, we will find it impossible to discern the between lies and the truth. it is impossible to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ without spending time daily meditating on God’s word.
In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul made it clear that we are in a battle for our minds (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
In Philippians 4:8 Paul lists eight adjectives:
1. True: For something to be true, it is genuine, and not counterfeit. In Ephesians 6, we read about the armor of God, of which the belt of truth is the first part of the armor, so that we will be able to stand firm against the lies of the enemy.
2. Honorable: Honorable or noble. Someone who is worthy of respect, who acts honorably is thinking honorably. This is the inward thought life of the follower of Christ.
3. Just: This suggests dealing in justice towards every-person, not given to favoritism or partiality. How we think about people will determine our justice towards them. Do we think about people differently because of the color of their skin, their age, their financial status or their education?
4. Pure: Authentic, stainless or without blemish. A pure glass of water can allow the light to go through unfiltered and clear. We as believers, as we keep ourselves pure, we allow the light of Jesus to shine through us. Sin is impurity that hinders the light of Christ to shine through our lives.
5. Lovely: Something that is lovely is pleasing and orderly. This speaks of harmony of thought not chaotic and hap-hazard thinking. When we allow sin to dwell in our hearts, when we think about impure things, our minds get flustered and easily frustrated.
6. Commendable: This is the opposite of Gossip. In our fallen and sinful state, we tend to gossip about someone rather than commend them. If you want to change the mood and atmosphere in a room, start speaking highly of each other, honoring and commending each other, and those not present.
7&8: Excellence and worthy of praise
Moral excellence is virtue and develops our fellowship with God.
Worthy of praise; to praise someone, rather than to tear them down.
As we look at these eight adjectives, these are the adjectives of the way we should be thinking. As we think about these things, we see that they are adjectives describing God.
God is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy.
God’s word is encouraging us to think about God, spending our time thinking deeply about the Creator God. Meditating on His awesome attributes and worshipping Him.
Then verse 9 Paul writes, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you”
Proper actions come from proper thinking. What we think about will ultimately determine our practices. We often are surprised when someone we know is caught in a grievous sin or criminal activity, but it all begins with improper thinking.
J.D. Pentecost said, “Maturity in the Christian is not measured by what a man knows, but by what a man does.”
Thinking translates to doing and Paul was a living example of the conduct he expected the Philippian believers to walk in. Live by these thought patterns, taking them to heart allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in you and transform your life, then you will know and experience the peace of God.
If you struggle to know the will of God for your life, you need to have a renewal of the mind (see Romans 12:2). Every-day we are exposed to images, words, experiences that soil our minds, we begin to become desensitized to sin and as a result our minds are full of impure thoughts and images. But here is the good news, God is able to transform our minds. As we ask God with repentance and thanksgiving, He renews our minds. Make a daily habit to pray for your mind to be renewed.
King David, after he sinned with Bathsheba he repented in Psalm 51. We read in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” David cried to God to supernaturally renew his spirit to change his thinking.
Our thought patterns can be so destructive.
Thoughts of unforgiveness
Thoughts of shame
Thoughts of rejection
Thoughts of inadequacy.
When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, he didn’t only make a way for us to be made right with God so that we would not have to spend eternity separated from God in Hell.
Jesus also made a way for us to know peace, for us to have renewed minds, healed and restored minds.
How is your thinking?