The sign below hangs in my bedroom. I initially purchased it because it matched the color scheme and I liked the way it sounded. However, I have read it weekly and always wondered what it truly meant. At the same time, in the hustle and bustle of life, I never made it a priority to find out. But I just read it again and wondered…hmm.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Philippians 4:8
Then voila! Today in my Bible app on my phone it came up as the verse of the day. The timing of God is once again impeccable as I have been praying for quite some time to clear my brain of a few thoughts that continually pop up and I think “that was not of me, but the enemy” and “I am going straight to hell for that thought.” I’m too embarrassed to share them! It is definitely an area of personal growth that I need. 😉
Let’s go through what I have learned, shall we?
This verse is pointing us to what type of thoughts should fill our minds. If there was ever something to be intentional about, it is this. Think about it this way: we have between 60,000 - 80,000 thoughts per day. How many is that in an hour? 2,500 to 3,300 per hour. Sit with that a moment. Profoundly remarkable, isn’t it?
Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our thoughts were good? But many are negative and toxic. And we all know that negative thoughts breed even more negative thoughts. All those thoughts you keep on a loop, going round and round in your head, popping up when we least expect them, or even coming so often that we don’t even know they are there.
This loop of thoughts determines the direction of your life!
I know that I have spent many a season in a negative thought pattern and I suffered for it, as did those around me. Yikes! The good news is that this verse serves as a guide to help us test out our thoughts.
As to the question, “should I be thinking this thought?” The verse tells us to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. I don’t know about you, but I know some of my thoughts definitely don’t fall in these categories.
One of the most important questions we should ask ourselves about our thoughts is, “are they true?” Often, our thoughts are simply not true. Yet, we can twist those thoughts and make them true to us. Fact-check yourself with a little dose of reality with this question. It is imperative that we focus on what is authentic and real.
God says that we are esteemed because we are His children. I’m not talking about arrogance, but the fact that we should not be allowing ourselves to think unkind thoughts about ourselves. Here’s a little test. If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, why on earth are you saying it to yourself?
Boy oh boy, I am a right fighter in recovery. This one hits home. Many of us want to be right — or to put it another way, we want to be the one who is never wrong. Who do you actually know that is right all the time? Nobody, except God. Often, we are too busy fighting to be right, we don’t even allow our desire to be “right” sink into our brains to stop us and ask, “is this truly accurate?”
Having a pure heart isn’t as hard as it seems. It’s simply choosing to let our thoughts be ethical, good, and honest. When they are not, change them immediately.
This word makes me cringe at first, not sure why. Another area of work I need to do, perhaps?!?! It really isn’t a word that is used very much. I went to look up the definition and it means to see things in a way that is beautiful, and to allow our minds to think about the awesome and gorgeous things in our surroundings.
We all want to be admired, to be thought of in a positive light. But do we want to have admirable thoughts? Are our thoughts credible and distinguished enough to allow us to live in a way that is commendable?
Excellence is thought of as the best of the best. When our thoughts are excellent it allows us to live our lives in an exceptional way. This is one area where I think the light of Jesus shines through us to others.
Worthy of praise
What thoughts are worthy of praise? I am left to think that only thoughts about God are deemed worthy of praise. His ways, His plans, His creation, just to name a few. Isn’t your life better when your thoughts are on Him? I know mine is!
The more we take the time to test our thoughts and use this as a guide, the less we will need to do it. We will eventually come to naturally know if our thoughts meet up to the standards written in this verse.
With all this said, I get it is impossible to adjust every single, stinking, negative thought we have. I mean, see above. Ahem…my secret thoughts I think might send me straight to hell at times. Eeek! But we can certainly try to free our minds from negative thinking, one thought at a time.