This is the second Monday that we are talking about Philippians 4:8. Our thoughts define our actions, and we need to examine ourselves constantly to make sure we are focusing on things that are healthy. God’s Word outlines it pretty clearly. Instead of thinking on things that will hurt us, defeat us, drain us, anger us, and make us miserable, let’s learn more about the thoughts that will grow us and make us stronger. Here is Philippians 4:8 again:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Think on things that are honorable…
When I looked up the definitions for “honorable,” the two that stood out to me were these: “characterized by integrity” and “deserving of honor.” And here are some of my favorite synonyms: decent, ethical, honest, principled, respectable, righteous, upstanding.
Are your thoughts characterized by integrity? Do they deserve honor? Do the synonyms of honorable encompass your thought life?
Thoughts lead to actions. If we are not honoring God, others, and ourselves in our thoughts, we will not be honoring in our actions.
Before you dwell on the anger you have toward your spouse, ask yourself if your thoughts are honorable.
Before you consume yourself with your frustrations at work and how you wish your boss would just leave the company, ask yourself if your thoughts are honorable.
Before you tell yourself how bad of a person you are, ask yourself if your thoughts are honorable.
Before you allow any kind of anger, negativity, frustration, lust, or envy to devour your mind, ask yourself if your thoughts are honorable.
Guess what? The answer will always be “no.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23.
Thinking on THESE things is honorable.
We are to be honoring to God, others, and ourselves. 1 Timothy 1:17 says, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be HONOR and glory forever and ever.” 1 Peter 2:17 tells us to “honor everyone” and Ephesians 6:2 instructs us to “honor your father and mother.”
Here is the bottom line: If a thought is not honoring to God, others, and yourself, it is NOT honorable.
Think on things that are just…
Ahh.. justice. How many times do we catch ourselves saying, “it’s not fair!”? And how many MORE times are we thinking about the unfair things in our lives? We spend a lot of time wondering when we are going to finally get “what we deserve.” In fact, most of our “just” thinking is actually about things that we consider to be “unjust.”
How can we stop our negative thoughts about our perceived injustices? We need to stop dwelling on the things we think are so bad in our lives. We need to begin to focus on the amazing blessings that we all have. Considering that we live in America, we are blessed beyond measure.
If you have a home to live in, you are blessed.
If you have a car to drive, you are blessed.
If you always have clothes to wear and food to eat, you are blessed.
If you have someone or several someones that you call your family, you are blessed.
If you can talk about Jesus in public, you are blessed.
There are many people in this world that cannot say yes to ANY of these questions. When you take into account this point-of-view, it is hard to use the words, “it’s not fair.” So, let’s think about how “fair” we actually have it. Think on the blessings in your life, not the things you wish you had. We need to be filling our minds with good, not bad.
Along with stopping our thoughts about injustice, we need to be thinking about how we, ourselves, can be more just. More fair. Before you make a business deal, leave a tip, deal with someone who has hurt you, or whatever else the situation may be, ask yourself how you can proceed with justice.
The Bible says that Noah was a just man. I want to be called just. Don’t you? It starts in our minds.
Next week: Think On Things That Are Pure