Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Brain experts tell us that there is never a moment of our life – awake or sleeping – when we are not thinking about something. Even when we are not actively pondering something, our minds are still active, processing input from our senses, sorting through memories, or mentally chewing on a problem we need to resolve. When we sleep, our thoughts continue, with dreams and the sorting and filing of information received during the previous day. Thinking is a very complicated and involved process, and is not well understood by most of us. In fact, most people assume thinking is pretty much automatic, and there is little we can do about it. But our text tells us that as Christians we should be focusing our thoughts on the good things.

The late David Pethrick had a wise saying: It’s not what a man thinks he is, he is, it’s what a man thinks, he is. In fewer words, we are what we think. The things that occupy our thoughts determine the person we are. A person who dwells on gloomy and sorrowful thoughts will be morose and glum all the time. A person who keeps their mind on happy things and pleasant thoughts will be good natured and enjoyable to have around. That’s why Paul tells the Philippians to keep their thoughts on the delightful list in our text.

We don’t need to look far to find harmful and destructive things to think about. The morning newscast, the chat with the next-door neighbour, the visit to the health clinic, all these can direct our thoughts into places that are unproductive at best and often destructive. God wants our minds to be built up, not mashed down and distorted by the worlds worries and evils. By filling our heads and hearts with the positive and the pleasant, we shape our lives and personalities to be more like those of the Lord Jesus.

During the next few days, we will be looking at some of the things that God wants us to focus our thoughts on. Keep reading, and keep thinking on the things of the Lord! -Jim MacIntosh

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