By Ricky Chelette
“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. …practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8
I daydream a lot, do you? Well maybe it is not a lot and maybe its not even daydreams, but it doesn’t take much for my mind to wander off into thinking about all kinds of things: What so-and-so is up to? Does that dove outside my widow have a nest near by? How did someone think to make a computer so small and so powerful? How many people called into work sick today who really aren’t sick? How is black a color if it really is the absorption of all colors? My mind thinks about a lot of things.
Those thoughts are not so bad and some of them, if answered, are even rather interesting. But I know that my mind can also go to places it shouldn’t. I can think of all kinds of evil, vile, wicked, and yes, even perverse things that only draw my heart away from God. I can easily become enamored with personal pleasures over spiritual truth. I have to admit, I get those thoughts. I bet you do too.
Paul, being an astute observer of human nature and knowing man’s bent toward sin, was well aware of such bad thinking. He knew the body would never go to a place where the mind had not already been. He wanted the people in Philippi to be holy, Godly people. And he knew there were many who try to pull them away from Christ, those he called, “enemies of the cross of Christ” (3:18). These people weren’t necessarily doing terrible things (though some were), but their focus was not on the things of God. They elevated personal pleasure and satisfaction as the goal of human flourishing, redefining sin, and elevating feelings over truth.
Paul knew that to keep our lives on track with Jesus we needed to think correctly. We need to keep our mind on things that are lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. It’s not much different today. In a world where most messages we hear draw us away from God rather than to Him, Paul’s words seem as contemporary as the evening news. We can learn something from his admonition.
One great way to keep our mind thinking right is as simple as starting every day with God’s Word. I know it sounds hokey, but I can personally attest that it will change your life and your thoughts. Pick a Bible reading plan from YouVersion.org or other site. Pick a plan that you can reasonably do each day and make it the first thing you do in your day. Sure it will mean you have to wake up a little earlier or make time in your day for it, but it will help you see the things that are “worthy of praise.” Your daydreams might just turn into God moments of clarity, revelation and truth. Think upon these things!