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 (NIV)
Have you ever noticed how quickly negative thoughts can creep into your life and skew how you see things? In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he tells the church to focus their minds on positive things.
Paul knew human nature and how deeply it is affected by sin. While God designed us to live in harmony with him, sin has broken that relationship. You might think that when you commit your life to Christ, the renewing of your mind that takes place would mean that we no longer would think negative thoughts. If only that were true! Wouldn’t it make life so much easier! However, the process of becoming more Christ-like takes a lifetime. There is a constant struggle between the physical and the spiritual in our lives and we have to guard against allowing the physical to take precedence.
Paul also knew that a spirit of negativity can start by affecting one person in a relationship and spread almost imperceptively until it affects others. This can happen in a marriage relationship, in a church fellowship, or in work.
Paul’s remedy is quite straightforward. He encourages his readers to think about certain things. The things we are encouraged to think about are anything that is:
Thinking in this way is a choice we make. We can choose to either think negatively or positively.
I’ll leave you with a final thought from Paul:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NIV)