Monday, February 22, 2010

Mind fitness

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Philippians 4:1-23

TO CHEW ON: “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on those things.” Philippians 4:8

Thoughts. We all have them. Every waking hour our brains are busy with them. In thinking about thoughts, I find three over-arching principles:

1. Thoughts are powerful. Though the self-betterment movement might give them too much power, there is a lot of truth in sayings like: "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."- Henry Ford

2. Thoughts are private. How often don’t we hear neighbors, friends, even family members of a just-outed criminal expressing shock that such an ordinary-appearing, nice person had it in them to commit a crime.

3. Thoughts have a way of eventually coming out. “As he thinks in his heart, so is he,” says the proverb.

Today’s focus verse is a list of things we do well to think about. Let’s take a quick look at the word origins and facets of these thought directions Paul recommends.

We should think about things that are:

true (alethes): the genuine, real, manifest, unconcealed, actual, opposite of falsehood, concealment, human inconsistency

noble (semnos): dignified, honorable, decent, august, worthy of respect.

just (dikaios): correct, righteous.

pure (hagnos): (from the same root as ‘Holy’), clean, modest, pure, undefiled, morally faultless and without blemish.

lovely (prosphiles): pleasing, agreeable.

of good report (euphemos): a good saying; speech that is gracious, auspicious. Includes avoidance of words of ill omen.

virtue (arete): of intrinsic value, moral excellence, goodness.

praiseworthy (epainos): approbation, approval, praise,

We are to “meditate on" these things (NKJV), “let your mind dwell on (or ponder) them (NASB),” “… think on and weigh and take account of these things – fix your minds on them” (Amplified). Notice the verbs. This is no come-see come-saw wool-gathering, but rather an intentional directing of the thought life by the will.

How fit is your thought life? Do you control your thoughts, or do they control you? As someone who belongs to Christ, you also have the Holy Spirit who can help you set your mind on the right things.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for such specific direction for my thought life. Please help me to take my thoughts in hand and conform them to Your standard. Amen.

MORE: More reading about thoughts:

- "Where the Mind Goes the Man Follows" – by Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer’s book Battlefield of the Mind explores the Christian’s thought life in depth. It is an excellent resource!

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