I remember a funny line from an old sports movie where a lineman of a football team is trying to teach a new player about their teams playing philosophy. He said something like, “Football is 25% physical and 95% mental.” His math didn’t add up, but everyone understood what he meant. Successful football teams often have more to do with planning and determination than talent. I often think living the victorious Christian walk is much the same way.
Paul gives us some instructions about how we are to think in Philippians. He tells us in chapter 4 how we are to “Be anxious for nothing.” He’s is telling us, “Don’t worry about anything.” Then he follows up with the admonition to pray about everything and he tells us to be thankful. It’s a three ingredient recipe consisting of: 1) not worrying, 2) praying and 3) being thankful.
But then he finishes up this section of Philippians with one of my favorite verses. He tells us we are to think about or “meditate on these things.” Those things can be described by at least one of the eight traits he listed. Whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, virtuous, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
He says, we are to think about, or meditate on things which fit this description.
However, isn’t it easy is it to look at and think about negative things? The things that bother me most often aren’t in one of these categories. When someone irritates me or frustrates me, I want to concentrate on some character trait of theirs that isn’t on this list. When a situation doesn’t go the way I wish it or expect it to go, I concentrate and think about the negative elements. I can become discouraged and if the situation is allowed to persist, I may be tempted to turn away from God.
The negative side of things can be easy to see and we can become mired in a sea of discouragement or as I’ve read, we can become a “petri dish of discontent.” We may constantly see only the negative side of things, always expecting to be hurt, offended, and disappointed. We may never walk in victory because we’ve concentrated or “mediated” on things other than what Paul describes here in Philippians 4:8.Paul, who by all rights has an excuse to think about the disappointments of life since he is sitting in a prison cell, is telling the Philippian church (and us) to think about things which are true, noble, just, etc.
The successful Christian life isn’t one of perfection and having an expectation where everything works out to your satisfaction. It is however, a life where we are looking for and thinking about, God honoring elements.
So, what are you going to spend your day thinking about? Those disappointments and hurts? Or can we make a mental switch and begin thinking about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy?
Get in His Word. It is our Most Valuable Treasure. Blessings my friend…