I can control my thoughts
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
If you grew up in a Christian home, you might have spent hours memorizing this verse as a child. I tried so hard to get to where I could say each one of those things in order - true, honest, just, pure… and it became one of those verses that I just chanted instead of dwelt on.
But this verse is far more important than that. Just yesterday I was teaching a group of teenagers and I used this verse to talk about the battle in our minds. Can you imagine being able to ignore every thought that didn’t fit the criteria of this verse? To be able to dwell only on the lovely? Or the true?
This whole series has been about trying to speak the truth to myself. About truths that give me hope. And the truth is, I can control my thoughts. I’m not saying I’ll never have some crazy, weird, or even sinful thoughts - they say that we think 60,000 per day. Not every one of those is going to be lovely or of good report.
But I can control them. I can choose what I dwell on. What I think about during the day. What I carry with me.
There are two verses that come right before our list in Philippians of things to think about.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Why is it so important to fight this daily battle in our minds? To keep this list and try to corral those 60,000 thoughts?
Because we’re looking for peace. Or at least I am. I need more of that every day. And not just a false peace that comes from no conflict, or sleep, or quiet, but a peace that passes understanding. The peace of God.
Philippians 4 tells us that peace comes through Christ Jesus and keeps our hearts and our minds. And then the very next verse tells us how to go about it. By thinking on these things. The true. The pure. The lovely. By controlling our thoughts.
This is not something I can do on my own. Oh no. 60,000 thoughts corralled each day? That’s far beyond my strength. But interestingly enough, the verse we talked about last week? The one that says I can do all things through Christ? That verse comes just a few verses after these ones. So last week’s truth of I can do all things God asks me to, leads perfectly into this week’s truth.
I can control my thoughts. I can think on the lovely. On the pure. On the honest. On the good reports.
I can think on those things that are true.
But only with His help.