“Bethanyland is a magical place,” I like to say to my husband when he calls me back to reality because I stopped listening and got lost in thought (again). The truth is, I spend a lot of time thinking. Most of us do.
We dwell on things in the shower, in the car, at work, while we exercise, while we cook and clean, while we’re falling asleep….and yes, even while we’re supposed to be listening.God makes clear in Scripture that He wants us to be purposeful with our thoughts. Click To Tweet
We’re to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).
But what are we to do with those captive thoughts and our Christ-focused minds?
“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
It’s a lovely thought, right?
To think on true, lovely, excellent things?
Sometimes, in this messy, busy life lived in a world of suffering, chaos, and sin, I have a hard time thinking of such good things to think about.
Betsy DeCruz, in a post on memorizing Scripture, says: “most days I could use something better to think about than my own whining thoughts.”
Her suggestion is to memorize Scripture. This, and several other instructions in Scripture, clue us into what’s true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy- AKA:
What we should think about.
Think About Scripture
God’s own Word definitely meets the “to think on” qualifications of Philippians 4:8. While memorization and in-depth Bible Study are excellent ways to get your mind on Scripture, thinking about God’s Word doesn’t always have to be formal.
For example, I’ve learned that trying to take in a breadth of the Bible in the morning isn’t as profitable for me as reading until a verse grabs my attention. I type the reference into my Bible app and continue to steal glances at it all day, so that each day I’m continually thinking on that bite of God’s truth.
Think About Good Gifts
A number of Bible passages reiterate the charge to give thanks in all things. Being grateful to God comes by thinking on His good gifts and generosity. It’s much harder to get lost in worries, “what ifs,” and greedy thoughts when we’re marveling at God’s good provision.
Think About Those God So Loved
Many introductions and conclusions in the Epistles demonstrate what the apostles thought about: the church and the unsaved they desired to reach. We’re likewise to be so invested in others that we think often about, and pray often for, their spiritual development and relationship with Christ. This sort of thinking is far more noble and admirable than dwelling on he said-she-said, past conflicts, or other worldly-relationship-things.
Think About Who You’ve Offered to Pray For
“Praying” is easy to type or even say when people share their hurts and needs. Instead of focusing endlessly on our own requests and situations, or what we saw in our social feeds, or fictional plots we’re waiting to see resolved when the next episode releases, we could think on (and pray for) those we’ve said we would.
Think About God Himself
It’s hard to think about God and His attributes and His character and not end up dwelling on what’s true, right, pure, etc. The person of Christ, who we have a relationship with as believers, is worth thinking on.
If that seems weird- think about how you often think about the character of people you love and admire. You reflect on how kind your husband is, you dwell on the self-control of your mentor as she struggles through something with incredible dignity and commitment. Those kinds of thoughts grow our relationship with and respect for others. This is true when we think about God’s character, too.
What sorts of (noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy) things do you think about?
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