Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Thought Filter

"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 these things ."
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Many people struggle with depression, lack of self-esteem, and a negative outlook on life.  Over the years as I have talked with people like this I have found that the root of their problems can often be traced back to what they are thinking about.  In Isaiah 26:3 we are told that God will keep us in perfect peace if our mind is focused on Him.  The things we spend our time thinking about will shape our life and help us to live in peace or cause us to live in turmoil.

The Bible has a lot to say about our thoughts and in Philippians 4:8 we have a good guideline for how to filter the thoughts that come to us.  There are things we could think about that are true, but is that same thought pure and lovely?  While it may be true that some people died in some terrible accident that does not mean we should spend all day thinking about it.  Something may sound very noble, but is it true?  Don't spend time thinking about things that you don't even know to be true.  Just because someone tweeted something or posted something on Facebook does not mean it is true and that you need to think about it!

Philippians 4:8 says that we should think about things that are of "good report".  What is a good report?  In the book of Numbers we see that the ten spies who went to the Promised Land and said that Israel could not conquer the land that God had promised to them gave an "evil report".  So an evil report is something that is contrary to what God has said and a good report is something that agrees with what God has said.  This gives us an easy way to filter our thoughts, is the thing we are thinking about in agreement with what God has said in His Word or not?  If we will use the thought filter we find in Philippians 4:8 we will be able to quickly recognize the wrong kind of thoughts and it will help us to focus on the right things and live a life of peace.

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