Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, 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 any praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8
In case you think that positive thinking is a new thing… take a look at this Scripture in Philippians, written so long ago by the Apostle Paul! We’re encouraged to think on the following:
- THINGS THAT ARE TRUE. There isn’t much truth to be found in the world today, is there? If you follow politics at all, you know how often the subject of dishonesty and crookedness comes up. Sadly, we know more about what truth does NOT look like than what it does look like. What is true – what do we need to think about and focus our attention on? Glad you asked. The same Bible written so long ago is the inspired Word of God Himself. It is what we trust without question. We make decisions after consulting it and praying to our God through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the only One we can depend on completely. A true thought is one that aligns with God’s laws and ways.
- THINGS THAT ARE HONORABLE. Honor is not a word we hear much anymore. Do people in our world today know what it means? It is a thought worthy of reputation; a thought that deserves respect or esteem. An honorable thought is what is right while transacting business, but it embraces also much more, and means that the Christian is to show respect to all the venerable and proper customs of society, when they did not violate conscience or interfere with the law of God.
- THINGS THAT ARE JUST. A just thought is one that “squares” with God, with your neighbor and with yourself. It agrees with God’s justice and His righteousness. It’s not judging, for only God is a judge for humanity – rather it is a thought that never gives up and holds out hope for everyone, for we know that’s what Jesus does. He wants everyone to come to Him for saving grace. Whosoever surely meaneth me… and anyone else who will come to Christ for salvation.
- THINGS THAT ARE PURE. A pure thought refers to the state of mind and behavior of the body. We need God’s help to achieve all of these, but in our day and age, to have pure thoughts is not possible without God’s Holy Spirit. The moral standards these days do not lend themselves to chastity, but that does not mean that God accepts less than His best from us. God gave you one mind and one body. He wants HIS best for you. He does not want you to settle for anything less. He wants to help you develop pure thoughts and pray for the right relationship in His perfect time.
- THINGS THAT ARE LOVELY. A lovely thought is productive and positive in its intention. It’s born of a good clean way of living and proper code of conduct. It has to do with a temperament check that God’s Holy Spirit is happy to perform on His children if they ask Him to. Think of it this way… if we are children of a patient, loving Heavenly Father, how does it look to others if we are sour, crabby or irritable? How confusing that must be to them! It’s not helpful and does not reflect well on Christianity to find fault with everything, is it? Keep your temper in check – better yet, ask God’s Holy Spirit to “check” it. He will.
- THINGS THAT ARE OF GOOD REPORT. If you got a bad report card, would you show it to all your friends and family? Of course you wouldn’t! You’d possibly want to hide it from everyone. But thoughts that are of good report are ones that you are anxious to share with others because they are ones that are beneficial for your fellow-man. I’m sure we can all think of charitable institutions that are highly regarded and of excellent reputation. These began with a thought of good report! These thoughts are born of a sense of not only charity, but of courtesy, kindness, and respect.
Paul knew he couldn’t possibly hit on every single sort of thought a Christian should have, so he added that if any thought holds virtue or is worthy of praise – think on these things.
Negativity equals negative thinking – and that keeps Christians in neutral. If we ask God’s Holy Spirit to help us, He will help our thinking be so much more positive – which equals productivity – and that keeps Christians pedaling forward, praising God along the way and being the positive influence on the world that God intended us to be!
The best part of all this is, if we ever feel as though we’re falling short of God’s best thoughts (and we all have fallen short) all we have to do is ask God, through Jesus, to forgive us and put us back on track. He is so faithful to do that for us because He loves us so much! 🙂