We make choices all the time and our thoughts guide our choices and our attitudes, perhaps even more than we realize. These thoughts and beliefs affect our emotions and also our actions. There is good reason why God tells us in His Word to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5.) In Proverbs 23:7 it states that as a man thinks within himself, so he is. This truth has some huge implications. How do you think of yourself? What do you set your thoughts on? If we think negatively about ourselves, it is reflected outwardly. The reverse is also true, if we choose to see ourselves as a precious child of God, we reflect that out to others.
Philippians 4:6-8 is a wonderful scriptural example of how to change our thoughts. Verse 6 starts out to tell us not to be anxious, but with thanksgiving, to present out requests to God. In verse 7 we are then told that God’s peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds. And finally verse 8 tells us to think on what is true, honorable, pure, right, and lovely. We are to think on what is excellent and trustworthy. Verse 6 is telling us to stop the old patterns, verse 7 follows with how God’s peace will then be with us. Verse 8 is the reminder to replace the old patterns of thinking, those anxious thoughts, with positive thoughts. Verse 8 is a challenge to me many times. I have to stop and ask myself if I am thinking on what is right or what is wrong in a certain situation and circumstance. By our own human nature, it is often much easier and more natural to think on what is wrong. Scripture does not have to remind us to think about what is bad or why life is not fair, we do that so well on our own. Instead, scripture reminds us to focus on the things that are good and right. Doing so can elevate our mood tremendously and help us to begin to pour out positively to others. Thinking on what is right, noble and pure – replacing the anxious ways of thinking with the new ways of thinking is a learned skill, something we must practice everyday to begin to change our thought patterns. It is a discipline, but a discipline, when practiced, can bring many rewards.
What will you think on today, what is going well or what is going wrong? We have a choice each day to be anxious or to seek peace. Seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14