“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.”
The kind of diet that we are going to have on Thanksgiving Day…. If you ate all of those delicacies and desserts every day, it would kill you!
But we do have a spiritual diet that God offers us that will keep the system running properly, provide health and vitality to all parts of your life, and help you to mature as a Christian and be able to arrive at the CONTENTMENT that God desires for you.
Paul tells us to Think about what is True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable, Excellent and Praiseworthy.
Look at the headlines from this morning’s paper or news program. The media knows that it can capture our attention by publishing alarming things. Bad news sells more papers than good news. It triggers a reaction within us that gets us stirred up.
Paul is not saying, nor am I, that we ignore bad news.
We can’t avoid it and we certainly need to deal with what we can. But the point here is this:
Dwelling on the bad news that you can’t do anything about does not lead to the kind of contentment that God desires for you.
It does not lead to the kind of life that expresses great gratitude and thanksgiving. If we only focus on the dark and tragic things that are going on, we will become depressed and defeated. We need to turn our attention to the good things that God is doing, has done, and has promised to do for us.
To a degree, you become a product of your environment. What do you have on your walls in your house or in your office?
If you come into my office, you’ll see a lot of pictures and mementos. You will see portraits of family, reminders of successes and awards, diplomas, some excellent Christian artwork. I have these in my office to remind me about the most important things in life. I surround myself with them because when I think about each of these, I am reminded about what is substantial in life, what really matters.
Remember this principle: Good in, Good out.
Paul tells us to really focus on these Excellent and Praiseworthy things. Our version this morning said, “Think About Such Things.” Another version says, “Let Your Mind Dwell On These Things.”
Good in, good out.
Do you make time to dwell on the good things of God in your day? The more anxious you are, the MORE important it is that you spend some time dwelling on things that are Excellent and Praiseworthy.
The news is going to fill your head with enough Bad News to get you down. You need to make sure that you are consuming enough Good News to pick you up.
This isn’t some kind of mystical positivity lesson. This is about getting our minds off of the garbage that originates down here, and taking stock of the treasure we have from heaven.
Another way that this word we’ve translated “To Think On” is used in the New Testament is “To Account For.” When you stop what you’re doing, when you cease worrying, and account for and take stock of all the Excellent and Praiseworthy things that are present in your life, it will pull you up out of whatever pit you might find yourself in.
When you fill your mind, your heart and your imagination with the Excellent and Praiseworthy things God has placed in your life, you’ll find greater contentment. You’ll find the kind of contentment that leads to greater satisfaction and gratitude toward God.
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