Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
What are the thoughts you are meditating on? What is the mantra you repeat as you walk? What are the ideas vacillating in your head? Are you concerned with how to feed your family, how to pay the electricity bill, where the rent will come from? Are those thoughts consistent with what God says we ought to think about? Are they true? They may feel that way, but Cherished, they are not true. Jesus said, “Why do you worry about these things? Look at the birds and the flowers. They don’t lift a finger to meet their needs and God takes care of them. How much more does He love you and how much more will He take care of you? People who don’t know God worry about all that. Your Father knows what you need. You can trust Him to take care of you. All you need to do is seek His Kingdom and Righteousness first, all those other things will be given to you.” (Paraphrased Matthew 6:25-34).
What is it you are spending your time thinking about and focusing on? Give it the litmus test. Is it true? Is it honorable? Is it just? Is it pure, lovely, or commendable? Is there excellence in it? Is it worthy of praise? If yes, then think about it. If yes meditate on it but of not, then toss that thought out and choose something that is. What can your “go to” thought be about then? What or who answers a yes to every single question in the verse? The Lord. Jesus is true, in fact He is The Truth and the Way (John 14:6). Jesus is honorable as Revelation 4:11 says
Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.
He is just! Deuteronomy 32:4 says,
The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.
He is pure (1 John 3:3). And oh, Jesus is lovely! He is love (1 John 4:8), and that love is an attractive attribute calling people to recognize Him and come to Him 1 John 4:7-12 in The Message reads,
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
That is excellence! He is superior to all, anything, and everyone. Psalm 145:1-3 says it this way,
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
So, God, our Father, the Son, and His Holy Spirit is worthy of your thoughts and meditation. Think on these things. Also, what we know, we can, and should think about, what we are encouraged to think about that answers yes to our questions is the Word of God. The Word of God is Jesus and also God’s proclamations, scripture which like Jesus is God’s will manifested and demonstrated for us. He put His will on paper for us and it is alive and purposeful (Hebrews 4:12). Look back at Philippians 4:9. “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” We learn and receive and hear by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). That word often comes through one another as we walk this path together. Colossians 3:16-17 reads,
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Yes, the battle often takes place in the mind and we are told to guard it, to not allow the fight to take place there. Proverbs 4:20-27 has this to say,
My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all thei] flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
And going back to Philippians 4 the verses just prior to the where we began remind us, it is not we but He who does the guarding as we meditate or rejoice on the things of God, turning our worries to prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Philippians 4:4-7 read,
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Be aware of your thought life, it can and will affect your actions, walk, and growth. In Luke 6:45, Jesus said,
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Are your thoughts not in alignment with Philippians 4:8? Pray. Praise God. Thank Him. Turn your mind to Him. Do not let your thoughts run away and put turmoil into your heart; take your thoughts captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Much of the battle takes place in the mind, and it is very real. But that is nothing for you to be afraid of, Cherished. Ephesians 6:17 give you a defensive and offensive weapon for the fight, “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Jesus does not leave you alone for the fight. Isaiah 59:16-17 describe Jesus living, interceding and fighting for you.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
What does it look like for you to fight this battle? Meditating on God’s Word, pursuing God’s kingdom and Righteousness is not a busy thing. God said, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). He said that He would fight for us and we only have to be still. (Exodus 14:14). That doesn’t mean do nothing, it means remember He is God and He has us. It means meditate on Him, know Him, and hear and obey the Word and so be conformed to the image of Christ. James 1:22-25 reads,
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Being a doer of the Word does not mean running around doing works to earn God’s favor, it is obedience to His Word, submitting to who He says He is and you are. You already have His favor. He loves you. His gifts, blessings, and salvation are freely given. He does the fighting, the calling, the saving, and the sanctifying. Romans 8:29-39 says it this way,
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i]against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My Cherished Brothers and Sisters, do not let your thought life go unchecked. Maybe for now, no one can see the devastating effects of your dark mind, but the results will spill out of your mouth and into your life. Take control of those thoughts and obey your Lord. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Let the God of peace be with you. Let Him exude from you. Let Him transform you. Let Him renew your mind (Romans 12:2).
I will close with this, The greatest commandment and what all the law and prophets depend on is this, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:36-40). Therefore, to take control of your thought life and meditate on God, His Word, and the good things in Creation is to love God.