You may know what kind of thoughts are not helpful for you. You may know what you should NOT be thinking about. But now what? What’s the point in getting rid of toxic thinking if you are not developing thinking that is helpful for you. The Scriptures give us an amazing grid of what to look for when developing your thought life. Remember, only you can decide what you are going to listen to in your thinking.Only you can decide what you are going to listen to in your thinking. Click To Tweet
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If there was ever a Scripture that most people do NOT practice, it is this one.
Do you notice that most of what is listed here is not what many spend their time thinking on or even talking about?
God wants us develop radar for the best kind of thoughts and move towards them. If there be any of these characteristics presented, direct your thoughts towards them. But what do those words mean?
Take a look:
The Best Thoughts Are Thoughts that Are:
Thoughts that are true are first based on God’s truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, so our meditation needs to fall on who He is and the nature of God working in us.
True means not concealing or hiding things, which means that in our thoughts, we are walking in the light of God, so as not to live in the shadows of the enemy. In a world that thrives on secrecy and hidden evil, we let the light of God expose our thoughts to bring purity to us. When we pursue what is true, we pursue the light, meaning we are not trying to play games with ourselves or deceive others in our motivations. It means we choose to pursue true and unhindered relationship with God, ourselves and others.
Walking in the light of truth is a place of love, not punishing exposure. Truth exposes, but it must be done in love.Walking in the light of truth is a place of love, not punishing exposure. Click To Tweet
Satan is an accuser who loves to take some facts and mix it with lies to present it as the truth. Its important to know when it comes to God’s Kingdom, facts are a lot different than THE truth, especially the truth that sets us free. Just because you see some facts, doesn’t mean it lines up with the truth of who God is and what He can do in a situation.
The news and media thrive on taking partial facts or rumors and presenting them as gospel truth, yet a higher place of maturity is learning to have a filter for only what is true in the deepest sense.
In order to walk in truth, we have to be careful about the modern gossip culture, which gets us caught in relational webs of lies. Some helpful things to live in:
- If I am not a part of the problem or the solution, I try to not make it a topic of idle discussion.
- Listen to news first person whenever possible.
- Be careful to not take a truth and apply it out of order.
- Don’t judge without love. Remember that mercy triumphs over judgment.
An honest filter looks out for those things that are honorable. The word honesty speaks of cultivating honor and where we foster thinking surrounded by honesty, integrity and love. Honor is a high value in the kingdom, especially when we are able to honor others who, from man’s view, don’t “deserve it.” True honor is not just expressed externally, for that can easily be done as lip service. True honor for others begins as a deliberate intent of the heart.
We can defend our thoughts and actions of dishonor towards certain people as valid expression with an excuse that we “just being honest.” Yet honesty here also involves honor. In a culture that will quickly dishonor a leader, president or famed person, a believer with a healthy thought life will still seek to honor a person as a human being, created in the eyes of God for His purpose.
Learning to honor others, even when they come against you and slander you is a power place of true spiritual authority.
It is my desire to cultivate a culture of honor in my life and relationships, where I honor who God made someone to be and honor where they are in their life. Honoring people in your thinking and actions will do more to bless them and change their life than bringing any form of religious correction that shames them. In the midst of a disrespectful and dishonoring generation, those who step up to honor authority and see value in others will gain the mass reward of touched lives.
Our highest priority ought to bring honor to God, yet in that flow, we ought to love and honor one another. This means that I should give honor first. I do not wait for someone to honor me before I give it out.
God loves justice (Isaiah 61) and He desires that we be carriers of proper justice in our world. That which is righteous and just looks not only for fairness, but for the execution of what is right in conduct and action towards others. Believers should be the first to plead for those who cannot defend or stand for themselves.
Our thoughts ought to lean on seeing help brought to those who are not helped. We must never let our thoughts stray from helping the widows, the poor and seeking proper justice for the ignored.
Thinking on thoughts that are “just” focuses our attention on the blessing of others, especially those who have been wronged or are in need.
Developing meditation and patterns that focus on pure thoughts involves keeping our motives pure, for we can be easily deceived as to our true motives.
Purity is a condition of the heart where a person has truly allowed the work of God to bring transformation to the inner man.
Psalms 24:3–4 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
One of the characteristics of today’s generation is the loss of purity in our thoughts and meditations. So therefore, we carry a shame on our lives that affects our ability to have the best relationships, with God and others. Moving towards thoughts that are pure takes an intentional investment, in the secret place of our lives. Many think they can get away with meditating on impure thoughts, but at some point what you tolerate will at some point dominate.The garbage you tolerate will some day dominate. Click To Tweet
This work lovely is a combination of the word phileo, which is “brotherly affectionate love,” and another word meaning “to move towards.” Lovely thoughts will stir us in loving affection towards each other. Loveliness motivates us to think about others, rather than being so entrenched in our own battles. It also teaches us to find the jewel in every person and identify loveliness in every situation that we are in.
Putting on this cloak of phileo love (affectionate love from the heart) creates an atmosphere that extends love towards others and makes them feel accepted. How can you begin to stir up lovely thoughts about others in your life?
6. Good Report
This one could change your life today. Simply looking for a good report in all things sets you up for a hope that in unshakable.
A good report is a reputable or trustworthy report. In the Scriptures, God said, who has believed our report? (Isaiah 53:1)
Can we fix our view on good things, a good report of the future, a good report about others and a good report about ourselves? The Gospel means good news, and our spiritual DNA thrives on the hearing of and meditation on good news. In fact, the Bible tell us that a good report makes our bones fat! (Proverbs 15:30)
A good report does not mean living in denial. It means focusing on the ability of God in the midst of our circumstances.
Thinking on virtuous things involves meditation on who God is, while letting His nature join us in our thoughts. Virtue is the divine power and nature of God working through us; the essence of God being revealed.
The nature of God and His virtue must be added to our faith so that we can manifest who God is.
Virtue actually left Jesus when they touched Him. He was so full of God that it poured out to everyone who interacted with Him. Virtue is what can be released in moments of ministering to others. You don’t minister just what you have, but who you ARE in God!
You give out what you have received, where who God is in you blesses someone else. Meditate and dwell on the great power of God that dwells in you richly. Ask Him to take His nature and let it flow out of your members to others!
Praise is the expression of a narration, telling the story of who God is and all that He has done. This word speaks of a story that presents God and His greatness. It involves a declaration for all nations to hear.
Praise raises God to the highest place in our hearts, so that all His enemies become scattered away. Praise is always preceded by the cultivation of thanksgiving. You cannot have powerful praise without thanksgiving and gratitude being offered up. We enter His gates with thanksgiving. We then proceed to His courts with praise after thanksgiving has been stirred up properly. If you desire for heaven to open up over your thinking, then learn to cultivate a thankful heart that opens the window for dynamic praise.Praise raises God to the highest place in our hearts, so that all His enemies become scattered away. Click To Tweet
For our thoughts to produce life, we must make an intentional effort to cultivate a praiseworthy atmosphere in our hearts:
- Praise must begin with thanksgiving. (Psalm 100)
- Praise involves remembering (Psalm 143:5, 1 Samuel 17:37)
- Praise declares who God is. (Psalm 91:2)
- Praise involves encouraging ourselves in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6)
- Praise is words spoken to God. (Hebrews 13:5)
- Genuine praise to God needs to be spoken to each other. (Ephesians 5:19–20)
- A heart of praise looks for things to praise God about! (Philippians 4:8)
- Praise sets the stage for powerful worship and intimacy to grow. (Psalm 95:1–7)
Question: What of these thoughts can you begin applying right now?
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