“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.” – Philippians 4:8
I have this scripture verse written out at my desk so that it is visible each and every day. Why? Because my mind can be a battlefield where Satan loves to tempt, twist and lure me down a very destructive path. I tend to be that person who views the glass as half empty. I have also been known to not only listen to the lies of the deceiver when he whispers I am not good enough or do not make a difference, I find myself buying in to his nonsense. And why is it that we can hear encouragement from ten and that one who complains is the one we dwell on? The negative just seems so much easier to accept and believe. So to combat this, I need the Lord’s truth regularly. He knows this!
IT STARTS WITH A THOUGHT
In Mark 12:30 it says to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” How does one love the Lord with “all your mind?” Well I can tell you what it is not. It’s not having that angry thought about a brother or sister who wronged you or keeping that grudge against someone who hurt your feelings. We may be able to fool even ourselves in our thought life, justifying it all, but the Lord of All knows every detail that we entertain there. So when I feel anger, resentment, quick criticism, harsh judgment, jealousy, envy, I have to be very aware of the progressive nature of sin. It starts with a thought. So loving the Lord with all your mind is keeping our eyes fixed on Him. Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is praiseworthy…” And Jesus is the only One worthy of our praise, so it comes back to Him and His perfect example.
WE MATTER INFINITELY TO HIM
If I find that I am struggling, giving in to harmful, unloving thoughts, even when at times it’s directed inward at myself, I have to stop and confess. Years ago, I was in a Beth Moore study, “A Heart Like His: Seeking the Heart of God through a Study of David.” One line in a lesson that jumped off the page in relation to this was: “Getting in the habit of confessing sin in the thought life is not to constantly remind us what wretches we are, but to remind us what victors we are!” We are victorious over sin through our Lord Jesus Christ. Confessing wrong thoughts stop sin in the first stages before it comes out of our mouths or directs our actions. God being the most excellent Father was looking out for our best interest when He commanded us to “Love Him with all of our minds.” He knows our struggles, He knows our individual tendencies and shortcomings. Yet, even in this, He chose to die a criminal’s death to say: I love you! You matter infinitely to me!
David was known as a man after God’s own heart. I want to be a woman after God’s own heart. “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart (what I think upon) be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.” - Psalm 19:14
So as I continue to attempt to fight the good fight in a world that constantly grabs for my attention to pull me in, I will end with this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24:
“Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”