“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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Martha was so frustrated with her marriage. She had dreams of marrying her knight in shining armor who would leave flower petals on her pillow, be distracted by her beauty, and pledge his undying love on a regular basis. She dreamed of having three doting, obedient, well-mannered children that she could dress-up in cute little outfits and parade down the church aisle on Sundays. Her tidy home would come with a well manicured lawn, two and a half baths, and perfectly coordinated décor. She would be the happy homemaker who joyfully mopped the beautiful kitchen floor in her size six khaki slacks, shabby chic blouse, and stylish hair cut. She could almost picture Mr. Clean winking at her from the corner of the room, giving his hearty approval of the smile on her flawless face.
But life had not turned out like Martha expected. Her knight did come along, but his armor began to tarnish soon after they said, “I do.” He left his smelly socks on the floor, had a love affair with the TV remote, and hardly noticed all the work she did to keep the house clean and orderly.
Life sure has not turned out the way I thought it would, she thought. I am bored and unappreciated. Romance: that’s what I want. This man wouldn’t know romance if it hit him in the face. Why should I care how I look? He sure doesn’t care about his appearance. Look at that gut? He complains about me gaining weight? Well, he hasn’t seen nothin’ yet. I’ve made a huge mistake. I just want someone who will love me and appreciate me. Is that too much to ask?
And the kids? They never do what I ask. They’re disobedient, loud, and messy. I don’t know when I’ve seen a clean floor last and I’m sure not happy while mopping. And where is Mr. Clean anyway?
The enemy had slowly crept in while Martha was unaware. Unmet expectations became the breeding ground for the lies to grow. He planted the seeds of discontent one disappointment at a time. Rather than thinking how she could make her marriage better, she begins to think about how she could get out of it. Rather than enjoying her rambunctious spirited children, she loathed their energy. Rather than being thankful that she had a home and family to clean up after, she complained about the dirt.
Martha just needs to give her life to Jesus, you might say. But she has! She is a Christian, so on top of her disappointment with life, she adds guilt to it all. I’m a bad Christian, she thinks. If I was a better Christian, I’d be happy. What’s wrong with me?
The enemy’s trademark is stamped on this woman’s thought life. He has taken her down a road of stinkin’ thinkin’. While she assumes that these thoughts are her own, it is the enemy who makes the suggestion. She simply buys into them and makes them her own. They become her own version of reality – her own version of the truth. But it is not God’s truth. When we know the truth, the lies stick out like a two ton elephant in a herd of sheep.
Paul gave us an effective lie detector through which to filter our thoughts in Philippians 4:8-9.
Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Now that is a lot to think about, considering that the mind thinks about 130 words per minute. But the good news is – we are not on our own. God has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to do all that He has called us to do.
Paul doesn’t just leave us with the qualifying list; he gives us the means by which to implement it. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice.” It takes practice! Practice! Practice! Practice!
But look at the result…”And the God of peace will be with you.”
Dear heavenly Father, help me to realize when my thinking needs adjusting. I know that I cannot act differently than I think. Help me to run my thoughts through the sieve of Philippians 4:8. Then Your peace will rule in my heart.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Make a list of the litmus test for right thinking and carry it around with you today.
Ask yourself, is this thought:
If your words or thoughts don’t pass the test, then push the delete button and erase that stinkin’ thinkin’!
Additional Resouce Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, If you need to start speaking the truth to yourself about yourself, then this is the book for you. And if it is the words that