Well, the apostle Paul gave the early Christians a very basic list of things that we should focus on, and if we do, we will be blessed in our spiritual walk.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Whatever is true - Let your mind dwell on reality and not fantasy. Think about what is actual, and not those things that are assumed. We get into a lot of trouble when we think about things that just aren’t true. We get angry, jealous, and lose touch with people when we spend our time thinking about stuff that just isn’t true.
Whatever is honorable - We should put our mind on things that are characterized by integrity. It is not difficult to think about things that are dishonorable. But we must set a higher standard for our thought life. Set your mind on things that are higher.
Whatever is just - Don’t let the culture or the media determine what is just in your mind. Think about justice the way God does. He doesn’t just do stuff so people will think better of Him. We should think about all of life as God does, with the scales He does. We should weigh out what is right and wrong based on His Word, not think about things according to the law of the day.
Whatever is pure - To be pure is to be unmixed with that which is dirty. It is to be unpolluted. We should set our thoughts on unpolluted things. You wouldn’t want impurities in your water, your milk, your medicine. So why would you think impure thoughts? Whatever your mind dwells on will come out in your life. So if your mind is full of impure things, you will be impure.
Whatever is lovely - These are the attractive things. We live in a world that in the name of individuality idolizes the weird, the random, and the ugly. We are not to spend our time thinking about things that are unattractive. Lovely thoughts draw our minds toward a lovely Creator who makes lovely things. If we dwell on the ugly, we will become ugly.
Whatever is commendable - There are some things that are worthy of praise. There are other things that are worthy of condemnation. We live in a culture that does not like this idea. But it is true. If you fill your mind with things that are condemnable, it will be difficult to produce things in your life that are commendable. When you apply praise to things that are not good, you experience a shift in your ability to choose what is good.
Moral excellence - Again, it is as if Paul is looking into the 21st century. We have lessened the value of moral excellence. Even in the Church there is this idea that we need to distance ourselves from being moral. And if you suggest that Christians are to be morally excellent, or spend their time thinking about moral excellence, you will be accused of being a Pharisee. When did moral excellence become something bad? We all know you can’t be good enough to be saved. But you can be saved enough to be good. Think about right and wrong on the highest level and you will reap the benefits in your life.
Praise - We should dwell on things that praise God. At the end of the day, our hope is not in this world. It is in the God who made this world, and will make the next one. He is worthy of praise. And if you will put your mind on Him, and the things that will cause praise, it will literally change your entire day. If you focus your mind on your problems, you will see more of that.
That should give you some things to think about today. What you put in your physical body is going to determine how well you live. The same is true with your spiritual mind and life. Everyone is going to think about something today. I hope you join me in thinking on a higher plane.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.