Thinking About What You Are Thinking About-

Mar 8, 2024 | Encouragement

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

One of the biggest struggles I have encountered in trying to encourage people is what we might call “negative thinking patterns” or the slang term “stinking thinking.”

People have developed patterns of thinking that affect their worldview along with the way they view themselves. Sometimes these thinking patterns are harmful or destructive. As I grew in my faith life, I also had to learn to put off negative thinking (to a certain degree) and put on praise of God, or positive thinking. In the past, I never thought about my thoughts.

Here in Philippians 4 verse 8, it says it all. As Christians we are to aim at dwelling on the lovely, the pure, the noble, anything praiseworthy instead of the negative, the ugly, the worst-case scenario, and the thoughts of self-hatred. You might think as a Christian we would never enter that domain. Think again. Many struggle with focusing on good in their thought life. The result is living a defeated life that is lacking in faith.

So what is the opposite? It is frisking your thoughts (as one Christian author says) with Philippians 4:8, whatever is good, lovely, and pure, respectable. I believe we need to ask God for grace and power to overcome negative thinking patterns. Sometimes these sinful patterns of thought deeply penetrate an individual’s persona.

I have observed two reasons for this. First, someone was told they are not worth much from another person’s viewpoint. Second, the individual has internalized what they believe about themselves for other reasons and it has become faulty thinking.

The way to overcome this is through prayer, asking God’s grace and power to overcome. It is also replacing negative thoughts about yourself and your world with God says to be true. This method is putting off the old and putting on the new person. It is taught in Ephesians 4:22-32. As Christians we are called to a new, godly way of living that includes our thoughts about our world and ourselves.

Have you met a person who can’t see good in any situation? The cup is always half empty, never full.

I am thankful that I have inherited a resilient outlook on life. I gravitate towards being an optimist to a fault. My thought patterns aren’t always what they should be, though.

For instance, when I am tired and weary and making mistakes, I often turn to scold myself. Sometimes harshly. I know what I am supposed to be thinking, but in hindsight, I fail. Not as often as I used to, still sometimes even as I counsel others in this area.

W can’t think good thoughts about ourselves, our world, and other people because sometimes (only sometimes) there aren’t too many lovely things to think about, to be honest. In that case (and always) we need to focus on God and keep our focus on His world to renew our minds.

That is enough for today. I will revisit this topic because we have only just begun. There have been volumes written on this subject and I believe it can make or break your life.

For now, please do some self-evaluation whether your thoughts good, true, lovely, and of excellent report?

How would God want you to ask for grace in changing sinful or negative thought patterns?

Begin by thinking about what you think about and asking God for grace to think His thoughts of you or your circumstances.

A few examples:

1. Negative Thought- “This life is nothing but heartaches and trials. I am so sick and tired of it all.”

God Honouring Thought- “My life is hard right now, but as I pray, God will get me through. There will be many joyful times.” (Isaiah 43:2, Acts 3:19-21)

2. Negative Thought- “All I do is make mistakes. I failed again.”

God Honouring Thought- “I am tired, I have made a few mistakes. When I am rested, things will go better with God’s help.” (Psalm 55:22)

3. Negative Thought- There is just no hope in my situation, nothing is changing, I am quitting.”

God Honouring Thought- “Things are hard right now, but God gives me hope. I am not about to give up. With God I can scale any wall.” (Psalm 18:29)

Please do the homework of looking up the Bible Verses given. It’s so easy with google.

May God bless you, dear reader, with a beautiful, good, and lovely, blessed weekend.

One more thing… check your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

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