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.
Philippians 4:8, NIV*
The previous verses have focused us on God: rejoice in Him, confident He is near. Instead of being anxious, bring our needs to Him with thanksgiving.
Now Paul tells us to discipline our thought life. We can’t control what darts into our minds, but we can choose what we allow to stay. It’s hard work, but most important things are.
The verse isn’t saying to ignore the bad things in the world and live in some kind of la-la-happy-land, but Paul’s just told us how to deal with the issues: bring them to God.
Now he warns us not to take them back and stew on them. That only leads to anxiety, discontent, negativity… a whole host of thankfulness killers.
Instead, we’re to concentrate on good things. Chief among those good things will be God and His work in and around us.
I’m becoming aware how many negative things flit through my mind… often to come out my mouth. Those negatives feed the very anxiety Paul warns us against.
I’ve begun praying “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3, NIV*)
What other thankfulness killers do you know? Do you have any specific verses you use to banish them?
Father, what misery we’d be in apart from You! Thank You for rescuing us, and for giving us the Holy Spirit and Your word. Please help us work with You so we can mature in faith and demonstrate the difference trusting You makes.
A good song to keep our focus is “Give Thanks,” sung here by Don Moen and friends.