“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.”
The world is inclined to judge by action and appearance. God looks at the heart and indeed knows even the thoughts of man.
A young person in a confirmation class once asked if it was true that God knew everything that they thought. When told that it was the immediate response was ‘how embarrassing!’ It is embarrassing – not only because God knows but also because we are confronted with the truth about some of our thoughts. They can be negative, vicious, vengeful, impure, critical, judgmental, faithless, uncaring and untrue. Whilst they might not become evident in specific actions or activities they can and do influence the ways in which we look at the world and at others, and they do colour the ways in which we see ourselves and live. The ongoing effect is often that it becomes extremely difficult to break the habit, and our mind can revert to such thinking by itself because that is the groove that we have made for it.
In terms of the new life that we have chosen and accepted, and the new way of life that it calls for, Paul urges us to look to our minds and with God’s help to establish new habits of thought.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
The way of thinking that Paul describes is the way of love. The way of the world is normally the opposite. It is for this reason that we should also keep praying that God will continually fill our hearts with love, particularly when we catch ourselves out in our thinking.
“God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
A heart filled with love will incline towards lovely thoughts.
Watch your thoughts – think of ‘lovely’ alternatives where necessary – practice them. Live your relationship with God.
Heavenly Father please help me to think as a true child of God, in Jesus name, Amen.