“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.”
Our lives are influenced by what we think. It is important, therefore, to exercise control over our minds.
Very easily do we indulge ourselves in angry and critical thoughts about others, negative thoughts about ourselves, and doubtful thoughts about God. All of these affect our opinions, relationships and the way we conduct our lives. They do nothing to help us or anyone else.
Christian love begins to look out for the positive and beautiful aspects of life and living and focus on them. This is not artificial and an ignoring of the reality around us, but it is a refusal to merely dwell on weakness and ugliness when it is not helpful. There is beauty all around us. There are fine qualities in many people, including ourselves.
Paul is challenging us to allow the God-given beauty within us – the new and redeemed us, temples of the lovely Holy Spirit Himself – to begin to surface and take control of our thoughts. To give us a new focus, a fresh awareness, and a different perception of truth. In the process we will find an enhanced perception of the loveliness around us, and within others – even in the midst of the challenges and pain of life. We may also find God showing us things that He finds lovely and that delight Him.
To be a positive and healing influence in the lives of others – as we should – then we need to become more like the Lord and less like the world. It starts within us. That means that we should feed ourselves on the love and life and word of God – not mainly on the news of the world.
There are enough armchair critics. Check yourself and step out in a new way.
Father, show me the beauty and the loveliness around me – and the things that are noble and praiseworthy – and help me to be aware of them too. In Jesus name, Amen.