What you think and what you practice
Scripture I read: Philippians 4
S: Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about these things. Philippians 4:8
O: Verse 9, right after this verse says "what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things".
So Paul does something super cool here because he doesn't just give us a clear cut answer on what we should be thinking, but also what we should be DOING!
V8 says to think about things that are: -noble -right -pure -lovely -admirable -excellent -praiseworthy
V9, based on what we see in Paul (through the book of Philippians), we should practice: -believing God finishes what He starts -praying for others to know Jesus more -believing that God has you where you are to advance the gospel -declaring to live is Christ and to die is gain -desiring to be with Jesus, but also being eager to finish your work here -establishing a manner worthy of the gospel -remembering that if you suffer, you suffer for his sake -putting others first in love -emptying and humbling yourself -showing the world the difference Jesus makes in your life -doing all things without grumbling or complaining -shining your light into the world, no matter how uncomfortable or dark -developing Godly relationships -putting NO confidence in the flesh -counting everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus -getting in the trenches with non-believers and bringing them back to Jesus -believing we are citizens of Heaven -being anxious for nothing, but instead; praying, giving thanks, and and presenting your requests to Him -guarding your heart -thinking thoughts that are excellent and praiseworthy
It's easy to write all these down, but man is it actually hard to live them out. These naturally, in our brokenness in this world, are not the things we easily practice/think. The only way we will, is if we let God be not just the Lord of our life, but the SAVIOR of our life who directs and guides our every step.
Do we focus out thoughts on what is good throughout the day, or do we only report to ourselves all the ugly, chaotic, unexpected, and rough things?
What you feed your mind, trickles into your heart, and everything you do FLOWS from your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
If we are nonchalantly and without guard, feeding our minds negativity and the opposite of His Truth, we will not be able to experience the peace of God in the way He intends us to.
So what do we do? We take EVERY thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and we MAKE it obedient to Christ. We test each and every thought against Philippians 4:8-9 and we have to choose BEFORE the thought even takes root, if this is a life giving thought, or a detrimental thought.
If we don't take these thoughts captive and renew our minds (Romans 12:2) to what the Word of God says, we will also not practice the things Paul tells us to throughout Philippians.
We may strive too. But the moment we let out guard down, get lazy, and convince ourselves that that ONE little thought isn't that bad, or that "unhealthy", that's the moment that we fall off track.
JUST LIKE A DIET!!!!
We are too weak and too fragile to constantly be allowing unhealthy things into our mind and our heart. Because when we do, out eyes are opened even more to all the bad, and we focus on that instead of what is good. JUST LIKE ADAM AND EVE.
A: In V9, Paul says they have; learned, received, heard, and seen what they should practice.
In order to combat these thoughts and create new habits, I have to look back at all that I have learned about God, received from God in blessings or salvation, heard about what He did or maybe how He has personally spoke to me, and how I have seen Him move and answer my prayers. Psalm 9:1-2 reminds me to "recount all His wondrous deeds". I truly believe that thinking about who He is, what He's done, and what He IS doing, will change the thoughts, which will change the heart posture, which will change the actions.
P: Heavnely Father, Thank you for Your Word that gives me life. Every time I open it I know that I can expect to encounter you in some way. Lord you are so good to me. You offer me so many ways and so many opportunities throughout my day to live a life full of your grace, peace, kindness, and mercy. Thank you that never look at me and think I am too far gone, or too messed up to be used and loved by You. Your love surrounds me, embraces me, engulfs me, and rescues me. The words that I read today remind me that I am weak, but you my Jesus, you are strong. Thank you for reminding me that I HAVE to take my thoughts captive. I can't afford not to. Father I admit to you that this is extremely hard for me, but nothing is too hard for you. I come to you this morning with an open fist and an open hear to give you this burden of these thoughts that do not and will never serve me. Replace them with your peace that surpasses understanding, and make room in me to finish what you started. I empty myself before you Jesus. May my life today be a reflection of your love, and as I recount all your wondrous deeds, may I also mirror the things that I have seen, received, hear, and seen in You. Lead my steps today, and make them in sync with you Spirit. Amen.