“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Fasting is often more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. Yes our tummies are rumbling for food or we’re desperate for that cup of coffee (that’s my biggest challenge!) but for many of us, we’ve gone into a fast with pretty full bellies from Christmas and the hunger side is tough (yes!) but not unachievable.
What is a challenge, is the mental side of it. Today my body will physically be absolutely fine without a cup of coffee, but my mind is telling me “you need a coffee!”. Our mind tells us things like “you’ve worked really hard, you deserve it” or “you’ve done so well, one wee compromise doesn’t matter”… our mind justifies, rationalises and tries to appease the things that we want rather than the things that are actually good for us.
Joyce Meyer, a Christian author and speaker wrote a book called “The Battlefield of the Mind” where she unpacks how the mind is a place we must fight to overcome through the power of God’s word. Our mind (or our thinking) will either lead us into victory or into downfall as our actions are directly led by what goes through our heads.
In this amazing passage in Philippians 4, Paul’s direction to the Philippians is some of the best advice in the Bible on what to think about. Imagine what our day would look like if we thought about this:
– Things that are true instead of things that are false or not proven to be true or “fake news”
– Things that are honourable instead of things that are dishonourable or corrupt
– Things that are just and good instead of unjust or immoral things
– Things that are pure instead of impure or sinful thoughts
– Things that are lovely and things that bring us joy instead of things that are dark or condemning
– Things that are commendable and encouraging instead of things that make us feel down or worthless
– Things that are excellent instead of things that are chaotic
– Things that are worthy of praise instead of false idols (anything in our life trying to take God’s place)
You might say “I can’t help what I think!” and while maybe today we won’t transform all 24 hours of our thoughts from negative to positive Godly things, but we can make a start. Today, why not try to spend a little time (5, 10, 15 mins – whatever you can do!) thinking on the things Philippians 4 encourages us to, I pray that it will produce a fresh breath of air in your thoughts and put your mind upon God.
God wants you to overcome your mind and be led by HIM and HIM alone so try thinking on the good things of God.
– Pastor Helen Ratcliffe