Encouragement Letters

Thought Life

originally published February 2017

Good morning, Friend,

Today, we return to one of my favorite texts of Scripture. It is focused on the thought life of the Christian. I return to this text for all my readers because it is an issue that I personally revisit almost daily. I assume you frequently need to do the same also. My suggestion is this: memorize the verse and ponder each word often. 

"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." These eight highlighted words are found in the text of Philippians 4:8 (NIV).

Thoughts that are TRUE. Certainly not false, not half true, not partially true, but totally true. We ought to live and think in the realm of reality where truth is supreme. Truth is found in the Godhead. Truth is found in the Scriptures. In secular society we hear a lot about "fake news." It is sometimes uncertain whether the news we read and hear is real news or fake news. Being surrounded by such ambiguity we find ourselves questioning the truth. We ask, "What is true?"

Thoughts that are NOBLE. The meaning of the Greek word includes the following thoughts/ideas: honorable, worthy, respectable, good character, proper, serious. The scope is wide. Perhaps in the vernacular we could say that the term refers to that which is high and lofty. Think on such things.

Thoughts that are RIGHT. This word more fully speaks of "righteousness." Paul frequently speaks about the righteousness of God that is planted in us at the time of our conversion. It is not our own self-righteousness but God's righteousness. He develops that in Philippians 3:9. I often pray that His righteousness will be at the inner core of my being: impacting my desires, feelings, motives . . . all of which shape my thoughts, speech, and actions. Righteousness through and through. 

Thoughts that are PURE. In the Colossian epistle, Paul dwells on moral and sexual purity. Our secular surroundings are penetrated with impurity. Impurity has become the norm for our godless societies. But it can never be the norm for the Christian's thought life or actions.

Thoughts that are LOVELY. Our British friends love this word. It means "more than okay." Better than good. Perhaps our Mexican friends would say "perfecto." I see it expressed in Spafford's hymn, It Is Well with My Soul. Indeed, dwell on thoughts that are lovely.

Thoughts that are ADMIRABLE. Thoughts that are admirable to me . . . to others . . . and most of all, admirable to God. He, above all others, always sees and knows what is going on in my head and heart. I want Him to like what He sees, hears, and knows to be in my innermost being.

Thoughts that are EXCELLENT. Good, but not only good. Better, and better than better. But excellent. Paul aims high when he mentions this list of inner attributes of the mind. He reaches a climax with this term. In a hymn we sing, "Lord, lead me on to higher ground." Let that be true of me in my thought life.

Thoughts that are PRAISEWORTHY. Now we are looking at thoughts filled with thanksgiving and praise. Consistently we must clear up and clean out all negative clutter that might squeeze its way into our minds. Even critical and judgmental thoughts. Get rid of it all so praise can take over.

What an amazing roster of thoughts. I go through this list at the start of the day and again at the end of the day when I get ready to sleep. Bill Bright said, "I start every day thinking of the Lord and I spend the last moments of the day thinking of Him." That’s a helpful thought, isn't it?

 

Be encouraged,

Lareau Lindquist

Founder, Senior Associate