“You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.”
You may have seen this popular quote penned on a card or on your Facebook wall. It makes for a catchy meme, but that little quote actually packs a punch. Our thoughts, what we think on, what we dwell on is, in fact, very important. So important that Paul addresses it in Philippians.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” ~ Philippians 4:8-9
Paul gave us a whole list of important areas to think on! However, today I’m just covering one area in particular. “Finally brothers…whatever is pure….think about these things.”
Close your eyes and try to picture that you are holding a glass of water in your hand; sparkling water straight from the spring itself. What makes this water so pure? Well, let’s look at the definition of purity. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines purity as a “lack of dirty or harmful substances.” Your water is free of dirt or anything harmful. No additives, no artificial coloring or flavoring. It’s just one clear, cold, tall glass of water. Thirsty yet?
Ironically, Merriam-Webster gives two definitions for the word purity. The second is “lack of guilt or evil thoughts.” Interesting. So, when Paul encourages us to think on those things that are pure, he’s also telling us what thoughts to avoid. If, I am to think on pure things then I need to avoid dwelling on evil thoughts; things that distract me from my relationship with God; things that draw me into a life of sin, etc.
Still holding your glass? Now imagine that you put a drop of arsenic into your pure glass of water. Can you still drink that water? Of course not! But why? I mean, it was just a drop of poison. One drop hasn’t robbed it of its purity, right? Wrong!
You probably know where I’m going with this analogy. This same concept applies with having a pure mind. If you allow impure thoughts to take up residence in your thought-life, then your focus, your passions, your energy and in short, your entire life will be affected. What you may think as a tiny impure thought actually carries strong consequences.
“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” ~Titus 1:15
But how? How can we continually think on those things that are pure?
First, we need to realize that it is a choice. The word think is a verb; an action. It’s going to take purposeful effort to accomplish. Will you ever mess up? Will you ever find your mind wandering where it shouldn’t be? Of course you will. But don’t give up! Make the decision to stop right then and there and purpose to change your line of thought.
Maybe you could quote a Scripture passage? Pray and ask God to help you control your thoughts and put your focus back on Him. The worst thing you could do is nothing. Take action!
Paul says it himself in verse 9: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
The best way to take action, is to put those thoughts into practice. Paul wasn’t telling us to do something he himself wasn’t willing to do. What they saw in him, they needed to be actively doing.
The result? Peace with God.
Now that’s a promise to hold on to!