And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
This verse doesn’t mean that we ignore the things that are dishonorable, not right, and impure but we shouldn’t focus on those things. Focusing on those things prompts us to think of what we should’ve said or done or how we can insert ourselves to ‘teach someone a lesson.’ Focusing on the wrongs also helps our imagination run wild. We make agreements with guilt, shame, disappointment and discontentment. It makes things that are not admirable and not excellent the biggest in our lives, and that is contrary to making God, who is admirable and excellent, the biggest.
And God needs to be the biggest.
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.
If I magnify my problems they will be the biggest, and I will not be able to execute Philippians 4:8 in my life. God knows what the problems are (See Matthew 6:32). And me not dwelling on them makes room for him to intervene instead of me plotting incompetent action.
Having my brain divided into two boxes is a good idea. One box has a lid, and the stuff in there is not being ignored but it is not being mulled over either. This box is for God to open and take care of as he sees fit.
The other box is open. I fill it with things to reflect on that are true (God’s Word), honorable (godly people I know who have shared their experiences with me for encouragement), right (events where godliness prevailed - even movies and books have heroes that remind me of Jesus!), pure (times spent in my relationships with my husband, parents & kids), lovely (the home God gave us & the flowers in my garden), admirable (people I know who willingly sacrifice - I think of godly wives, widowers, military friends...), excellent (Believers who rely on God’s promises), and praiseworthy (God’s promises proving true!). I make a practice of thinking about THESE things and leave the lid ON the other box.
Thank you for your Word, Miss Deborah’s testimony, Corrie ten Boom, my marriage & family, our home and yard and beautiful places we’ve visited on vacations, our friends, like Joe, who are veterans, Terry & Liz’s parenting example, and for the firsthand experience of your promises being reality in my life. I thank you for sustaining our family when Rob got sick and during his recovery, thank you for our parents’ good health, and for giving us four wonderful kids who love and trust you. Thank you so much! And I invite you to open the other box in my heart and take care of my concerns. Thank you for keeping us safe during these unsafe days and shaking economic times. I love you and thank you and pray in Jesus’ name, amen.