The other day in a moment of frustration I said something unloving and unkind to my 13 year old daughter. We were under pressure to get something done and because I was perceiving her as not helping, I lashed out at her. Later I apologized and tried to tell her I didn’t really think she was as disobedient as a 4-year -old. She reminded me that if I spoke it, I must have been thinking it, because (and she used the verse), “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

She was right. What I was thinking at the time came out in my words and actions. That is why it is so important to be aware of how and what we are thinking. Often it is those who are closest to us who see clearly what is in our heart by how we treat them and what we say. God is so good, and I am thankful for my daughter and her willingness to hold up a mirror in my life and let me see what is hiding in my heart.

That is why I love this encouragement from Paul to think and meditate on what is best. This is how God thinks. He looks at and sees the best in us. All of our sins and shortcomings He sees washed clean through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Summing it all up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filing your minds and meditating on things: true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious- the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

Philippians 4:8

The Message

This verse is written by Paul from prison to the Philippian believers who were suffering persecution. Actually, the whole book is full of messages about how to have joy even in the midst of suffering. Some scholars call this the discipline of celebration. God wants us, His children, to think like He thinks- to choose to think on what is true: God loves us; what is gracious- we are saved by His grace; and what is praiseworthy- we get to live forever with Him.

Have you ever noticed that the things you focus on shape how you feel? If I walk around noticing everything that is wrong in my house, I can end up discouraged or overwhelmed. However, if I start looking for all the things that are beautiful and that I am thankful for, I can feel grateful and peaceful. My thoughts affect my emotional and my physical health. What filter are you using to look at your world?

God’s word tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. How you think determines what you experience. No matter what your circumstances, choosing to see things through the eyes of God, trusting in His provision and resting in His love, will allow you to be more than a conqueror.

Choose to think on what is best and you will be blessed with joy.

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this season, will you join me in filling our minds with His truth and love and meditating on His promises? Then we can rejoice always and encourage each other and build each other up. And the world will see God’s great love reflected in us.

May God bless you as you meditate on all that is true, noble, and excellent in this season, and may He fill you with joy in His presence.

Betsy O’Callaghan