Oftentimes, the rush of the holidays can bring on a cold that slows us down during one of the busiest times of the year. I’m sure you know how limited you are when you are ill — when you aren’t functioning at your best. While I haven’t found a cure for the common cold, I have earned a remedy for faith that has the flu. Similar to the symptoms of a cold you can sometimes feel limited in your faith.
I once spent time memorizing Philippians 4:8 knowing that it was a guideline for the kinds of thoughts God desired to occupy my mind. I found myself focusing on the rote memorization of the eight elements in the verse rather than the message of the verse: “whatsoever things are true…honest…just…pure…lovely…whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I realized that I hadn’t taken much time to consider each component separately. So, I decided to take the verse apart piece by piece. And that first piece stopped me my in my tracks and changed the trajectory of my life. I said out loud, “whatsoever things are true, think on these things.” I pondered, “What does true mean?” And my answer? “True means truth…the truth of Scripture. And true means the truth as opposed to lies. But, true also means real, because what is true is what is real.”
In just eight words I had a breakthrough—God did not want me to spend my precious time and equally precious mental energy thinking on things that are not true or real. It was also then that I realized how many of my thoughts were not based the truth — certainly not based on the truth of Scripture, and many not even reflective of the reality of my circumstances. I found that many of my thoughts were based on fears, assumptions, and lies. No wonder that on so many days I felt useless, tired, and depressed.
Take it from me, from that day on I learned that blessings abound when you and I think on what is true and real. And one of those blessings is strength for daily life—strength that includes energy, health, vitality, and purpose. God calls this the abundant life (John 10:10). Let me explain.
When you aren’t functioning according to what is real, it’s like trying to do something when you have a fever or the ﬂu. Even though you force yourself to fulfill your responsibilities, something is missing. Your body’s ability and the demands of each task are out of sync! Sure, you go ahead and do your work, but there is little, if any, enthusiasm. And many times your work is half done or done poorly. Why? Because of poor physical health…which means less energy…and even less performance.
The same thing happens in the spiritual realm. Like a virus, your thoughts can drain your energy and cripple your usefulness. But, praise God, the opposite is also true. Your thoughts can be a source of strength. When you think on the powerful truths of Scripture, God uses His Word to change your way of thinking. And one positive—and much-needed—result is that you are strengthened and energized for daily life by thinking on the truth—on what is true and real.
Question: Have you ever taken a day and cataloged how many thoughts you have that are based on false assumptions, fears, imaginings, or fantasy? I challenge you today to do this and begin to take every thought captive!
Find more encouragement for your faith in, Loving God with All Your Mind.