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. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:8–9 NLT
Our thoughts are vitally important. How we think about ourselves truly shapes our world. It determines how we will interact within a group or during a job interview. How we work and play with others. How we will get along with family and friends. And all of this through the thoughts you choose to consider in your mind. The Bible tells us that “as a man thinks within himself so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) God has given us the incredible powerful gift of shaping how we see ourselves, how we meet the challenges and opportunities of each new day, and how we can influence our world simply by controlling the thoughts we think.
We cannot afford to allow the attitudes, actions, and input of others around us to shape who we are. Our lives are not to be shaped by circumstances around us, but by the God of love who lives within us!
The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2 (New Century Version) “Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” In order to follow God, we must think like God!
From the moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior God expects us to begin the journey of transforming or changing our thoughts to be like His.
But life is not always that simple and we do have an enemy, the devil, who desires to keep us from being like Christ and experiencing all that God has for us. The Bible says the devil is like a roaring lion who walks about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The good news is we have God on our side! A roaring lion never hurt anybody! All it does is make a lot of noise. And that is what the devil will try to do to you. In fact, it’s all the devil can do. The famous comedian Flip Wilson was wrong when he said, “The devil made me do it!” Satan cannot make you do anything. He will roar all kinds of thoughts and suggestions into your mind that will create feelings and attitudes that can lead you to choose to act in the wrong manner. But if you won’t respond or react, he cannot win!
You cannot stop thoughts from coming into your mind but you can determine what happens when they get there! Part of renewing your mind is knowing what to think on and what not to think on. God has given us a tool whereby we can guard our thoughts and keep them in line with Him and His Word!
If you go into your kitchen and check your cabinets, chances are you would find a colander or a strainer. A strainer is used to separate one item from another during the cooking process. For example, you pour cooked spaghetti into the colander in order to separate it from the boiling hot water which flows through. The colander acts as a net keeping the good stuff in and allowing the unnecessary stuff to filter out. God has given us a “divine colander” found in Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT). “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. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
When thoughts enter your mind, quickly run them through the divine colander! Ask yourself: “What I am thinking on right now. Does it honor God? Is it in agreement with his Word? Does it display love towards God and others? Does it move me closer to God or further from Him?” If in anything your thinking does not agree with one of these, then it is “not the good stuff,” so filter it out by telling the thought to leave your mind in Jesus name! Remember, God gave you control over your mind. You have the power and ability to decide what you will think. Don’t allow thoughts that will tear you down, sap your strength and pull you away from God’s best to linger. Kick them out and then choose to think on the good stuff!
Father God, in Jesus’ name, thank You for giving me the power and ability to control my mind through Your Word. I pray that the peace of God will build a guard around my heart and mind and I will take authority over the devil and not allow him to control how I think, feel or act. I will follow after You, God, and allow my thoughts to come in agreement with Your Word. I will use the divine colander and keep my mind free and filtered from all that is not of You so I can enjoy thinking on the “good stuff” that comes from You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!