Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].Phillipians 4:8 AMP
I must admit I love a good riddle. Here’s one: What falls but doesn’t break, and what breaks but doesn’t fall? (Answer: Night and Day.)
Here’s another: What is the hardest and easiest thing to do? (Answer: Change your thinking.)
Yesterday was an interesting day for me. I had a chance to catch up with three different friends I haven’t seen in quite some time. All are going through tremendous struggles in life at the moment – the kind that can be life-altering having to do with health, family, finance and relationships. As I sit here this morning, I am struck by a few things. One is how blessed I am to not have any real concerns in these areas. The second is how differently all three of my friends are handling their situations.
In trying to help and counsel my friends, God brought this verse in Philippians 4:8 to mind and, in obedience, I shared it with each. One of my friends is not a Christian and I must admit, after talking to him, I don’t have a lot of hope that his situation will change. The second friend is a Christian, but yet again, I’m not very hopeful that things will turn around in his life. The third is also a believer, but in her case, I feel she is going to be just fine.
You may ask what gives me hope in one case and not the others. The answer is what was occupying the thoughts of each of my friends. As much as I tried to encourage the first two, they just could not change their focus. When I brought up all that was good in their life, they brought up the bad. They both even looked tired, ragged and unhealthy. I find it noteworthy to point out that, even though one was a Christian and the other was not, both could not shake this negative thinking. However the third, after telling me all the bad that has recently transpired in her life, just as quickly was able to articulate all the good in her life and what she was thankful for. She noted that, although she has health concerns in her family, none are life-threatening and nothing compared to what other people we know have gone through – one who lost a husband to cancer and another who lost a child to the same. She talked of the good things going on in the lives of her children, her husband’s great job, and how God has seen her through some difficult times in the past.
Isn’t this the key to being happy, healthy and whole? What if we did exactly what Philippians 4:8 instructs us to – think about whatever is true, worthy of respect, pure and wholesome, lovely and admirable? What if in whatever situation we are going through we think about the positive and not the negative?
Here is another riddle: What is the one thing you have in all situations? (Answer: A choice.)
This is both the hardest and the easiest thing to do, but I challenge you to choose to think about the good and to do it right now. I encourage you to pray this prayer with me…
Heavenly Father, you are a just God and a loving God. You’ve given us all the answers we need in the Bible and you’ve given us a choice. Help me to choose to be positive, choose to think about all that is good in my life, and choose joy. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.