We can look around and see so many things. As technology improved, we have the capability to see so much more than when you and I were younger. With this great advancement comes an open door to allow more things to pass by your eyes. Some things are great and some things we could do better without.
Paul told us to “fix our thoughts.” To put our attention in a particular area. To focus on certain things. It is something that I remind myself of daily. With all of opportunities we have to see things, it is clear that we need to filter what we see so as to focus on what is “excellent and worthy of praise.”
If you look at a magazine shelf at a store, you will see so much destruction. So much divorce. So much scandal. So much drug addiction. So much gossip. So much impurity. As you focus on all this sin, it starts to draw you inward. The marketing experts know what they are doing. You won’t see many “admirable” magazine articles plastered in the more frequently used aisles. You have to seek them out in the aisles rarely opened. But we are challenged to fix our focus. I say “challenged” because it is a challenge but it can be done. Today, be boldly focused. When you find yourself seeing things that are not worthy of praise, fix your focus. Allow more of what is good to come in, and gradually you will find that there’s a great benefit with this intentional focus on what is good.
“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.” – Philippians 4:8 [NLT]
Recently I read a posting from a friend who was sharing something she heard earlier on television. To summarize the discussion, she held that comfort and courage cannot coexist in life. I felt compelled to speak up because personally speaking I have both comfort and courage from Christ. I am not sure I would have the courage without the comfort.
I will always believe that both are possible. Yes sometimes we face difficult trials in life. I’ve had and still have many. I have the courage to step forward through the storms of life and the comfort to know I am not alone. It is all because of Jesus. It is summed up as confidence in God’s grace and His care.
Comfort and courage are actually used synonymously in multiple areas of the Bible. Psalm 23:4, “Your rod and your staff give me courage” [GW] and “your rod and your staff, they comfort me” [NIV]. How about 2 Corinthians 13:11, when Paul writes to “take courage” [WEY], whereas the YLT says, “be comforted”? I only have courage because I have the comfort of Christ. It is courage. It is comfort. It is confidence. Jesus is my hope. I pray you too can have the same comfort and courage in your life.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4 [NIV]
As I have been reading Job, I am gleaning so much from the suffering and continuing speeches between Job and his friends. In Job 21, he says that he “will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking” (v. 16 NLT). Those words certainly peak my interest. Are there times in our lives when we should say that we will have nothing to do with a particular kind of thinking?
Job was suffering from the loss of his family, his land and possessions, and his health. He lost so much and yet he understood the importance of not letting particular things get into his head and cause him to be pulled into another area. We are to focus on what is pure, what is true, what is right—and so there are times when we would put our hands up and say we will have nothing to do with a particular kind of thinking.
If you accept a type of thinking, it will blossom and it will continue to spread and be more difficult to remove. Job reminds us how we must be mindful of our thoughts as well as our attitudes. In keeping ourselves from considering particular types of thinking, we will keep ourselves from walking readily into a bad situation and planting trouble. If there is something that pulls you from God or could possibly be against what God has commanded, tell that something that you “will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking” and move onward. God has so much more for you!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 [NIV]