Have you ever been in a situation where you were thinking of something menial like dinner and before you knew it found yourself lingering over the thought of some very sad news you heard about from the week before? Then your thoughts snowball and you find yourself thinking about how so many bad things are happening, and not long after you’re dealing with the fear of another pandemic outbreak or something similar. Then you suddenly grab a hold of yourself after realising that your mood has now gone from ten to zero and you wonder how did I get from dinner plans to the end of the world?
The mind does not stay idle. It is constantly at work and the mind works with information. Whatever your eyes and ear absorb, the mind processes. Our thought process is linked with our actions or in some cases, inactions. You rarely find yourself doing something you haven’t already given some thought to.
So, the all-important question would be, what are you thinking about?
Here is a guideline to how our thought processes should be if we want to live peaceful, happy and fruitful lives:
“So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.
Philippians 4: 8 – 9 TPT
Despite everything that seems to be happening around us, everyone has a responsibility to govern their thoughts. Nobody else is responsible for the things you think about. You may experience hurt, be lied about, be in a place where everything is falling apart and still you can choose what you FOCUS your thoughts on.
The verse in Philippians 4 starts by saying to keep your thoughts fixed. It is a choice, not automatic. If you just allow your thoughts to, they will go ‘all over the place’ like the illustration at the beginning. You need to learn to feed your mind with things that are authentic and real, in other words the truth. There is so much out there today with so much fake news. It almost seems as though the media thrives on keeping people in fear by the kind of news they report and how they report them.
Learn to focus on the good news.
There is salvation available for all. This salvation package includes health and well-being, wealth and riches, peace of mind, life and abundance…the list goes on.
The next area we are to focus our thoughts is on things that are honourable and admirable. The way of honour need not go into extinction; people rarely know what true honour is nowadays. There was a time when a word and a handshake sealed a deal, that is honour. Honour is not what you do when you feel like it. Honour is a lifestyle.
We are to honour authority and that includes but is not limited to leadership, government, civil authority, parents etc. Bear in mind that honour is not mindless submission. You can disobey honourably. Train your mind to think honourable thoughts towards all and watch yourself live an admirable life.
Another area of focus for our thoughts is on things that are beautiful and respectful, pure and holy. The thought of harming another human being, even the thought of self-harm/hate cannot be beautiful, pure and holy. Some people find themselves forgiving and being accepting of everyone else but themselves.
If you’re unsure of who you are or what you are meant to be, I encourage you to look at the word of God. Start from the beginning (Genesis) to discover who you are meant to be. Until you get a true depiction of your identity, you cannot live a truly happy, peaceful life; you cannot function to full capacity.
Merciful and kind thoughts. The world could do with a little more kindness and sadly, some seemingly kind acts are not done as a result of kind thoughts. A kind act is truly a blessing when borne from a kind thought.
A challenge for you today, this week, this month, in the new year is to use these as a checklist for processing your thoughts: Merciful; Kind; Beautiful; Respectful; Pure; Holy; Admirable; Honourable; Authentic; Real
If these govern your thought process, then you will experience heaven on earth.