Sunday, September 30, 2012

Peaceful Thought Life

Peaceful Thought Life
Oct 1, 2012
Philippians 4:8   ". . . 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."

Our minds are plagued by stressful thoughts.  We worry, think the wrong things, meditate on the worst case scenarios, and make emotional mountains out of mole hills.  It is a common thing among humans, to reason with negative thoughts.  The result is an unhappy life, that is not at peace.  Our thought life, created partially by our own perception, does more harm to us than good.  If we functioned how the Lord intended for us, then we wouldn't feel stressed; we would be at peace. Paul said he was able to accomplish this state of being, always being at peace in this world.  Despite what was going on, Paul said he was able to have the Lord's peace about him at all times.  He left behind his formula, and we would be able to have this same peace in our lives if we simply put his formula into practice.

The first part of Paul's formula is found in Philippians 4:6.  He said that we should not be anxious about anything but bring every problem straight to the Lord.  When we don't feel at peace with everything, we should go into a time of prayer WHILE being thankful and full of praise.  It is hard, when you are stressed, to be thankful for anything, let alone bring praises to the Lord.  But it is an exercise in submitting the flesh.  If you don't have peace, then how in the world are you supposed to have thankfulness in your heart?  Paul wasn't saying that your heart would naturally be thankful; he was saying that we should submit our lives to what we know to be true regardless of the circumstances around us and how they make us feel.  This is further emphasized by the second part of Paul's formula (that OFTEN gets overlooked in Scripture).

Most people stop reading the Bible on a certain topic after they've come to the conclusion of a paragraph.  But Paul continued in his conversation about peace in the following paragraph in the book of Philippians, after he told us to pray during our anxiousness.  He said, after we pray, we should then meditate on the good things in life.  This would further garner the peace of the Lord upon our lives.  He wasn't saying meditate on the good things in OUR lives, but on the good things that the Lord has done.  Paul said to focus on things that are beautiful, wonderful, righteous,  and praiseworthy.  Notice it contained the "praise" word again.  Paul was bringing the topic of peace full circle with his previous mandate regarding the times when we are anxious: to be in a state of praise.

He was telling us that if we fill our minds with thoughts that are "good" then it would create in us a praiseworthy attitude, resulting in the turnaround of a downward thought spiral.  Paul then concluded that if we put all the things into practice the way he did, then we would have the same result he was able to have: being content in all circumstances.  If we are content in all circumstances, then we are without worry, fear, anxiety, or frustration.  AND we would be full of the Lord's peace.  So, don't just stop by praying; re-visit in your mind all the good things the Lord has done, shifting your focus off your problems and onto praiseworthy things.  Then bring the Lord the praise He deserves.  You'll be at peace in your life and a whole lot happier.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Philippians 4

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