Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:8: 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.
I have been reading, The 4:8 Principle, a book by Tommy Newberry, that has been on the New York Times best seller list. I normally do not read many of these motivational, self-help books, but this particular one caught my attention and I am finding some useful advice about drawing closer to God in the pages of this book.
In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul challenges us to seek out and dwell on the positives in our lives. This is difficult to do when the world that we live in takes great joy in opening up old wounds and focusing on the ways others have hurt us and wounded us. Our way of thinking becomes increasingly negative and we begin to focus on things other than the purposes of God, our creator.
What is the secret to a joy-filled life? Newberry says that since the beginning of time, mankind has searched just about everywhere in hopes of finding out this secret. Today, most people are trying to find joy in something or someone outside of themselves. As humans, we search for joy in all the wrong places. We look outside, not inside. We search everywhere but within.
Living with joy is God’s intention for all his children. In 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul writes, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (5:16-18). God has declared us worthy of the blessing of overflowing joy.
Being joy filled does not mean that your life is perfect or that your life is great. Tommy Newberry explains what it means to live a life that is filled with joy; “It means that you emphatically trust God and believe that he has great plans for your life, regardless of what is happening right now. Joy is the infectious and uncontainable fruit of divinely inspired growth. It’s a deeply entrenched, unshakable belief, the result of sustained right thinking and dwelling on the nature and character of God. Joy is an outward sign of inward faith in the promises of God. It is a way of acting, and it is evidence of spiritual maturity. Joy is a path that you choose to travel each day.”
Newberry says that by using the 4:8 Principle as the filter for your thinking, you begin to focus on God and His goodness and exclude everything else. When you keep your thoughts fixed on God, the things of God will naturally permeate your life, and thus your goals will be in line with His will and His kingdom.
Remember that there is no need to be perfect. After all, perfection really doesn’t exist apart from God. All you have to do is concentrate on progress.
The secret conversations you hold in the privacy of your own mind are shaping your destiny, little by little. Research indicates that the average person thinks approximately 50,000 thoughts per day. This is either good or bad news because every thought moves you either toward your God given potential or away from it. The things that you constantly think upon will eventually work their way into becoming the words you speak and then your behavior, or your actions, will begin to reflect the “real” you.
Tommy Newberry writes: “The battle that you wage against your human nature is an invisible one that will be won or lost in the mind. Minute by minute, hour by hour, in the hidden workshop of your mind, you are constructing thoughts of good or evil, depression or joy, success or failure. You are writing your own life story as a human being with each subtle and soundless thought you think.”
Approximately 90% of our thoughts that we have today are repeats from yesterday and the day before. This makes it difficult to effect permanent, positive life improvements. You must discipline yourself mentally.
Think the thoughts you would think if you trusted God’s promises completely. Make the shift from random, reactive thinking to deliberate, purpose-driven thinking. You have authority over your thoughts. Right thinking is a choice you have to make for yourself the rest of your life.
In Romans 12:2, we are taught that transformation is the result of a renewed mind. The apostle Paul writes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will”. The idea is that you have to retrain your thoughts and feelings if you want to experience God’s ideal for your life and get the most out of every moment of every day. Most people struggle to change or renew their circumstances (lose weight, fix their marriage, make more money), when they should be asking God to help them renew their minds. When our minds are renewed, circumstances take care of themselves.
Do we want to renew your mind or do you want to continue the way of thinking that you have become accustomed to throughout your life? Many people do not want to give up some thoughts that have become a part of who they are, whether good or bad. This may be something that you really need to pray to God about, for His help in helping you to overcome thoughts that are defining who you are, in a negative light.
Remember the words of the Apostle Paul: 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.
Source used: The 4:8 Principle, by Tommy Newberry, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.