Philippians 4:8 (NLT) Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.
Paul says to fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Why is this important? It’s because all the battles in your life occur right between your ears – up there in your mind.
This is why you can put two people in the same situation, and they see it and deal with it differently. One goes to fear; the other goes to faith. One becomes stressed, the other remains happy.
The battle over stress always comes back to your mind and what you choose to think about. Some people believe that they have no control over their mind and what they think about. That’s simply not true. All human beings have been created equally – the same way we all have an ability to think and choose, we all have an ability to control what we think about.
The key is how you have trained your mind to think.
The Bible calls it ‘meditating’ – what you choose to meditate upon. Now understand, the act of meditating in the Bible is entirely different from how it is commonly understood and interpreted in the world. In the world, it means to ‘empty’ your mind and go into this space of deep calmness and quietness. The Bible talks about being quiet and calm, but the term it uses is “being still before God.”
Meditation in the Bible is the Hebrew word “hagah” (Greek word “meletao”) which means to ‘mutter, to ponder, imagine, roar, speak, study, talk, practice...’ So unlike the worldly definition, in the Bible it means to “fill your mind” with God’s Word and to declare that Word over and over and over.
The truth is most people know how to meditate. If you know how to “worry”, you know how to meditate because worry is meditating in the negative. What we must train our minds to do is meditate on ‘godly’ things that lead to worship. That’s called feeding your mind. Many people are so protective when it comes to what they eat, the water they drink and the air they breathe, yet they can be so reckless when it comes to what they are feeding their minds.
Training is the key. Training is a discipline. It’s like anything in life – if we want to succeed at it, we most focus and discipline ourselves toward it.
This is what Paul is saying in verse 8. Fix your thoughts on things that are true, good, right, pure and praiseworthy. That will eliminate a lot of stress and worry in your life. Paul is also giving you a picture of God, what He is like. If you want to become like Christ, verse 8 represents eight criteria that you can use to help you assess what you should watch, look at, think about and do. Ask yourself, is it: