Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
-Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Do you consider yourself a negative person? One who habitually leans toward the “glass half empty” side of things? If so, I have another question… What are you looking for? Let me give you an example scenario…
Are you always nasty and argumentative with your spouse? If you are looking for reasons to be angry toward your husband or wife, you will find them. Annoying habits and traits will rise to the surface. You will jump at any opportunity to be critical of a mistake or error. You will dissect every word they say, giving you justification for your hostility. When it comes down to it, what they do will never be good enough.
The reasoning is simple: what you seek you will find.
In other words, if you want reasons to be pessimistic throughout your life, you won’t have to look very far. And the converse is true. If you want reasons to be optimistic, they will turn up everywhere as well.
And what we input into our minds, whether positive or negative, has a direct influence on our words and actions. Our thoughts do matter.
That’s why Paul’s instructions here to the church of Philippi are of utmost importance. He gives a list of 7 qualities and charges the reader to “think about these things.” Paul’s suggestion is not to search for the bad in anything and everything, but rather to focus on the things that are worth our attention in the first place… Things of honor and excellence.
We are challenged to think God thoughts.
That’s not saying it’s a simple process. That way of thinking is not an instinctive response in my opinion, so we must re-program our mind to discover what is good and pure. It takes time, but as we pursue the qualities that Paul mentions it will change our natural outlook on life, people and even God himself.
So what if instead of ragging on your husband, you turned your attention to the commendable things he does? And what if instead of bad-mouthing your wife, you zero in on the praiseworthy efforts she makes? You know what would happen… Your perspective and attitude would change.
And that’s the point. What you fill your mind with will eventually spew out. So make sure the overflow is of things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. Those things are present, as they have always been, I promise you.
You control the destination of your mind. The question, once again, is what are you looking for?
Because what you seek you will find.