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Thinking Right
You control what you think about, and how you think about it.
The Holy Spirit works in you to transform your life and renew your mind when you cooperate with Him in your thoughts.
   
My friends, you control what you think about, and how you think about it. The Holy Spirit works in you to transform your life and renew your mind when you cooperate with Him in your thoughts. The Bible challenges us to meditate on the Scriptures: Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, Psalm 77:6, Psalm 119:27, Psalm 145:5, and other verses. We are specifically instructed on the importance of our minds and thoughts: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 And again, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

Meditate. According to the Westminster Catechism, “Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.” Think of it as a cow chewing her cud; first she eats, then she ruminates, then she brings up the cud and chews on it, and chews on it, and chews on it. It’s unfortunate if you don’t understand that illustration, I know many of you have never been on a farm. But it’s a digestive process. Cows are not like us, they don’t just eat and then digest; they have two stomachs. The first can be thought of as a ‘holding tank’, where they can quickly fill up with whatever is available. Then they need a place of peace and quiet where they can bring that food back up in small bits and manually process the grass or hay they eat by re-chewing; and it goes into the second stomach where it is digested.  Have you ever thought of any verse long enough to consider yourself to have chewed it thoroughly? It takes time; it takes peace and quiet. That's what it is to meditate.

Meditating is not sitting on the floor humming or saying ‘nonsense’ words over and over. It’s thinking about the words of God long enough to ask yourself questions: why would he say this? How can that be true? Where else is this written? Is this a promise to claim? Is this a command to obey? Is it a principle to apply? I have personally chewed on Philippians 4:8 for several years:

"Finally brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me,
practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

Here are some of my meditations, especially in relation to other believers:

whatever is TRUE: ask yourself, is what you are tempted to think and feel absolutely 100% true? Not just true to you, not just from your perspective or your feelings, but objectively. Our emotions, our feelings, are notoriously unreliable! They can change as quickly and easily as the shape or size of a cloud, and are often as substanceless. God's truth doesn't change, not for circumstances, or personhood, or seasons. Stand on the Truth, not how you feel. If a thought is not true, then you must absolutely reject it. Think about what is completely, uncompromisingly true.

whatever is HONORABLE: even if what you are tempted to think and feel is absolutely true, is it honorable? Does it bring honor to God? Does it bring honor to THE BRIDE OF CHRIST? That's the church! Does it bring honor to that person/situation? Does it bring honor to you that you are thinking this way?

whatever is RIGHT: is it right—in light of the holy Word of God and in the presence of the Holy Spirit—to think what you are thinking? 'Right' comes from 'righteous'. Jesus never had an unrighteous thought; would he be pleased with your thoughts? Remember, we are to take EVERY thought captive:

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God,
and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

whatever is PURE: is this the kind of pure and holy thinking that will honor the Father? Would you be impressed with your spiritual leaders if you knew they were thinking this same way? Think pure thoughts of the highest, holiest standard. God's eyes are too pure to look on evil, and He is pure:

“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor.” Habbakuk 1:13 
“With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the perverted You show Yourself astute.” 2 Samuel 22:27
“The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes.“ Psalm 19:8

whatever is LOVELY: does this line of thinking make you smile inside? Does it give you 'warm fuzzies' and make you look to the Lord—and view others—in adoration? Or does it feed your sin nature, allowing you to wallow as a pig in the mud? It is easy to think unlovely thoughts, but they will drag you down and eventually make you unlovely as well.

whatever is of good repute: look, YOU have a responsibility to think the best of people. YOU are responsible for finding the good in everyone you meet. Only you can make yourself think this way, and it is completely up to you to dwell on whatever is of 'good repute'. It is easy to be critical and see the bad in people, but if you are looking for something good, the Lord will reveal it.

if there is ANY excellence: come on now, you can find something—any tiny little thing—that is good and excellent. Maybe someone has a nice smile—or one straight tooth! Maybe they are punctual. Maybe they are always thinking of others. This is not easy for anyone to do: nothing about being a true, honest Christian is easy! Sometimes you have to force yourself, even for someone you don't like, to find SOME excellence in them. But I tell you the truth: the Holy Spirit lives in every Christian, and that by itself is excellent.

and if ANYTHING worthy of praise: they DID at some point repent and humble themselves enough to trust in Christ as their Savior, if they are a Christian. God honors that and will eternally reward it. So that, at least, is praiseworthy. But there are probably other things as well; if you sincerely ask the Lord, he will reveal these things to you.

let your mind dwell on these things: LET your mind dwell on these things; let YOUR mind dwell on these things; let your MIND dwell on these things; let your mind DWELL on these things. JUST DO IT: you, actively pursuing the way of righteousness, dwelling on these things that are good. Let your mind dwell on THESE things.

practice these things: practice, practice, practice. 'Practice makes perfect.' If we were already perfect we wouldn't need to practice! Sometimes when we practice we fail, but usually we get better, stronger, faster, smarter—holier. We must keep practicing these things. Sooner or later we will succeed, because ‘it is God who is at work in you...’

and the God of peace will be with you: You will have peace: the memories and bad feelings won't grate on you, even if you remember them. The people who hurt you won't have power over you any longer. You will be able to step out in faith to lead. You will be able to smile at every person you ever met or ever will run into on the street. You won't feel snubbed any longer! You won't even notice if someone looks at you sideways. You will be at peace!

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Listen, this works. Do you realize, all Christians will be together in heaven? And there won't be cliques, and you won’t be able to ignore or avoid anyone. But all of THEIR sin will be eradicated, and all of YOUR sin will be abolished; we will be perfect and complete. Everything that has come between us here on this earth will be gone: there won't be anything left but sweet fellowship. We will ALL be perfected! And best of all, of course, we will be WITH JESUS.

But why wait? We can start NOW to see ourselves, and other people, as Jesus sees us: as God originally intended us to be: perfect and complete and spotless. Just as He sees you and me right now, washed in the blood of the Lamb. So think with a renewed mind; train yourself to think the way Jesus would think. Yes, it is difficult, especially if you've had years and years of dwelling on what is unlovely, low and mean. You won't change overnight, but the Holy Spirit will start working in you. Let him start now! And let your life be transformed.

    
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