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“What Were You Thinking?”

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. (Phil. 4:8)

With the exception of those doing yoga, meditation is probably not an intentional act for most of us. Thoughts come randomly into our mind as a result of interacting with the world around us. I don’t believe Paul was suggesting that we can, or even should, block out everything negative or harmful from our minds. However, imagine the process of planning a project or trouble shooting a problem and you then understand mental focus. Focusing is the action that Paul described. Some things require a specific, purposeful focus of thoughts to accomplish a goal. What would happen if we brought that kind of specific, purposed focus on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report?

Our thoughts are the center of what makes us US! Surely we know the phrase from Proverbs 23:7, commonly expressed as “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Which is why Jesus argued that true evil begins with thinking, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. ” (Mat. 15:19). So, from a mental health and spiritual health point of view, it might be appropriate to ask, “what are you thinking?”

Many marriages struggle because one or both spouses obsess over what they believe is WRONG with their spouse. They often focus all their thinking on the failures of their partner, or on some personality quirk that they despise, or on a physical quality they don’t like. As a result, their minds are filled with harmful thoughts and they are miserable.

Fill your mind with anger, hatred and envy and you will be a miserable person. If you fill your mind with fear and dread then anxiety will consume you. If you fill your mind with trust in God, thanksgiving for your spouse, job, children, church, and the good things in your life then your whole being will change for good.

Take Paul’s instruction literally. Make a conscious effort to think good thoughts. Make a list of the GOOD things in your life. Ponder over THAT list. Make a list of blessings God has given you. Dwell on THAT list. Make a list of all the good qualities about your marriage or your spouse. You may be surprised at just how much good such thoughts do for your life!

-Tim Orbison


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