Let’s practice

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

Thanks to Mama Robertson for directing us to Phillipians 4 yesterday. I meditated on that chapter, which also tied into the My Utmost for His Highest devotional. Reflecting on Matthew 5:30, Oswald describes the discipline of obeying God in the process of regeneration.

There are many things that are perfectly legitimate, but if you are going to concentrate on God you cannot do them. Your right hand is one of the best things you have, but Jesus says that if it hinders you in following His precepts, then “cut it off.” The principle taught here is the strictest discipline or lesson that ever hit humankind.

I may think about a Bible verse at some point in any given day, but I do have to work at continually fixing my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. I remember at Young Life camp one summer the speaker asked how we would feel if someone projected our thoughts for an entire day on a movie screen for all to see. I’m pretty sure we would all react to that with some level of mortification! But could I get to a point where the complaining, judging, envying, and dishonest thoughts are merely sparse exceptions in a generally pure and prayerful thought life? Paul says it is possible; just keep practicing turning your mind to the One who is praiseworthy.

Focusing on that which is praiseworthy means destroying or avoiding anything that hinders our focus. Growing up, my dad had a rule that from 9pm to 9am we could only listen to Christian music, meaning when we went to bed and woke up we were listening to uplifting tunes. Today I still practice that when I get in the car to drive to work; I feel slight anxiety if I don’t listen to worship before news or other music. I have practiced to the point that I truly yearn to praise Jesus first, if I listen to music in the morning. I also try not to touch my computer in the morning until I have spent time in the Word, because I know that once the laptop opens the to-dos and “urgent” messages in my inbox will distract me.

I have been convicted about busyness. The looming to-do list has often kept me from giving my full mind and focus to the Lord. The funny thing is, that when I take even 15 minutes to sit still before the Lord in the morning, rather than finish some reading or send out emails, I find my day is more productive and overall enjoyable. He really does pour out peace that passes all understanding.

Heavenly Father, you are worth thinking about all day long. What else compares to meditating on You? I pray that we would practice daily being tuned in to your Truth. You, the God of Peace, promise to be with us as we turn our hearts and minds to all things praiseworthy. Good deal!


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