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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Change My Thinking to Reduce Stress

In review of Philippians 4:8 it says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV).

Today’s verse comes from Philippians 4:8-9 where Paul tells me to fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. He says to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Then to keep putting into practice all I have learned, and received from other spiritual leaders. Then the God of peace will be with me.

What I put into my mind will determine what comes out in my words and actions. Paul tells me to program my mind with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. Examine what I'm putting into my mind through TV, Internet, books, conversations, movies, videogames and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all, read God's Word and pray. Ask God to help me focus my mind on what is good and pure.

It's not enough to hear or read the Word of God or even to know it well. I must also put it into practice. How easy it is to listen to a sermon and forget what the preacher said. How easy it is to read the Bible and not think about how to live differently. How easy is it to debate what a passage means and not live out that meaning. Exposure to God's Word is not enough. It must lead to obedience.

I won’t be able to reduce stress in my life unless I change how I think. Stress doesn’t come from the outside but from the inside.

My mind is a special gift from God. It’s capable of storing more than 100 trillion thoughts. It can handle enormous amounts of information. And God has given me the freedom to choose what I think about, from among all of that information.

The Bible says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

Paul reminds me that I can choose what I think about, and he encourages me to think about the right things. What I put into my mind impacts how I live.

What I think affects the way I feel; the way I feel affects the way you act. So I need to guard my mind and keep my mind on the right things.

Philippians 4:8 tells me to fix my mind on these good things. Paul means that I need to make a deliberate choice. Change the channel on my mind. Only allow in things that fit into the characteristics described in that verse.

When I do this, I get what God promises in the prior verse: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

Bottom Line:
Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.

What this means to me:
Fix your thoughts, keep your mind on, what is true and good and right. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.

In summary, I'm to fix my thoughts on what is good, things of excellence and worthy of praise. I need to keep putting them into practice what I learn, then the God of peace will be with me. I also need to be careful of what I put into my mind, for what goes in will determine what comes out in my words and actions. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Read God's Word and pray. Just listening is not good enough, what I get must lead to obedience. I won't be able to reduce stress in my life unless I change how I think and how I live. Make a deliberate choice.

I think in addition to what I watch and listen to, I also need to re-think how I talk to myself. My own internal talk tends to also change the way I act. My mind is constantly consumed with so many things. I have concerns work items. I have concerns about the lack of information about things and how things work. There are so many needs and committed dates. In addition I need to get on top of a lot of things to help direct team members to right courses of actions and ways of working. I feel as If I can barely keep things together. I need to replace this constant confusion and overwhelming tasks / responsibilities with what is good and what are the appropriate actions. This morning Father I pray that you help me sort through these items in my mind. Allow me to think clearly and to put together actions / plans to facilitate what you have for me. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

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