Read: Philippians 4:1-8. (Version: I have used TPT and reference NIV)
It is often heard, “Think before you speak.”
Very sage advice, but what if your thoughts are riddled with negativity, insecurity and doubt? It’s tough to see the joy in life, let alone speak with joy, if your outlook is clouded and dark.
At the beginning of Philippians 4, Paul is writing about some disputes between members of the people of Philippi. The women have argued and Paul is urging them to reconcile and “be of the same mind in the Lord” (NIV). He goes on to tell the Philippians to “be cheerful”(v4), “let joy overflow”(v4), “have gentleness”(v5), and “don’t… worry about a thing”(v6).
How do you maintain cheer, joy, gentleness and live worry- free when life is hard? It is so easy, and honestly simpler, to put on your grumpy pants and complain about the state of the world… your day… your lot in life. It’s doubly easy to bring others down with you, posting out your grievances to all who may listen.
It may be simpler to go there, but do a quick Google search and you will find countless research on the impact having a negative outlook has on your mind, body and spirit. It is in your basic human nature to want the shortcut, but this is about the long game.
For real change to take place, you must put the effort in to break the habit of negative thinking.
Thankfully, in chapter 4 of Philippians, Paul gives practical steps to help actively move your outlook from negativity to positivity.
Step 1 (v6).
Be saturated in prayer throughout the day.
Talk to God about everything – concerns, desires, difficulties, annoyances, the good stuff, the bad stuff… All of it! “Tell Him every detail of your life. (v6)” By turning your thoughts into conversations with God, you will begin to realize He knows and cares about everything.
Step 2 (v8).
Filter everything that goes through your mind through Philippians 4:8.
The “Philippians 4:8 filter” is when you start honing your skills and truly begin the endurance portion of your training.
Read the verse again.
Then, ask yourself:
Is it(your thought) authentic and real?
Is it honorable and admirable?
Is it beautiful and respectful?
Is it pure and holy?
Is it merciful and kind? Is it a work of God?
Is it praiseworthy?
This step is a tall order, but remember, long game, not easy fix!
God wants the best for you. He desires to give you “wonderful peace” and He will “make the answers known to you”. He loves you!
When you put into practice saturating your day in prayer and filtering your thoughts, your outlook will go from black-and-white to technicolor, and will deeply and profoundly affect your outcome.
The end game is worth it! Are you up for the challenge?
Originally written for the Big World Bigger God Camp Devotional