This past Sunday evening in church my pastor had what is called tag team preaching. This is where he gives a topic and scripture to the group of ministers in our church and asks them to speak on that particular subject for whatever length of time he assigns. This time each minister had about three minutes a piece to speak on the scripture he gave them. As I listened to each one I found myself wondering how this scripture spoke to me and even what I might say about it. One thought went through my mind, but I let it settle as I really desired to hear what each minister had to say and apply it to my life. Today though as I was in prayer my one thought came back to me and so I decided to pen the words that came to me. As I did I began to study the word a bit deeper and came up with this devotion of study. The scripture text my pastor gave was found in Phillipians.
Phillipians 4:8, Finally, brethern, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The title, “Right Thinking”, caused me to start pondering over the thought that in our everyday life we need just that. Right thinking in everything we do and say. Most of us would probably stand in agreement that we want it and some may be even so bold to declare they have it. Ultimately the question remains how do we get it and keep it? This led me to think of a scripture verse found in Proverbs chapter 14.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Why is it that mans ways of “right thinking” lead to death? Because of self righteousness. We all have it, and battle within ourselves and probably much of the time don’t even realize it.
Isaiah 64:6 tells us, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Even though we are on this path to be christ-like, self-righteousness will raise it’s hoary head from time to time. For instance when you’re tired and still working hard to finish the day so you can take a break and that wonderful someone comes at you to ask of you a simple task, that they could totally do themselves, but instead they’ve asked you to do it. I know I’m being a bit sarcastic here, but ever been there before? “Self”, many times in this situation will rise up it’s ugly attitude and feel like, why the nerve of that person to be so insensitive and unthoughtful to ask of you just one more thing. So you grumble and snap at them with your words or actions. This is just everyday stuff that can happen all the time. Or maybe someone makes a comment that you think you have a better answer to and with your words you slice the air; the room goes silent and God smites you in your spirit because you’ve just stepped out from under his alignment of authority. There may be nothing wrong with the words you said, but the attitude you spoke them with was out of line.
But, then we read in scripture that our thoughts should be true, pure, just, lovely, and of a good report. Isaiah admonishes us in chapter 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Let’s face it, people are going to rub us the wrong way, but we still need Jesus to help us in keeping, “right thinking”, even while they are getting on our nerves or anoying us. Or even possibly just not doing and leading things the way we think it would be done better if we were in charge. God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours.
It’s putting ourself aside and placing others before us. It’s preferring our brother and our sister. Right thinking is giving others the benefit of the doubt before we cast judgement. Recognizing if we were to walk for a day in someone elses shoes we might percieve things from a different perspective. It’s letting go of greivances or tresspasses that have been done to us intentionally or unintentionally and forgiving one another.
Right thinking ultimately is being filled with the righteousness of God. Crucifying our flesh, our own thinking, and taking on the mind of Christ.
Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” If we back up a bit and look at verse four though it states, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Instead of dwelling on how bad things are, or how nobody seems to understand and life would be better if you weren’t in it. We need to be thinking right. We need to see things as God sees them.
If we take a look at Philippians chapter 4 again and verse 7, it states, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
How? By keeping yourself in the word of God. Fill your day with worship and praise. Giving thanksgiving unto him. Dwell on thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.
Philippians 4:9 lets us know, “Those things which ye have both learned, and recieved, and heard, and seen in me do; and the God of peace shall be with you.”
That’s worth repeating. “The God of peace shall (not might) be with you.”
This is a promise we can cling to by doing what verse eight is telling us to do. Proverbs 21:21 says, “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth, life, righteousness and honour.”
We can have victorious living! We can attain God’s promise! We can be an overcomer of self-righteousness and have the righteousness of God living and abiding in us. Not only on Sunday when we are worshiping with others of like-mindness, but also every other day of the week as well! By allowing the Holy Ghost to be alive in us daily.
A little further down we read a very well known verse, Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” It doesn’t say I can do this on my own ability, but through Christ.
Isaiah 51:1-3 “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord:” then he goes on to say, “Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. (A good report) For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” (praise)
Why look upon all these things? Because they sought the Lord, hearkened (listened) to him, they followed after righteousness. When they looked and thought upon the good report they found comfort, joy, and gladness, and were filled with thanksgiving and praise!
We can have, “right thinking”, when we seek him in our life, and when we think on Him who has done so much for us. My prayer is that, I want everything he’s got for me today. Nothing more, nothing less. I can have, “right thinking”, and have victory! Think on these things!