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
We all know how the mind is a wonderful thing. God endowed humankind with such a powerful tool that we still haven’t even begun to decipher but a small percentage of the potential of the mind. Humanity has discovered and created truly spectacular things thanks to the unlocking of the mind’s most impressive device: imagination.
The power to imagine makes the power of the mind almost limitless. The only boundaries the mind knows, when it comes to imagining, are the ones we impose ourselves. The thought process that goes on when we activate our imagination is so complex that it can’t even be explained without using our imagination…the problem is that sometimes, when we allow our imagination to go too wild, it can take us to places we don’t really want to go.
This concept applies to any and every facet of life. Personally, however, the biggest problem I have when it comes to letting my imagination loose is that I inevitably end up in places of fear that cause me great anxiety and even panic. The thing is that I have such a vivid imagination that I end up losing grip of reality and begin to believe that what’s in my mind is truly real…hence the self-induced state of anxiety and panic.
This is why I LOVE today’s passage of Philippians 4. It helps me refocus. It reminds me that, regardless of how hard it might be to accomplish it, I am in control of what’s in my mind. It just takes being intentional. It takes me setting up some boundaries.
Scripture is clear about this topic. God wants us to be alert and rein in our mind…He wants us to reshape it and renew it in order for us to discover Him:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12: 2
And how do we exactly do that?
It isn’t easy. But with prayer and hard work, it is possible in the Lord!
We start with prayer. We pray for guidance and for strength. We pray the Lord makes us disciplined and picky as to what we allow into our minds. We pray He makes us choosy and intentional about what we entertain in our thought-life.
We continue by taking steps toward saturating ourselves with “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy”…and thinking about such things instead of thinking about the things that seek to destroy us. We inundate our brain with The Word!
Then, as we flood our mind with all things God, we stay alert. We try to catch ourselves in the act of taking our first steps down the road of toxic thoughts, and we flip on the switch of the Word in any way, form or shape that is most readily accessible to us at the moment. And, since the roads begin to get slippery usually when we are having down time, we ought to consciously select the best activities to fill in or pass that time.
In my case, I try to always have Christian music on. I hardly ever listen to anything else anymore, so the Word often comes to me in song. If I fill my brain to the brim with Christian music throughout the day, I find it hard to think of anything destructive. Some may be avid readers, well, there’s nothing more effective to trigger our imagination than reading. Therefore, carefully selecting our reading material will have a great impact into our thought process. Like these, any other thing we do to fill in the time will have the potential to influence our thought-life…for good and/or for bad. This is why; the self-imposed boundaries come in handy.
It is not a matter of being legalistic and self-inflicting pain in order to attain the perfection of a life of only pure-thoughts. That is NOT at all what I’m saying…battling evil with evil is never the way.
What I’m saying is that we ought to keep in mind, whenever we are choosing what to do with our time, that:
"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10: 23
So the brain IS a wonderful thing. It can lead us to a deeper knowledge of God and it can open the door to a life of reliance and trust in the One who designed such an amazing tool.
*Can you think of any way you can begin or improve the renewing of your mind by the careful selection of the things you do to pass the time?
*Can you think of ways in which you can redeem your time?
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