Thursday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Philippians 4:8-9

More Exhortations

One of the hardest things to do is to control one’s mind.  It is a dark labyrinth full of endless allies, none leading to solace or answers but only more questions and despair.  When one isolates himself within his own mind, he is bound to go astray (Proverbs 18:1).  This is because the fallen mind is broken and darkened by sin.  Left to itself, it mulls over matters of hurt and distrust, or moves into regions of lust and vice, or dreams of personal triumphs over others and imagines scenes of glory.  Let’s face it, the last thing we would ever want anyone to know about us is our own thoughts.  Our problem is that as sinful creatures with darkened minds, such thinking is our modus operandi; that is, what I have described is the way our minds work when left in neutral, only worse.  Granted, some nurture these thoughts and can truly make monsters of themselves, but we all have natural thinking patterns that make decent people shudder when they examine their thoughts even in the light of corrupt nature and certainly under the light of the word of God.

So Paul directs our thoughts in verse eight: Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise—think on these things.  Note that this is something we must strive to do.  To borrow a term from the world, we must be “proactive” with our minds; we must intentionally think on the matters the Apostle just mentioned since we will not do so otherwise.  And we are not talking about positive thinking; we are talking about godly thinking.  Paul is not telling anyone to feel good about themselves; he is telling believers to think about those virtues which we see in the Lord, in his saving work in our lives, and in his saving work in the lives of others.

I cannot overstate the importance of controlling the mind for the Christian, for our thoughts determine so much of our actions, and if nothing else, our countenance.  People with debased thoughts do debased things or speak in debased ways; that is, such manner of thinking is bound to express itself and come seeping out.  But the good news is that godly thinking will also express itself in actions as our new nature in Christ takes more control over our lives.  And how do we do this?  By filling our minds with God’s word, contemplating the life of Christ, glorying in the salvation he has given us, meditating on the teachings of the faith regarding his grace, forgiveness, intercession for us at the right hand, or blessings bestowed upon us.  Exchange the labyrinth for peace of mind, a peace that comes from God.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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