Guard your thought life
“So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” – Philippians 4:8
Beloveds. We need to learn how to guard our thought life. There is no greater marker of maturity than a person who has learned to govern their thoughts. This is one of the most powerful lessons we will ever learn. Your thought life determines what you focus on. What you focus is what you hold in your heart. What you hold in your heart begins to steer how you act. How you act determines what becomes a reality in your life.
As you can see, it is of the utmost importance that we steward what our minds dwell on. For what we are thinking about and meditating on will directly affect what we do and consequently steer the course of our lives.
Finding the gold in others
How much needless harm comes from gossip and slander? Christian or non-Christian, we can all say from personal experience how hurtful it is when we are the victim of thoughtless gossip.
The dangerous thing about gossip is that it is often, especially in churches, done with innocent intentions.
Someone ‘discussing’ someone else’s situation. Someone offering their uninvited opinion to another’s circumstances without the person being present. Perhaps someone’s sharing another’s situation as a ‘prayer point’. All without the person present! Dangerous ground.
Often we do not actively engage in gossip or slander in the church. However, it somehow creeps in and becomes rampant in churches in the way it disguises itself. It looks like innocent chatter. It appears to be ‘harmless processing.’ It can even be idle conversation. However talking about people without them present can be very dangerous territory. “Did you hear about…” “Is Sister Florence dating Brother Ned?” Or “Apparently they got a huge loan for that brand new car.” Who cares!
Why are you thinking or talking about other people anyway?
Unless that person is actually involved in your life, or you are in leadership and talking in a heart of love and with their growth in mind. Don’t waste your brain space having idle conversation about other people. It starts innocently but it’s unnecessary. It can subtly cross the line into gossip.
The Origin of the mind
It all starts with the way you think. I have experienced this powerfully. I used to let ‘innocent’ curiosity instigate idle conversations about people. While this was innocent enough, it could slide into needless discussion about other people’s lives of whom I had little interaction with. This is gossip!
I became convicted that unless I was actually actively involved in someone’s life or committed to praying for them and holding in my heart with the greatest affection I actually didn’t need to know.
Moreover I have learned to steward my thought life. I now feast on the things in others which are good, kind and worthy of praise. Therefore when I see that person I am overflowing with the Love of God and how the Father sees them.
Oh Christians, if we would grab hold of this, than we would be a powerful body of brother and sisters who dwell on the good in one another in our thought life. By holding each other with great affection in our thought life and choosing to regard one another the way the Father does we would change everything. We would intercede for one another. What would manifest therefore would be an elimination of needless and idle conversation, or processing about others, that can skate very dangerously close to gossip and lead very innocently into slander. Let’s be super vigilant about ensuring that our thoughts about others are of the purest regard. Let us not waste time in mindless wondering unless it is sincerely with a heart of love or to hold one another up in prayer. If we do this our conversations will be pure and Holy. We will have no grid to talk about each other except with a heart of the deepest love and admiration.
Fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God
One of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever received is this: “If you practice gratitude you will never be in want a day in your life.”
I have noticed in my own prayer life that I can often act like a needy petulant child! Seriously. “Lord, thank you for finance to pay that bill.” “Father thank you for a car with air con.” “ Thank you Jesus for a new laptop.” “ I thank you Lord that you can get rid of debt”, The list goes on.
Meanwhile I have conveniently forgotten to thank my beloved Father for my health. The fact that I live in a heavenly apartment near the beach. That I have a car that works and has central locking! I have never had to think twice when I need groceries to go shopping. I have a sister who lives three doors down who buys me an item of clothing almost once a week. I have a husband who is so fabulous it actually makes me sick. I have friends who are so divine that the thought of leaving them make my heart break a little inside. All of this and I get to go to heaven! What is wrong with me? How could I have forgotten even for a moment to continuously ask for things and forget to thank my Father.
To practice gratitude is a true gift.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the Fathers intention is for us to go around every day naming all our blessing and thanking him like some weird ritual. I think however that gratitude is a heart condition. When we are constantly aware of His goodness. When we intentionally fix our hearts on his favour and blessings that are manifest in our lives, it enables us to see clearly how loved and valued we are. How blessed and fortunate we are. It drives out fear that he won’t provide for our future. It brings everything into perspective once again.
Practicing Gratitude in our thought life is so powerful. It changes the way you pray. It changes the way you see things and the way you see and value people. It actually changes just about everything.
keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable
The news and the newspapers love to portray bad news. They broadcast negativity everywhere they can. While there is always an element of truth, it is portrayed in a way that will attract the most attention and gain the most momentum. Hence bad news is almost always highlighted over good. We are Christians! Just like Joshua and Caleb in the land of Canaan, our calling is to bring the Good Report to the world. To see things through the eyes of hope. To see the world getting better and better. To exhort, encourage and lift up. Speak life into the economy. Speak life into business. Speak hope into the state of our nation. Always look for the good. Always lift up. Always exhort.
Don’t be blind to real situations, but see what heaven sees and bring the voice of hope and change.
This comes by feasting our mind and thoughts on things which are good. This will give us spiritual eyes to see the good. To have eyes to see the potential glory in everything.
TV can be the greatest sabotage to guarding ones thought life
So here is something that you didn’t know about me. I used to watch, correction, I used to LOVE watching ‘Sex and the city’. I know, shock horror. Yes and I was born again. I wasn’t even a baby Christian.
I have since learned however that what you are feeding your mind with has everything to do with how you can govern your thought life.
It is really hard to keep your mind on what is pure and lovely when you are watching ‘legal’ porn
Seriously, that’s what it is. With some really nice clothes thrown in there, and some feel good themes of friendship to disguise the debauchery. But the truth is I was watching porn. Legal porn (if that is even a thing) and wondering why it was so hard to renew my mind. Are you watching 50 shades of grey? You are winking at sin my beloveds. Being entertained by the things that Jesus paid a high price to liberate you from.
Some horror films are so demonic it is amazing that they are even legal. And we would sit and watch two hours of that?! Worse still we let our children watch it and we wonder why they are so full of fear and suspicion.
What you put in is what you get out. What music are you listening to? What are you reading? I am not encouraging you to be legalistic. It’s not about being right or wrong. It has to do with stewarding your thought life which than guarding your heart. Thinking twice about everything that goes into your mind. It’s difficult to ‘renew your mind’ if you are allowing it to be constantly assaulted.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
The way to guard your heart is to steward your thought life. Doing this has changed everything for me. Learn how to guard your thoughts beloved. It will change your heart. It will change the course of your life.
Until next time.
You are richly cherished and loved,
The Healthy Hiccup