Your thought life can be a real battleground. As a result, your habits of mind are the only way to really win the battle. Just as a soldier has to use the right weapons for warfare, so do you.
Someone said that if you’re a thinker then you’re unique. It is estimated that 5% think, 10% think they think, and 85% would rather die than think.
Of course, that is just a bit of humor, but thinking is something that we all do a lot of.
According to some Psychologists, they say that on average approximately 10,000 thoughts go through the human mind in one day. That is 3,500,000 thoughts a year!
There is no shortage of resources that are telling us what and how to think. TV, Talk Radio, the Internet to name just a few. I decided a long time ago that the BIBLE was going to be my primary resource, to guide my way of thinking, and habits of mind.
There are many other options, and many think that they know better than God does. I just disagree. Well, Paul the Apostle gives us some outstanding advice, in the Word of God, right here in:
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, 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.”
That is one power-packed portion of scripture, that deals directly with habits of mind! Where better to turn to, than the word of God. It has all the answers you need.
2 Peter 1:3 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness…”
(Keep Reading…the 7 Excellent Habits of Mind – are almost here)
The importance of the thought life.
The importance of Paul’s exhortation here comes from the great importance, of the thought life of a Christian. There is no doubt that you are shaped by your thought life.
“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” ~ Proverbs 23:7
If you do not control your thought life, your thought life will control you.
If you Feed material into your mind, that produces bad, harmful, or sinful thoughts, you will soon lose control of your life.
Someone has said, “Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a destiny.”
It all begins with the thought life; therefore Paul’s exhortations here about your thought life are very important.
If you want to develop better habits of mind, then it is going to take some purpose, motivation, and initiative on your part. It is easy to let your mind wander wherever it wants to go. Just as you must guard your eating, your mind needs to be guarded as well.
Here we go:
Habit #1. Meditate on things that are true and honest.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…”
You have to keep lies out of your mind. Gossip, political propaganda, and false accusations need to put in the trash can, where they belong. You cannot consume those things and maintain healthy habits of mind at the same time.
Jesus said to the crooked Pharisees in:
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.
Habit #2. Meditate on things that are just and pure.
Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure…”
It is an excellent habit of mind to keep your mind clean. The mental and spiritual gunk that builds up naturally really affect your performance.
That’s exactly what happens with a spark plug in your car. A residual gunk builds up over time, and eventually, the cars performance will really suffer. If it goes long enough, the car will fail to start.
The same thing happens with your thinking. Don’t let your mind get plugged up by the worlds gunk. Clean it out regularly with God’s Word, and then make it a habit of mind to meditation on things that are just and pure.
Habit #3. Meditate on things that are lovely.
Philippians 4:8 …”.whatsoever things are lovely…”
How easy it is, when someone upsets us, for our thoughts to become everything but lovely. You are not alone in the struggle for your thought life. However, there really are very few that exercise discipline in this area.
The focus of most primary mental inputs is negative. Bad news and ugliness abound in this world of sin. If you think you can put your mind in neutral, and coast through life, you are making a big mistake.
Habit #4. Meditate on things that are of good report.
Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are of good report…“
Rather than listening to gossip, or criticizing people, pay attention to the things that people do right. Take notice when your children have behaved well, or a coworker goes the extra mile. Pay attention when kindness is modeled by someone, and think about it.
We don’t have to live with our head’s buried in the sand, we live in the real world. But we can choose to notice those things of good report, that other people miss. Have you ever noticed that it is easy to pick out everything that is wrong with a situation, and a little more difficult to spot what is right?
There is so much negativity and bad reports. The news very rarely has good news. However, if you just take some time to count your blessings, it will make a big difference in your daily perspective.
Habit #5. Meditate on things of high virtue
Philippians 4:8 “… if there be any virtue…”
We speak here of the health of your spiritual life. That is far more important than the health of your physical body. In fact, good spiritual health will result in physical health as well. But the opposite is not true at all.
Biblical virtues are a treasure and find their home in the heart and mind, of the believer.
This reminds me of what it says in –
2 Peter 1:5–9 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Here we find an actual list of Biblical Virtues:
- Brotherly Kindness
There are many other biblical virtues that you can read and think about, but this is a good start. People of virtue and good principles are hard to find in this world, so be one of them.
Habit #6. Meditate on things that are praiseworthy.
Philippians 4:8 “…and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
There actually are many things in life that are praiseworthy. We just often miss them for a variety of reasons. Our busy schedules and stressed out lifestyles are some the reasons. But if you will just make the effort, to meditate on things that are praiseworthy, you will not have a short supply of them.
People all around you are looking for meaning in life. They are so accustomed to the bad, that when someone points out the good, they are shocked. By the one that points out the good.
Take the time to praise your children when you see them doing what they are supposed to do on a normal day. We are so quick to point out disobedience, but never to praise the obedience. In other words, make it a habit to give praise to whom praise is due.
Above all, praise Jesus!
Habit #7. Bring every thought under the control of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ“
When you begin to notice that you are not practicing the above habits of mind, make a course correction. All of us can be caught off guard from time to time. When that is you, admit it, pray, and straighten out your thinking.
Remember, even the best of men, are only men at best! Give yourself some grace, seek the Lord, and practice mental and spiritual discipline. You cannot be a disciple, without discipline! We hope that these 7 Excellent Habits of Mind have been helpful and encouraging to you. Put them into practice, and I know they will be.
The Key – is to start now, and take as big of a step as you can, in the right direction.
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