We live in an age where we can only consume a small fraction of the information that is available to us. We are bombarded by announcements of things we should be concerned about along with advice on how to think about those things. The noise is relentless and at times oppressive.
We have advertising which attempts to make us feel that buying a product will somehow make our lives complete. Our social media feeds are filled with posts from people that make their lives seem much better and easier than they are. From them we get the message, “if you could only be like me.” We compare ourselves to people that seem to have better experiences, more stuff, and happier lives.
Then there are the very real struggles that we all face. Jesus was totally accurate when he told us “You will have suffering in this world” (John 16:33, CSB). The list of things that cause suffering is seemingly endless. Then there is the anticipation of suffering that can also be oppressive. We understand the bumper sticker:
“Life is hard and then you die.”
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 that we are not to be anxious about anything. But we are anxious, or at least we are tempted to be anxious and our society increases, rather than decreases, our anxiety.
So what does Paul recommend for us to do to be less anxious? First he recommends praying about it and allowing God to work it out. This will bring peace.
Paul further recommends a change in the way we think about life. In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”Philippians 4:8, ESV
The verb in this verse, translated think about, is in the imperative mood and is therefor a command or an instruction. For Paul, it is not optional, it is mandatory that we control our thoughts and channel them in healthy ways. He commands his readers to do this.
What are we to think about?
In verse 8, Paul gives us eight categories of things that we are to think about and focus upon. Over the next few blog posts I would like to explore these categories individually and open a discussion as to how we can apply this command to our lives.
If you are encouraged by this post or would like to make a comment, please use the comment form below to offer your feedback. If you are reading this in an email and would like to comment, you can reply to the email or click on the “Read in browser” link below to go to the web page where you can enter a comment. I enjoy hearing from you.