Peninsula Community Church
March 23, 2014
Body, Soul and Spirit – Whatcha Thinking? Part 2
Philippians 4:8 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Let’s continue to look at this passage together this morning. Last week, we focused on Paul’s admonition to think on those things which are true. We think on truth by focusing on a constant, unmovable point of reference. The problem with not having a fixed point of reference in our lives is that we can begin to believe that truth is relative and can be whatever we want it to be. Modern thinking says that you have your truth and I have my truth. By extension then, my truth is correct and your truth is correct as well.
For this reason, we are in the midst of a great debate about the relevancy and the truth of God’s word and His teachings to give us guidance. Unfortunately, rather than taking God’s word as a fixed point of reference that is constant and unchangeable, we have a society that believes that God’s words and teachings are archaic and no longer necessary. This is foolishness. When we do not have a fixed point of reference, we will walk blindly and aimlessly through life. When we lose the moorings of a fixed point of reference, we lose the ability to judge truth accurately.
But, God’s word and God himself has been and will continue to be that fixed point of reference. not just for believers but unbelievers as well; even though the nonbeliever may not realize it. The amazing thing is that these truths are so constant that when nonbelievers live by the principles of God’s word in regard to their business dealings and how they treat others; they will be blessed. Now, unfortunately, they may not make it to heaven or enjoy the blessing of God’s gift of eternal life, because they have now received Christ as their savior, but they are still blessed because they follow godly principles.
As we move forward in this study, rather than spend time on each of the remaining items in the list Paul gives us, I think we must learn and understand the principles of Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4:8. As we review this list and the admonishment to think on these things, we find a new mindset and discipline about the way we should be thinking. We have said it before that whatever you focus your attention on, you will begin to follow and begin to trust those things. The same applies to our thinking. What we focus on begins to stamp a neurological response on our hearts that results in familiar paths being taken. We in essence begin to live out a conditioned response of action and thought.
It is for this reason that Jesus made the proclamation that “out of the heart the mouth speaks.” When we feed our intellect, we feeds our hearts, and what we feed our minds and our hearts effects our will and our emotions. If we allow evil and corrupt thoughts to invade our thinking, there will be negative outcomes. Our heart will be malformed and will speak from the position of distortion, lies, and false doctrine.
As we move forward, we must consider where do we go from here? In other words, when confronted with unhealthy and nonBiblical thoughts, what do we do? How do we respond? Please note that the following is in no set order but are things to be considered so that we understand the focus of our attention.
The first step for us to take is to ask if the thoughts we are entertaining pass the Philippians 4:8 test. Is this thought based on truth? What does the word of God say about this situation or problem? How does the word confirm or contradict the truth of what is being said? Once acknowledged, we must align ourselves to God’s truth. So what are you thinking? Does what you think pass the Philippians test? Is it true? Is it honorable? Is it just? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it commendable? Does what I am thinking exhibit excellence? Is it worthy of praise?
To understand the truth, we must be in the word every day. John Piper made the following observation. “We’re completely wrong-headed whenever we lapse into thinking that private devotions somehow wins merit points with God. Devotions aren’t for impressing God or anybody else. They are for daily pointing us in the right direction and fueling the engine of our trust in God.” The goal through the Word is to have that point of reference that directs our steps. We cannot know truth unless we know The Truth.
The second step is to determine if the thoughts we are having are based on imaginations, false truths, and/or lies. One of the difficulties we face is in the area of imaginations and perceived truth. Imaginations are hard to deal with because they tend to be emotionally charged. One of the ways to do deal with imaginations and perceived truth is to refuse to continue to rehearse what someone has said or done to you. For example, if you believe that you have been ignored by someone and you continue to dwell on that, you can begin to build up an imagination and construct a story that is not based in truth. Some times these lies are so powerful that we would rather believe the lie that binds us than believing the truth that frees us.
We must also remember that the mode of operation for the enemy of our souls is to speak lies, distortions, and false hood. How do you know the enemy is lying. Listen to see if he is speaking. Listen to what John 8:44-47 has to say about this matter. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
A third step is to stop and think about where the unhealthy or nonBiblical thought is coming from. When this happens, pause for a moment and consider where the particular thought or idea is coming from. Is it true? Am I acting this way because I am tired, or wounded. Am I misunderstanding what is being said or done? Do I have all of the information required to process and understand the truth. Remember the enemy of souls loves to use well timed suggestions to entrap us into a false way of thinking. He loves to take advantage of well timed opportunities to whisper into our ear or to have others whisper into ears. He is so effective at distraction and distortion. He loves to join with our unhealthy thoughts and build on the negative. He is able to speak false truths and negatives in such a way that we begin to believe them and accept them at face value. You see the enemy of our souls will never be concerned about the kind of damage you will do for the kingdom of God, if he can get you to buy into the lies of incompetence, weakness, and inadequacy.
Uncontrolled thoughts form and shape our hearts and out of the heart actions are generated. Too often we are being tormented by events and issues that we continue to rehearse in our minds. Many times these thoughts are things that cannot be changed or resolved because the other person has become disengaged or disinterested in effecting change. But this is where we must remember that I am not responsible for the other person’s responses or actions. I am, however, fully responsible for my actions and responses to the stimuli in my life.
A number of years ago I spoke to someone that had received a letter from their husband. In the letter, he wrote some devastating, cruel, and mean things. He wounded his wife deeply, and then at the end of the letter he stated that he was already seeing someone else and that he was filing for divorce. The letter was not only caused her pain, but it attacked her character. It went to the core of who she was. In the letter, he threatened to malign her character by spreading false rumors and gossip about her. In our discussion, she stated that she continually read the letter and each time she read the letter she became more angry, and she became more fearful. As we discussed this, it was obvious that a continual reading of the letter was causing her great pain. To resolve this, I recommended to her that she could do one of two things. One, she could continue to read the letter and allow the wound of her heart to be opened again or she could destroy the letter, never to read it again. If needed to keep the letter because of the pending divorce, I suggested that she take the letter, place it in an envelop, scotch tape it closed, and never open it again.
Why would I say this to her? She was allowing that letter to continue to feed her insecurities, fears, and was breeding a false understanding about who she was and what she had done. You see the letter was filled with lies, and inaccuracies about her life. Each time she read the letter she was opening herself up to believe the lies and the inaccuracies. She was being affected by these thoughts so that her emotions and her heart were negatively impacted.
So what are you thinking about? Is what you thinking about based in truth? Is it honorable? Is it lovely? If not, it is time to change. No more excuses. No more false reasoning? Just stop it.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14