Paul continues to teach the Philippians about the way the Christian faith should affect their inner life. “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”(Phil 4:8). The content of our thoughts is our choice. When we choose to dwell on negative, hurtful, or anxious thoughts, we should not be surprised when our thoughts turn in bad directions. Paul encourages us to seek out good things to consider, looking diligently for the positives of situations and people to praise and commend.
He also speaks of his own personal journey in this area. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me”(Phil 4:11-13). Paul has learned (implying it is not natural to him) how to find contentment in any situation, little or much. His circumstances do not determine his contentment and joy. He takes ownership of his own contentment, choosing it no matter what is going on around him.
We tend to focus on actions rather than thoughts, yet Jesus teaches us that our actions and words stem from our thoughts. Positivity and contentment are choices we can always make, but they require the discipline of always seeking to see the best.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Why is it hard for me to consistently think positive thoughts?
One Thing to Pray For: Contentment, joy, and positive thoughts regardless of my circumstances