Imagine we are walking along a beautiful beach enjoying the sun and water, finding great little treasures in the sand. Pretty soon our pockets are full of seashells, pretty rocks, and maybe an interesting piece of driftwood here and there, so we break out the backpacks and collect some more – even things we don’t particularly like. Eventually, we have more than we can carry. Our arms are weary, our backs hurt, and we have blisters on our feet, but we can’t seem to pass by anything without picking it up. The weight drags us down.
All the things we’ve collected are like our thoughts. We’ve put them all into our minds – the good and the bad – and we continue to allow more to come in. We haven’t utilized any kind of filtering process to sift out the the thoughts that drag us down.
There is a better way.
The Message Bible puts Philippians 4:8 this way: “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
This scripture reflects the nature and character of God, who Himself is true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling and gracious. We are called to meditate on things that mirror God’s character.
No area of your life is untouched by your thoughts. Your habitual thinking patterns either encourage you toward excellence or nudge you into weakness. We can learn to focus our thoughts on things that reflect and honour God’s character. It’s not easy, but simpler than we might realize – and it will pay great dividends! The truly difficult thing is living with the consequences of not changing the way we think.
You can’t completely control the thoughts that are triggered from your surroundings, but you can unquestionably control what you choose to dwell on.
Ask yourself these questions and think on your responses:
1. What are 5 things I am thankful for right now?
2. What are 5 of my strengths or positive traits?
3. What are 5 of my best achievements so far?
4. What are the 5 people who love me the most?
5. What 5 things am I looking forward to in the next seven days?
When you bring your thinking into the domain of your conscious, creative control, you will quickly discover what an enormous advantage you have in sculpting the conditions of your life.
Stay in complete control over your thought processes. Purpose to think only on those things that are noble, true, right, and pure. Allow only those things that are admirable and praiseworthy to enter your mind. Other things that cross your mind will just have to pass by and keep on going. And throughout all of this, have the assurance that the God of peace is ever with you!
Let your thoughts truly be the treasures on the beach.