Good Thoughts Phil. 4:8 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
After you are saved, you must develop good thoughts. Even if you are careful about what you are doing, or at least what other people see you doing, and you are yielded to the Holy Spirit so that he can conform you to the image of Jesus Christ, you must be careful with your thoughts. Christians who don’t have good thoughts are hampered in their growth. Good thoughts are essential to a good life because they mold you. What you think about is what you become. According to Phil 4:8, good thoughts are:
True – well then, meditation on the word of God is going to yield true thoughts because the word of God is true [Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17]. The words of God are certain [Prov 22:21]. True thoughts are certain, they are in accordance with fact. So here are some problems we face. First, finding facts and being certain today can be very difficult since most “news” is speculative and narrative [Deut 17:4]. Second, our thoughts are based on expectations and not facts [2 Ki 5:11, for example]. Third, our thoughts are ours and not the Lord’s [Is 55:8-9]. Thus, Job’s friends’ thoughts about him were wrong [Job 32:3]. Job’s thoughts about his own righteousness were wrong [Job 32:1-2; 35:2]. And all their thoughts about God were wrong [Job 38:2]. God had to straighten out their thinking. They knew what was true after God was through with them. If you want to be a true person, then you must have true thoughts.
Honest – thoughts are honest when they are what they seem. The Pharisees were not honest. They thought they were better than Jesus. The fact is that they were covering evil thoughts with their outward appearance [Mk 7:21]. Since Solomon said, “As he thinketh in his heart so is he,” [Prov 23:7], their wickedness became apparent when they killed Jesus. Likewise, you are a hypocrite if you think you are better than you are. People who think they are better than they are don’t usually get saved because they don’t think they need Jesus. A hypocrite thinks he is what he is portraying to others. He is not that. His trouble is that his thoughts aren’t honest.
Many problems in relationships develop from thoughts that are not honest. Embellished, exaggerated and emotionally charged thoughts are rarely honest. People rarely have honest thoughts about themselves. They tend to blame others rather than take responsibility for their actions. They generally criticize in others things with which they are having trouble themselves. These tendencies stem from dishonest thoughts. Be honest. To be an honest person, you must have honest thoughts.
Just – just thoughts are thoughts that can pass judgment with God. Like Prov 12:5 says, “The thoughts of the righteous are right.” For a lost man to think that he is right with God is not just. Solomon said, “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin,” [Prov 20:9]? No one. Only God can cleanse the sinner from sin. No man is justified by the law [Gal 2:16].
In our country today, where men call evil good and good evil, people have lots of trouble with just thoughts. They don’t understand judgment and equity. Merely because a thing is legal doesn’t mean it is just. Merely because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t mean it’s just. Merely because you thought it or did it doesn’t make it just. Merely because you read an article about it or saw a blog on the internet about it doesn’t mean it’s just. Just thoughts are thoughts in which, weighed against all the evidence that can be presented, you judge the way God judges. To be a just person, you must have just thoughts.
Pure – the words of God are pure [Ps 119:140]. Pure thoughts derive from saturating your heart, mind and spirit with the words of God. Pure thoughts are preserved when you immediately cut off wicked thoughts. Pure thoughts are tough to maintain in a society where there are so many defiling influences. So, cut off everything that stimulates impure thoughts and fortify your mind and heart with everything that cultivates pure thoughts. According to Titus 1:15, “Unto the pure all things are pure…” As your thoughts clean up, so will your life. Pure thoughts will make you a pure person.
Lovely – lovely thoughts are thoughts having those qualities that inspire love, affection or admiration. People spend so little time thinking about God, Jesus Christ and heaven. They are consumed with temporal thoughts and worries. But Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” [Col 3:2]. Lovely thoughts about God and the Lord Jesus should fill your mind and heart throughout the day. Lovely thoughts about your loved ones should come to mind frequently. Those thoughts will inspire love, affection and admiration for those things and people that you should love. Lovely thoughts will make you a lovely person.
Of Good Report – a good report is equivalent to a good reputation. So, think about things that are of good report. “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love,” [Prov 17:9]. You can always dig up dirt on people, particularly these days, with social media and the internet [Prov 26:23-28]. And you can consume your mind with thoughts of their imperfections, sins and failings. Or you can think on those things in their lives that are of good report. We’re not suggesting that you condone sin in their lives or that you overlook things that would be harmful to others in your church. But you don’t have to nitpick their faults. Think on the qualities in their lives that God uses, not on those flaws which God must endure. Thoughts of good report will help you have a good report.
Conclusion: Ps 139:23-24 ask God to try you and know your thoughts. And when your thoughts don’t line up with one of these six qualities, then change your thoughts to good thoughts. When you do, you will find the virtue and praise about which Paul wrote.