When I think about it, the key to enjoying both my coffee and my life in peace aren’t all that different. Pleasant coffee and a pleasant mindset both require the same thing: good filters.
In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul is dishing out some practical advice to new believers—specifically, how to live in peace. He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always... do not be anxious... present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6) I’ve often separated this message from the one under it until recently I realized they are strongly connected.
Paul is actually continuing his thought in verse 8 when he presents this 7-layer filter to keep out peace-robbers. He says:
“Whatever is true
Whatever is honorable
Whatever is right
Whatever is pure
Whatever is lovely
Whatever is admirable
Whatever is excellent or praise-worthy...
Think on these things.”
Whatever is true…
I love that Paul begins with this filter.
The truth filter asks, “Do the thoughts I’m thinking line up with what God says?” This filter is most effective when I’m in the Word of God daily.
I don’t know about you, but this one eliminates 100% of my negative self-talk, and on the flip side, takes care of “vain imaginations”— the prideful idea that I am better than I actually am (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The filter of truth also eliminates unconfirmed hearsay that often leads to gossip. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself “Is this true?” when a friend comes to you with juicy gossip?
Just because a thought makes it through the truth filter doesn’t make it beneficial to dwell on it. It may be true that my child is acting up at school, a friend is going through a divorce, or a family member is treating me poorly— but that doesn’t make any of those honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praise-worthy.
This is where Paul’s previous words come back into play. My job is to take those situations to the feet of Jesus, and ask for wisdom to see them the way He sees them.
As Christ-followers, peace in every situation is one of the things Jesus intended to set us apart from the rest of the world. Unfortunately, more often than not, our response is worry and anxiety, just like everyone else.
Friends, may it not be so among us. Let us be intentional to think about what we are thinking about.
If abundant life is like a good cup of coffee, then anxious thoughts are the grounds that should have no place in it. May our thoughts be fixed on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praise-worthy today.