Bible Society of South Africa

A new life requires a new way of thinking – 5 November 2020

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

8In conclusion, my brothers and sisters, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable. 9Put into practice what you learnt and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9GNBOpen in Bible reader

We think thousands of thoughts every single day of our lives. Our brains are busy the whole time: while we are asleep or awake, processing information, determining the best response to every impulse or stimulus. So often we are of the opinion that our thoughts are being formed by the circumstances in our lives. When we are growing and approaching adulthood, we come to realise that we are not always able to choose the circumstances and we do not control all the situations we find ourselves in. Much of what happens in our lives is beyond our control. But the Word of God teaches that we always are able to control the way we think about life – and our response to every situation.

It remains a challenge. We are bombarded by a barrage of negative news daily. Social media may have a tremendously negative influence on our mental health. The mainstream media concerns itself with giving us all the bad news happening around us – bad news sells newspapers. All these negative stimuli on a daily basis can overwhelm us, we may think that all is lost in life. Paul teaches us that there is an alternative today. We have the ability to direct our thoughts to the positive news in life. We need to guard our minds, diligently focusing on what God is doing in our lives and in the world around us. We need to spend time in God’s Word, to know God’s opinion about our lives and our worth in his eyes. We need to learn to live with Spirit-filled awareness every day: to see the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, and the admirable in every day. We will find the fingerprints of God in loving encounters with his children. We will find it in nature all around us: in the beauty of a delicate flower, in the texture of the bark of a tree. We will see it in the palette of colours at sunrise and sunset. We need to be aware of God’s goodness and mercy all around us every day. And we need to learn to live with gratitude, expressing it in prayer every day.

What happens in us when we start looking for the good and pure in every day? What happens when we learn to live a life filled with gratitude? We will experience his peace. We will see him present in every day and in every situation. And that will bless our lives.

Everything in life comes back to the way we think. Our thoughts lead to decisions. Our decisions lead to deeds. What we often do become our habits. And our habits display our character to the world. Negative thoughts lead to negative choices, deeds and habits. And it leads to bitterness and unhappiness. Change must take place from the very beginning of the process by the renewal of our minds. We need to focus on the good. We will experience God’s peace.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of life. Thank you that I live under your hand of blessing; that you care for me. You are in control of my destiny. Teach me to trust you more. Help me to see the works of your hands, even in the darkest days. Fill me with your peace today. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.11
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