Here is an excerpt from the sermon “Taking Control of Our Thinking,” a part of the series Blueprint for Joyful Living: Philippians by Rev. Bruce Goettsche. I find this relevant to my life and I hope you all are able to find an application in your life as well.
Someone has said that the greatest addiction our society faces is the addiction to anxiety. We talked about overcoming anxiety in our last study in Philippians. Now as we move to verses 8-9 we note a connection. In verse 7 we are told that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds when we pray rather than fret. Notice how the next two verses ends.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. [Philippians 4:8,9]
The focus in both texts is on how to experience the peace of God rather than the churning of the world. In our last message we looked at the importance of talking to God. In a sense, this text challenges us in the way we talk to ourselves. What we think about and how we interpret the things that are happening around us create the churning that so often is a part of our living.
There is a famous scene in Peter Pan. Peter is in the children’s bedroom; they have seen him fly; and they wish to fly too. They have tried it from the floor and they have tried it from the beds and the result is failure. “How do you do it?” John asked. And Peter answered: “You just think lovely, wonderful thoughts and they lift you up in the air.” That sentiment is a little sappy but it also contains a measure of truth. The only way to defeat evil thoughts is to learn to think differently.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Our thinking is something we must take charge over. If we don’t, it will control us. Paul tells us that we need to be intentional about focusing our minds.