“He’s not right in the head.”
I guess I was in college when I first heard this and it caught my attention. I laughed at it (the context was hilarious), but it didn’t take long before I began to really think about how much our thoughts influence our behavior towards life.
How many times have you been in the dumps about work, school, or a relationship and then altered your world for the better just by altering your thought process?
Maybe not as many times as you probably could, huh? Philippians 4:8-9 urges us:
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. 9 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, NIV
These two verses are some of the most impactful in the entire letter and they can go past us as an overwhelmingly positive list of “things”.
And it’s our loss if that’s all they do.
As he’s concluding his letter, the Apostle Paul challenges them to look away from those thoughts and actions threatening their joy. Instead, he tells them to “think about such things”:
- Things that are true.
- Things that are noble.
- Things that are right.
- Things that are pure.
- Things that are lovely.
- Things that are admirable.
- Things that are excellent.
- Things that are praiseworthy.
Can you begin to imagine the transformation in our minds if we were to focus on that list of things in our lives?!?
Then he comes back to the ever-present concept of practicing our faith in verse 9. Whatever they’ve “learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.”
Take these positive thoughts we have, coupled with the truth of who we are in Christ, and walk out our faith in living, tangible, Earth-changing ways.
Perhaps this is why C.S. Lewis wrote, “Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither” (Mere Christianity, 118).
When our minds are fixed on the Lord and feet are walking our faith, Earth is blessed as a result of our Heavenward living.
So let’s get started!
Commit Philippians 4:8-9 to paper—write it out by hand.
Then below that, give an example of something true, noble, right, etc.
Just starting there can fix unjoyful attitudes.
Maybe there are plenty of times when we’re not “right in the head” because we’re choosing to see only the negative. Turn that around!
Let’s get our heads fixed on Heaven and the gifts God has given us. Then not only will our lives change, we’ll bless Earth while we’re passing through it.
We’re soon to end our study in Philippians.
I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts on where we should go next.
Want more like this? Consider my book: 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom: A Month in the Proverbs. It is often said: knowledge knows a snake is in the grass and wisdom is staying out of the grass. While that creates a good working definition, there is undoubtedly more to applying knowledge than that. Moving through a selection of verses from a chapter of Proverbs for every day of the month, I walk readers through a journey of spiritual formation applicable to everyday life. The goal? Knowing how to apply the wisdom of Scripture so we grow in our faith, become wiser, and show the world the life-changing power of Jesus.