Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Did you know that you can control what you think? People have come to me for prayer because they were having “bad thoughts” or “unclean thoughts.” I pray for them, and I also tell them that simply because a thought pops up in their minds, it doesn’t mean they need to think about it. Paul tells us that we are to think about the things listed in Philippians 4:8. That means YOU have to do it. It doesn’t happen automatically. My spiritual father used to say, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep him from building a nest in your hair.” In other words, don’t allow ungodly thoughts to stay in your mind. To help us in our thought life, Paul listed what we should focus on.
First, he wrote to think about things that are true: that’s the Word of God. The Word of God is truth. Second, he said things that are honest or honorable. Ask yourself, “What is honorable in this situation? Am I operating according to my flesh which desires to sow dishonor, or am I honoring as God?”
Third, Paul told us to think on things that are just, or right. Seek justice, God's way in every situation.
Fourth, think things that are pure or clean. We are not to allow impure images or thoughts to make a home in our minds.
Next, think about things that are lovely, which means acceptable. This means to think in ways acceptable to God. We are to think things that are of good report or well-spoken of and things of excellence - which means to think of how to do something best. Finally, think about anything for which you can praise God.
Practical Application – You control your thoughts. When a negative or unbiblical thought enters your mind today, replace it immediately with one of these thoughts Paul listed.
Romans 8:6; John 17:17