My first thought when writing this blog was, "Are you kidding me....this series still isn't done?" My second thought was, "I don't even remember all the other subjects." So before you begin this next blog, go back and reread or scan over the "Think Upon" series. The whole point of starting a focus on Philippians 4:8 was to explore how to win the battlefield in the mind. Have you begun to live victorious? Or has it all just become stale? Take a moment to look back, reread, pray, and then dive right on in!
This week has been a pretty sucky one. From rude gym attendees to unwanted drama to having to be around fake people, I came to the conclusion that I would enjoy staying home in bed all day eating ice cream and crying while watching Friends to laugh. It's quite wearing when life's struggles never seem to end. Feeling as if I just began to conquer my anxiety, it seemed to creep back up among everyday life again. At first (and even now) I was angry because the mighty God of the universe can't allow for a small break. Then, He graciously reminded me that I need to learn to trust in Him alone. God is so mighty that He knows when enough is enough and cares so much about me to allow struggles in order to develop strength. Everyone else will disappoint but He never will. Just like He will never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5b). As I began my Friday journey, because everyday is a journey to enjoy, it started rather annoyingly but quickly turned for the better when I received a free coffee because someone was willing to be used by God. Since that encounter, God has reminded me that I am not the point. From my thoughts to my actions, nothing should revolve around me. With that being said, I have allowed others and my selfishness to conquer my thought life. Pretty ironic that I've spent weeks sharing how to live in victory and I haven't been doing it myself.
Philippians 4:8 states, "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." Whatever is admirable. It seems so Valentine's Day. Getting a note from a secret admirer or being smitten with someone. Whatever is to be admired. This version makes me think of being a good role model for a child. Being aware that someone is always looking up to you. However all of these lead back to selfish thoughts. I received a note from a secret admirer. I am smitten with someone. I am a good role model. I have people looking up to me. (Side note: Sometimes strength and endurance are found from remembering others are striving to be like you and the desire to be a good role model. But if taken out of balance, the people looking up to you begin to be your reason why. Remember we/they are not the point.) As learned previously, selfishness does not help us live victoriously. Therefore, how is one supposed to think upon whatever is admirable?
A while ago, someone taught me about running every thought through a Jesus filter. Then they took it a step further and asked, "If Jesus came back right now would He approve of your current situation?" To take it even further, I would ask, "If Jesus came back right now would He approve of how you were reacting and interacting with your current circumstance?" Selah (pause and think about this). With continuing, keep in mind the questions above.
Being admired and having admiration towards someone is fine until you become out of balance. The definition of admirable is "deserving respect and approval." Many times we, as humans, find people admirable for their beauty, clothes, actions, and social status. Yet, where does deserving respect and approval come from? Certainly not from the outside of someone, but rather where their heart rests and belongs. In many movies, the popular character never gets the boy or girl, the forever friends, or the happy ever after. So why is it that we convince ourselves this is who we have to be? Thinking upon whatever is admirable begins with who we want to be like. First and foremost, our role model should be Jesus. When we desire to be like someone, do we stray from them or strive to be with them? EXACTLY! Then why is it that we stray from Jesus when we should be striving after Him? If we are surrounding ourselves with people who love Jesus, taking time to learn about Jesus, and loving people like Jesus does...would we ever really have to worry about the answers to the questions above?
Thinking upon whatever is admirable is more about who we are allowing into our heart and who we really aspire to be. They go hand in hand. Like the old saying goes, "You become who you hang around." And who you hang around is who you strive to be. So take a moment and ponder your time and whose in it....you may find who you should be and who you are are two different people.... Who are you striving towards?