“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." Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Before I even have my first cup of coffee most mornings, the mental battle begins. Lies bombard me with scripts that don’t line up with truth and drag my mood down before I’m even given a fair shot to enjoy this new day.
The mess that was left in my kitchen the night before will turn into an entire mental dialogue about how disrespected I am and how inconsiderate and uncaring my people are. The truth is, my people care deeply about me, but they are sometimes forgetful when they’re up playing family games or having late-night chats.
I wish my first inclination wasn’t to personalize those dirty dishes, but the lies are loud and so convincing sometimes. I’ll make a snarky comment out of frustration, which just sets the completely opposite tone in my home than what I really want. Then the guilt of my morning annoyance turns into lies about myself because I should be more patient and understanding.
And it’s not just in my kitchen. The more I entertain the lies, the heavier my heart feels all day long. It’s no longer just about the dishes and the comments I made that morning. Those lies quickly tap into the deeper wounds of my heart and deeper insecurities I have as a wife and a mother. Without even realizing it, those lies begin to inform my beliefs and steal my peace. The danger is that lies don’t just pass through our thoughts. Lies ravage our beliefs.
Lies, unattended to, affect the perceptions we form. The perceptions we form eventually become the beliefs we carry. The beliefs we carry determine what we see. That’s why we must be so careful to recognize where lies are affecting us. Our faith can get fractured by the lies we let inform our beliefs.
I’ve come to realize that what makes faith fall apart isn’t doubt. It’s becoming too certain of the wrong things.
The wrong things I’m tempted to believe can be:
“It will never get better.”
“My life will never be good again.”
“God won’t forgive me.”
“I can’t forgive them.”
“I won’t be able to get over this.”
“God doesn’t care.”
Instead of letting those defeating lies take over my emotions and dictate my reactions, I’ve learned to see them as warning signals. When I have a thought that is especially negative or condemning of myself or others, I pause to consider, “Is this really true?” And what I’m discovering is that most of the time the answer is, “No, it’s not.”
The Bible, while inspirational, is also very applicable. And when we turn to God’s Word to know what to do with the thoughts and lies causing commotion in our minds, we can begin the work of transforming those first moments in the morning to holy moments. And then we can set a better pattern for all the other thoughts we have the rest of the day.
In the book of Philippians, we find Paul in prison writing to the church of Philippi. If there were ever a perfect situation for someone to start believing the wrong things about themselves, their people and God, it’s Paul writing a letter from prison. But he doesn’t waver. And in his closing words of Philippians 4, Paul addresses our thought-life as Christians:
“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” (Philippians 4:8).
Right. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Praiseworthy. Those are the things to think about, and not just because they’re a delightful and fun break from the lies we like to explore.
In the very next verse, Paul tells us what is promised to us when we 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” (v. 9, NIV).
The peace of God. That is what I really long for.
Friend, rather than giving space to any lies that are trying to come in and set up camp in your mind today, remember that God has given instructions for a better place to park our thoughts. This doesn’t mean we deny ourselves processing hard things or complicated relational struggles, but it does mean we stay clear-headed enough to untangle any lies compounding the issues so we can tackle them with truth.
When we set our minds on the things of God, we will have direct and immediate access to the peace of God.
God, help me untangle any lie I’m believing and replace it with Your life-giving truth. Help me set my mind on things that are of You: Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Praiseworthy. Lies are damaging and defeating, so I will not allow them to hijack my mind or hinder my heart. With Your powerful truth in me, I am set free. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Romans 8:6, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” (NLT)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Are there any lies you’ve been tempted to believe about yourself or others recently? What’s something right, pure, lovely or praiseworthy you could think on instead? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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