“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
I’m not a psychologist or licensed counselor. But I knew something was spiritually and emotionally unhealthy in me a few months ago.
Day after day, I began to wake up with this same gloomy feeling over me.
When I would open up my emails, news apps and social media accounts, there I would see it: gloom.
It felt unavoidable, and it was all I could see everywhere I turned. At the same time, in doing research for a project I was working on, I came across a term called confirmation bias.
According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of confirmation bias is, “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.”
Plainly put, this means what we believe inside of us becomes what we look for around us. Evidence. Proof. Justification of our feelings.
I realized very quickly that I had written a story for the current state of my life. One that was filled with sad days, hard situations and … gloom. I was experiencing confirmation bias because I would wake up each day and subconsciously look for gloom.
And I found it.
But once I understood what confirmation bias was, I became challenged to change.
Even if life is trying to write a story of gloom, we are followers of Jesus. And the story Jesus left for us is one of hope, power and might. Yet, Jesus never said this would be easy. And I think we can all agree, it’s not.
Philippians 4 is a letter from Paul to the church in Philippi. It’s one of my favorite chapters in Scripture because it’s filled with so much practical wisdom for our lives.
Even though this was written so long ago, Paul is normalizing our daily battle. In verse 8, he gives us advice for where to set our minds each day: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
He tells us we should think, or we could say look, for things that are lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise.
And if we cannot see those things each day, we may need to challenge our beliefs. This is a hard process because honestly, I feel like the way our lives have been challenged lately has rewired us to expect gloom.
It’s time to peel back the layers of doubt, discouragement and despair and remember what’s deep inside of us as Christians — Jesus. He died to give us the power and authority to see the evidence of His goodness all around. But it’s up to us to decide what we believe about the ways of God.
What we believe is what we become.
Today, I want to challenge you the same way I’ve challenged myself these last few months. I encourage you to read all of Philippians 4 and let Paul’s God-breathed wisdom shift something in you.
After you read it, pray and ask the Lord to show you how you can replace the gloom of life with the goodness of God. Then, look for evidence all day of things that are lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. If you’re struggling to see it, ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
By doing this, we will start to see evidence of …
Opportunities in the midst of opposition.
Faithfulness covered up by frustrations.
Beauty that can only come from brokenness.
Gratitude instead of grief.
And the power of God despite the problems of man.
What you see is what you’ll get.
God, thank You for new days with new outlooks. Help us to see the evidence of You all around us today despite what the world tries to show us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
2 Corinthians 10:5, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (ESV)
In Nicki Koziarz’s book, Why Her, she helps women walk through the places where comparison has tried to compromise the goodness of God. This book, based on Rachel and Leah, has helped many women walk in the evidence of God’s Truth. Grab your Bible study bundle through Proverbs 31 Ministries today.
If you enjoy this kind of teaching and encouragement, Nicki would love to invite you to listen to her podcast, Lessons From The Farm.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Where have you seen gloom in your life recently? How can you shift to instead see and focus on the goodness of God? Share this wisdom in the comment section today.
In your journal or on a piece of paper, write down three trying things that have recently happened to you. Within those circumstances, identify the places you see Philippians 4:8, things that are lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise.
© 2021 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.