Sally was driving home from a business trip in Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she’d like a ride. The elderly woman accepted the offer of a ride. After a bit of small talk, the Navajo woman noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally. "What's in the bag?" asked the woman. Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband." The Navajo woman was silent for a moment then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder said, "Good trade.”
‘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
Have you ever heard the saying, “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a
character. Sow a character, reap a destiny!” This just means that what we think, we do, and if we can’t make changes in our attitudes, we will continue to have unhealthy behavior which will lead to unhealthiness, or the absence of the peace of God. We need to trade off some of our attitudes!
Paul explains how to have peace of mind when he says, “think on these things,” which is a command to give careful reflection, more than just letting something cross your mind. We are to think about things that are true: faithfulness and dependability. Whether you call it fake news or not, most of what we hear on the news does not fall into “whatever is true.” Dr. Walter Calvert reported a survey that reported that only 8% of the things people worry about were legitimate matters of concern. Therefore, 92% of the things we worry about are not real threats. Whenever we believe a lie, we’re submitting to the enemy’s control. Whenever we spread gossip, we’re working with the enemy.
“Think about whatever is honest” or noble, or worthy of reverence or respect. We have to guard our minds to not think about things that do not honor God. “Whatever is just” or right implies giving to God and people a justness that is worthy of them. “Whatever is pure” comes from the word meaning holy, uncontaminated; here, it’s moral purity. “Whatever is lovely” means amiable or pleasing, attractive and lovable. We should keep our minds on pleasant thoughts. “Whatever is of good report” or spoken highly of, admirable, praiseworthy and beautiful, worthy of talking about, appealing. “If there be any virtue,” is a reference to the excellence of God. We must major on noble thoughts, not the base thoughts of this corrupt world. If it has virtue, it will motivate us to do better; and if it has praise, it’s worth commending to others. We cannot afford to waste mind space on thoughts that tear us or others down. Finally, “If there is anything praiseworthy or worthy of praising God, thing on these things.”
It’s all about free will. We choose how we think, what we say, and how we treat others. Where is our mind? If it’s focused on selfish wants, selfish feelings, and selfish plans; we’re making a bad trade. We can choose to be happy. We can choose to move forward with a positive attitude or stomp our feet and throw a pity party. Where’s your mind? Your legacy is right behind you, being established by your steps, which are directed by your thoughts. What will that look like?