Fix Your Thoughts On…
“And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”1
There was a lady who lived alone in a suburban apartment complex. Upset at the noise from the adjacent apartment that she claimed was disturbing her, she immediately picked up the phone and called her landlord. “You need to get up here right away,” she told him. “There is a huge party going on next door, and I want it to stop!” Worried about the idea of losing one of his tenants, the landlord hurried up to the woman’s apartment. The woman was eagerly awaiting his assistance and stood there in her open doorway tapping her fingers on the door. The woman invited him in and proclaimed that this was the third time her neighbors had thrown a party this month and that this one was worse than the others. The landlord listened closely but could not hear even the slightest sound penetrating the wall between her and her neighbor’s apartment. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but I cannot hear anything.” “Well,” she explained, “You’re not listening close enough. If you will go into the bathroom, shut the door, and hold this glass to the wall, you can hear nearly every word they say!”
If I were to ask your spouse or best friend, would they say you spend more time complaining or praising? Honestly, I think right now those close to me would say I do more praising, but their answer years ago would have probably been much different. I used to spend more time focusing on the negative in others than the positive, or I focused on what was missing instead of what was already there. The good thing is that I was aware of it, wanted to change my thinking, and did the work to fix the problem. It was not easy, but intentionally practicing being thankful to God and others was huge in helping with this process. I am sure there are always things we can complain about if we are looking for them, but if we stop looking for the bad and start focusing on the good, you become a much happier person.
God tells us to be thankful numerous times in the Bible, but I love today’s verse because it encourages us to change our thinking. If we focus our thoughts on the good things in others and on all the things we can praise God for, I think we will notice our complaints or negative thoughts diminish as a result. When our hearts and minds are cleared of the negative, we will have clarity to see the good God is doing in us, in those around us, and in the situations we face. What are your thoughts fixed on today?
Suggested prayer: Dear God, I ask that you clear the negativity from my mind and heart. Help me learn to focus on the good things in others and show my appreciation wherever possible. You have done, and continue doing, so much in my life that I can praise you for. I choose to fix my thoughts on these things and, in doing so, bring glory to you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Philippians 4:8 (TLB).
Quoted in “Are We There Yet? A Journey from Grumble to Humble”, a VBS kit (Promise Publishing, Inc., Mt. Juliet, TN: 2002), Adult Manual, p. 29.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.