Text: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is jus, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable….think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 NRSV adapted).
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-13
Many, many years ago I read the positive thinking classic by Reverend Norman Vincent Peale titled, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” In his bestseller book, Peale talked in-depth about the power of one’s mind to create a world of worry and anxiety or joy and optimism. He said the way we focus and frame our thinking has a direct impact on how we feel about life and view our current reality. For example, to experience peace of mind, Peale suggested the following three-step approach:
Empty your mind. Peale recommended emptying your mind of negative thoughts at least twice a day. Peale said that when you consciously empty your mind of fear, insecurities, regrets, and other negative emotions, you will experience relief and release.
Refill your mind. After you empty your mind of negative thoughts and feelings, Peale said you need to refill your mind with positive, healthy thoughts and peaceful images, or else the negative thoughts will just walk back in again. Peale suggested visualizing a peaceful scene you once encountered, or some other kind of uplifting or joyful experience.
Repeat peaceful words to yourself. Peale termed this, “suggestive articulation.” Peale wrote about the power of words and said that repeating anxious, panicky words help produce a state of anxiety and panic. However, speaking peaceful words helps keep one’s mind calm.
Our further reading from Philippians 4:8 confirms what Peale wrote in his book. The mind is powerful, and our thoughts are powerful, so focus your thinking on the things that are good, true, pure, uplifting, commendable, pleasing, and so on. All of this, of course, in the context of faith in our God of steadfast love and faithfulness.
So, my friends, my hope is that you may fill your minds and hearts with positive and uplifting thoughts today, thoughts that will help you deflect the barrage of worry, uncertainty, and anxiousness we are all feeling. God bless you and grant you peace.
Loving God, clear our minds today of the fear and anxiety we are carrying and fill our minds with hope, peace, courage, and faith. Amen.
Focus for the Day:
Today I will try to focus my thinking on the positive things that are still part of my life and on the loving promises of our faithful God.