Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
There is a battle inside everyone for the control of our thoughts. It’s the oldest and most important battle of all. In the Garden of Eden, Eve lost the battle for her thoughts as she began to question God’s word to her just as the serpent tempted her to. And so the serpent tempts everyone; it all begins with our thoughts.
If we desire to live holy and follow Jesus, we must win the battle for our thoughts – it matters what we think. St. Paul knew this as he exhorted the Philippians to think only on things that are worthy and virtuous. On some level we all understand this, but how do we do it. Well, it begins with our spiritual practices.
If all we do is go to church once a week, and maybe pray before meals, we’ve already lost the battle for our thoughts. Paul tells us to “meditate” on noble and pure thoughts. To meditate implies that we build a habit of thinking on such things. We must set aside time daily to build a practice of Christian meditation on God’s Word and the spiritual life.
Paul was not talking about Eastern meditation practices that we see in other religions such as, Transcendental Meditation. Those practices are about emptying the mind, and an empty mind is most certainly the Devil’s playground. Christian meditation is about filling the mind; filling it with everything that is lovely and pure and true. In other words, it’s about filling the mind with Christ.
Like in all our endeavors, if we wish to be successful in the battle for our minds we must be mindful of our spiritual practices, and be intentional in our efforts. We must learn to practice the presence of God in our mind and being, after all, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. If we are to win what is the greatest battle of our lives, then we must have great power.
The power of the resurrection is the power of the Spirit within us to overcome. But to win this great battle we must be mindful of how the enemy fights. Satan attacks our thoughts because he knows we can’t stop him from planting bad thoughts in our mind. To have bad thoughts is human; it’s what we do with those thoughts that matters. When bad thoughts come, we must take them captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). So remember, your thoughts really do matter, and you have the power to win because, Christ is risen…and so are you!
Grace & Peace,
God of all grace, grant me the awareness each day to be mindful of my thoughts. Help me to keep my mind centered on Christ my Lord and to be filled with all that is beautiful and pure. Amen. Alleluia!