In many ways, we are what we think. Our minds are the root of our actions, and it is through our minds that our affections are stirred. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that we think about the right things and that we learn to think in the right way. In other words, we must learn to think Christianly.
Some people would say that to think Christianly is to have a mind that only contemplates explicitly Christian topics, closing itself to every other notion. But this doesn’t fit the description of Christian thinking that we find in Scripture. The Bible teaches that we actually ought to think about everything, but that we need to learn to do so from a biblical perspective (2 Corinthians 10:5). We should consider music, engineering, medicine, art, justice, freedom, and love—the whole gamut of human existence—through the lens of the revealed truths of God’s word.
The apostle Paul understood this, so he gave us a list of qualities with which to construct the framework of our thinking. As followers of Christ, Paul said, our thoughts ought to be directed and governed by qualities like truth, honor, justice, and purity.
We are, he says, to think about those things in which there is “any excellence.” The word he uses for “excellence” is the Greek word areté, which is the most comprehensive word in the Greek language for “virtue.” In other words, Paul gives us the standard against which we can judge our thought patterns on a regular basis. We can look to God’s word and ask, “Is what I am choosing to think about, and the way that I am choosing to think about it, in line with moral excellence? Is it in line with God’s approval?”
What a challenge this is! This manner of thinking won’t happen in a vacuum or without plenty of effort. If we hope to cultivate it, we must meditate on God’s word day and night (Joshua 1:8). As we continually strive to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2), we will not only glorify God but also be strengthened in our ability to contend for the gospel in our conversations.
So, as you think about your thoughts, here are three questions to ask as you seek to apply this verse in your life:
Is there anything I should think about more?
Is there anything I should think about less, or not at all?
Is there anything I should think about differently?
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1Blessed is the man1
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law2 of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
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