Human nature often causes us to focus on the negative circumstances and situations in our lives. We are good at identifying our own faults and very good at identifying the faults of others. With laser like focus, we dwell on all of the things that we are not…not pretty enough, not smart enough, or just not enough. And if there is enough time left in the day, we find ourselves dwelling on the shortcomings of others, especially those we love. Over and over we find ourselves not only thinking about these negative thoughts, but actually believing that these flaws are the only things that exist in ourselves as well as others, leading us down a road of depressed thinking, frustration and anger. When we focus only on the negative we find ourselves in a very dark place filled with hopelessness and the devil whispering lies like my husband is a jerk, I wish I never married this girl, they never listen to me, they only thing they want is money or sex. Remember these are lies of the devil and we cannot succumb to them.
How do we come against these negative thoughts that bombard our minds every day? In Philippians 4:8 it says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” We have to “fix our thoughts”! I love this…we don’t have to “fix” anything that is not broken…so if God is telling us to “fix our thoughts” He must have known that our thoughts would be broken and in need of repair!
So much of what we have learned about love and relationships has been that loving is really out of our control. We fall in love, we fall out of love! Who chooses to fall in our out of anything? We say things like, “I don’t know why I was thinking this.” Like we don’t know that we have an enemy who is seeking to steal, kill and destroy us. Love does not happen by accident and neither does our thought life! We have to be intentional and deliberate in choosing what we think about ourselves and others in order to walk out our love for God.
God tells us what we should be focusing on…the things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable…In other words, what does God say about me and those who I love? God’s word tells us that we are wonderfully and fearfully made, chosen, and joint heirs with Christ! He says that what He has joined together no man can tear apart and that nothing can separate us from His love! Believe it! Receive it! The word of God is the only true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable thing in this world!
Then God tells us to “think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Now, I hear some of you saying “there is nothing excellent or praiseworthy about me and certainly not my spouse or child or loved one!” But I challenge you today to ask God to help you to see yourself and others through His eyes of love. He will undoubtedly show you the God in you and in them…the excellent and praiseworthy part of who you are and who they are!
We all have areas that we could improve in our lives. We each have our own individual challenges and issues as we try to face the “enemy in me”! Love doesn’t mean that we don’t see our own flaws or the flaws of others. Love means that we choose not to focus on those flaws and instead focus on seeing and believing the best. God has promised us a renewed mind and a transformed life and that’s what it will take for us to become ones who love and are loved …for a lifetime!
Research – Philippians 4
Relate – Are you very good at identifying the faults of yourself or others? Do you have a tendency to stay focused on negative things?
Respond – Find a quality about yourself and/or your loved one that is excellent and praiseworthy, and focus on that quality all day to day. Tell that person what is excellent and praiseworthy about them.
Reflect – How has meditating on this scripture changed the way you view the flaws in yourself and others?
Discussion Question – What is your favorite scripture that reminds you of who you are in God? Please share it with group.