Philippians 4:8 is probably one of the verses I come back to time and time again to help me to think the right thoughts. I have real trouble with my thoughts, often allowing my mind to dwell on worries, anxieties, untruths and half-truths which will end up crippling me, so I have a constant need to do what this verse instructs:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

A few weeks ago we went out to Brimham Rocks, near Harrogate, one of our favourite family places. It’s a place of lovely, rugged beauty, with lots of strange rock formations to climb:

It’s looked after by the National Trust, and there is a shop there selling souvenirs. I found a book called ‘The Complete Pocket Positives’ there, an ‘anthology of inspirational thoughts’. As the preface says, ‘There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” (a quote from Albert Einstein.) I suppose that sums up how we can think.

By nature, I am more of a pessimist, someone who is quite cynical and tries not to get too excited about things to stave off disappointment and disillusionment that way. I don’t find that to be a Biblical way to think of life, however. So I have to concentrate hard on thinking the right thoughts and using the right words. Coincidentally, I had an email from the gym I attend this week which was headed ‘Healthy Lifestyle Tip: The Power of Words’. God can speak to us in a number of ways and using all kinds of people! Here are the ‘healthy words’ they quoted:

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” ~ Jack Dixon

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~ Maria Robinson

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~ Robert J Collier

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” ~ Carol Welch

It’s easy to view these proverbs or aphorisms with a wry smile and a pinch of salt, because they are short and snappy and we may well think ‘easier said than done’ (most things are, I find!) But the Bible clearly affirms that what we are thinking about and meditating on will have a real effect on who we are and how we live, so we need to be careful to think about things which are true, admirable, praiseworthy, lovely and right! If, like me, this requires effort, remember that ‘success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out’ and let’s make that concerted effort to think in a right way that pleases God!