Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
When it comes to my physical health, what I eat matters. When I eat too much unhealthy food, I gain fat. When I eat too little, I’m lethargic and lightheaded. If I want my body to be healthy, I must put the right food into my stomach. Garbage in means garbage out. When I eat well, I am far happier, healthier, and more productive.
The same is true in our mental, emotional, and spiritual lives. In today’s passage, Paul taught that we must dwell on that which is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. If we want our minds to be healthy, we must allow them to run on the right kind of fuel. Just as we must put healthy food in our bodies, daily, we must consume that which is of God, filling our brains with him. This also means that there are thoughts we must abandon. Healthy living means not dwelling on that which is dishonorable, unjust, impure, decadent, and evil. Just as junk food ruins my physical health, junk thoughts ruin my spiritual, emotional, and mental health.
We all have self-destructive thought patterns. For some of us, our struggle is with lust, greed, anger, resentment, or self-hatred. For others, it’s pride, self-comparison, or jealousy. Whatever it is, we all have junk thoughts that are unfortunately natural for us. When we live off these thought patterns, they damage our minds.
How do we just change our thoughts? This doesn’t just happen accidentally. For most of us, we’ve engaged in certain thought patterns for so long that they’re compulsive – a habit or an addiction. To undo such a habit takes hard work, discipline, and sometimes professional help.
For me, several years ago, I began getting up early every day to put God in my mind. Just as I get up and eat a healthy breakfast, I must get up and consume God, filling my brain with him. So, daily, I wake up early to read the Bible. I pick one verse for the day, and, when I have free time, instead of letting my mind wander to thoughts of lust, anger, or pride, I try to turn myself to that verse, ruminating on the healthy instead of the self-destructive. I’m far from perfect, but in daily putting God into my brain, I’m far healthier than I was back when I habitually consumed spiritual junk food. If I want to be spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy, daily, I must consume that which is of God.