“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about”—Philippians 4:8(TLB).
When I started college in 1971, I never planned to pursue a journalism career. After taking a beginning reporting class as an elective, I was hooked. I’ve always been curious, nosy you might interpret.
After graduation, I didn’t use my journalism degree to work for a newspaper. Instead, I chose a teaching career in 1975, and tried to instill in my students the importance of gathering facts and making sure sources were quoted correctly.
In addition, I was also a news junkie, watching news shows and consuming more than one newspaper, daily and weekly. While traveling, I would often stop by a convenience store to purchase a copy of the local newspaper.
Letting Go of Being “In the Know”
I can’t recall the exact year or what precipitated my gradual letting go of the need to be “in the know.” I do know, however, that as I’ve nurtured my spiritual life through a more intimate relationship with God, I have no desire for the things of this world.
Being caught up in the negative news can lead to despair and often control our thought life. I no longer desire to become involved in any area of politics. Yes, I stay informed before I head to the polls to cast my ballot. But spouting my political beliefs or getting involved in discussions of anything smacking of dissension is no longer on my radar.
Why the change? Because I believe the only truth that matters in a world so fraught with half-truths, outright lies and duplicity is the truth found in God’s Holy Word. Instead of focusing my thoughts on the negative, I choose to take them captive.
Taking Our Thoughts Captive
If our minds are filled with the constant barrage of negative news and political discord, how can we become more like Jesus? Jesus’ focus was on the goodness of our Heavenly Father, not the politics of the time.
In today’s dysfunctional world, how can we avoid being sucked into the arena of disagreements and hostility over things that are not lasting? It requires a daily renewal of our minds, which begins when we follow Christ. Renewal is proactive, meaning we must actively spend time with Him in prayer and scripture reading each day.
By doing this, we “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The First Claim on Our Thoughts
If we’ve surrendered our lives to Christ, our focus should be on spiritual growth—striving to be more like Jesus. In a world full of strife, it can be difficult to tune out the negative and focus on the positive.
While I still read the newspaper, I’m now a headline skimmer, focusing on what really matters to me as a Christian and a citizen. However, what really draws my attention are the occasional positive stories, both in the paper and on television.
No, I’m not sticking my head in the sand and ignoring world affairs. Instead, I choose to fix my thoughts, as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, “on what is true and good and right. (To) think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. (To) think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”
Put a Godly Spin on Life
Have you ever heard the expression, “put a spin on things?” It means to “to twist a report or story to one’s advantage; to interpret an event to make it seem favorable or beneficial to oneself or one’s cause.”
Jesus didn’t twist the facts to make them favorable. He lived it, not to benefit Himself, but for the benefit of His followers. He wants us to renew our minds, concentrating on things that are excellent and praiseworthy.
When we fix our thoughts on Jesus, we’re focusing on a Biblical world view. We’re not just creating a rosy picture of life—we know evil exists—instead we’re putting a Godly spin on life. When our beliefs are firmly rooted and nurtured in our minds, it affects our lifestyle, giving us a deeper discernment of God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, or visit my blog for more inspiration at www.carolaround.com. If you need a speaker or workshop leader, you can contact me at the above e-mail or through my website. I’d be delighted to hear from you.
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