Winning The War Of The Mind

January 10th, 2024 – Early Wednesday Evening

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8

In previous devotionals we have been reminded again and again of the battle of the mind; in particular, the previous two verses deal with anxiety and the peace of God. The aforementioned battle has to do with where we set our focus and perspective: If our focus is on ourselves and on earthly, fleshly things, our perspective will be sour and twisted; if our focus is on Jesus, the One who holds all things together, our perspective will be joyful and our hearts will be filled with the peace of God.

Our passage today takes this battle of the mind to the next level, clearly delineating how to practically set our focus in the moment-by-moment on God and His kingdom. Read the verse again. Notice that Paul begins this verse with “Finally”; as he nears the end of this letter to the Philippians, he is pulling everything together in a final list of instructions that summarize (in a way) everything he has said up to this point. This verse, with its very practical direction, is a part of that summary and, as such, draws its substance from the rest of the letter.

So, what is this practical instruction? I like to think of and describe it in terms of a massive filtration system. Use your imagination for a second: Let’s say that everything you ever drink must pass through a series of filters. These filters not only remove the things you can see – like dirt, sediment, and debris – they also remove everything you can’t see – things like chlorine, arsenic, microplastics, and everything else that is harmful. This system is special, though, because it allows the things that are helpful, such as good minerals, to remain in the water. Therefore, when any water passes through this filter system (made up of multiple layers and levels of filtration), it comes out clean, delicious, and healthy for you. WOW! Wouldn’t that be something?

Ok, now stop imagining and start realizing. God has given us a filtration system – made possible through His grace, empowered by His Spirit, and produced in His Word – to strain and filter EVERYTHING that enters our minds and hearts. We do not have to dwell on (consider, take account, weigh, or meditate on) the filth and garbage that will sink us deeper into ourselves, our problems, and our despair; rather, we can allow God’s Word, His Spirit, and His grace to transform our minds and give us life – not only for ourselves, but for the hurting world around us. We need not drink dirty, disgusting water when we have access to the source of living water.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean we insulate ourselves from the brokenness of the world around us. We are called to be ambassadors and reflections of the King of Kings, so we must enter the fray by His strength and rescue the perishing by engaging in inter-personal relationships and real live compassion. However, even in the midst of the battle (and certainly when we are not face-to-face with trouble), we can and must choose to meditate on things that are higher and truer than the empty “reality” of a world without hope. Take prisoners of your thoughts and bring them under the authority of Christ; only dwell on that which passes through the filtration system.

We will plan to jump into what is true, honorable, right, etc. in our next devotional, Lord willing. For now, remember that what you think and what you allow your mind to dwell on will affect you – for good or for ill. Remember that He is faithful, good, and the Sovereign over your life. Set your mind on Him, and you will never be disappointed.