Written By: Clarissa Mangaran

“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. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

Since the second week of September God keeps putting Philippians 4:8-9 in front of me. I’m talking almost daily and from all sorts of places! He must really want to make sure I don’t miss this message! 

The commentary on this verse, found in the NLT Application Bible tells us our thoughts determine our words and actions. It then goes on to warn us that the content we consume, whether read, heard, or watched can harm us if not in line with God’s Word. In order for us to be able to fix our thoughts on all the good things listed in Philippians 4:4-9 it is essential for us to be consuming God’s Word on a daily basis.                                                                                                                             

Our church is doing a series called Victory. We’re learning that our thoughts and our mindset can either set us up for victory or it can set us up for defeat. The key verse is Ephesians 4:27 (ERV) – “Don’t give the devil a way to defeat you.” This means we can give the enemy the power to defeat us….but it also means we have the option not to! Whether or not we give the enemy the power to defeat us lies in our thinking. When we focus on what the world says feels good and looks good we’re left feeling empty and lost. We either feel hopeless because what we’re chasing isn’t attainable, or we’re hollow because what we’re attaining is never fulfilling. When we focus our thoughts on God’s Truth, however, it gives us the courage and strength to go through hard times and celebrate with gratitude during the good times.

Your perspective changes everything! Two people can be going through the exact same thing and one person will grow from it and the other will completely fall apart. You know this to be true. Having a biblical lens to look at your life through helps you see the bigger picture, the victory on the other side, and the impact your life has on those around you. You can look at a struggle or trial as an opportunity to grow and mature in your faith. It can even create an attitude of thankfulness when God closes a door on something you thought was good because you trust that God is opening a better door for you in the future.

Establish an attitude of accepting God’s Word as truth. Get into the daily practice of spending time with God while reading the Bible. Pray for supernatural understanding of scripture. Pray God helps you to get scripture from head knowledge to heart change. As you spend more time soaking in His Word and as you experience Him more and more in daily life, the natural outcome will be a transformed mind. Your thoughts, and thus your words and actions will line up with God’s Truth. When the world presents a lie to you, you can shut it down with biblical truth. Even if those lies hurt you, the time you spend wallowing in the pain will get shorter and shorter. Fear, worry, and anxiety don’t need to rule over your life. Having your mind set on the things of God can prevent you from spiraling into a panic attack, even when presented with a situation that would have sent you over the edge in past years. 

Having your mind set on God can give you the courage to reach out to others who can pray for you, encourage you, and even have enough faith for you when yours is failing.  I love the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man in Mark 2:3-5. It says when Jesus saw their faith He healed the man. Jesus saw his friends’ faith! Sometimes you don’t even need your own right thinking to have victory over something in your life…sometimes it will only take a faith-filled friend. It is so important that you surround yourself with other people who love the Lord and His Word and who have right thinking, as well. You never know when their right thinking will be a blessing to you, and when they’ll need your right thinking to be a blessing to them!

This concept of holding my thoughts captive to the things of Christ and focusing on what is right, pure, true, etc. is often difficult for me. And because of that, I do spend time with God faithfully everyday. I am like an explorer on the hunt for treasure: God’s Truth. I am seeking Him daily to align my heart and my mind with His. I am training my mind for right thinking, filling it up with scripture, bible studies, devotions, church sermons… anything I can get my hands on. 

If you read my first blog titled “Freedom From the ‘Angry Mama’” you know I really struggle with gentleness towards those around me (mostly my kids), and I have wondered what that means for the depth of my relationship with God. If my behavior is a reflection of what’s going on in my mind and my heart, then what does it mean for the depth of my relationship with Christ if I still struggle with anger? I’ll tell you one thing, this stronghold of anger in my life keeps me coming back to God constantly for His help…and maybe that’s right where He wants me….in constant craving for His time, comfort, direction, and forgiveness. Now, I don’t rest in my anger. I’m constantly giving it over to God for Him to transform, but I no longer dwell in defeat thinking I’m failing until I no longer deal with anger. I have faith that with each moment I spend focusing my thoughts on the things of the Bible anger will become less and less of an issue in my life.

It may not be anger for you. It may be depression, anxiety, fear, compulsive spending, comparison, etc. Whatever it is for you, seems to me, those areas we struggle with in our thoughts are more of a way to stay connected to our Creator than a reason to be weary. God will do the work to transform our minds and our hearts. Our job is just to be at His feet, soaking Him in every chance we get. 

Written By: Clarissa Mangaran