Our words are powerful, whether we speak them aloud or they drone on and on inside our minds. God spoke the world into existence, and we are made in the image of God. That is why God wants us to recognize that our thoughts need to be disciplined. Our sinful nature won’t allow us to think positively by default; we must consciously train our minds to think good, truthful, grace-filled thoughts:
“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).
To dwell on something means to think or talk about it at length. We need to submerge ourselves in positive thoughts and experiences, which also means we must limit our time with people who are toxic thinkers. Have you ever avoided someone because of their negative outlook? Do you have guilt over that? Please—feel freedom in this area. If you are easily discouraged and tempted to be negative, the last thing you need is to spend time with someone who feeds that.
You say, What if that person lives under the same roof? I am definitely not advocating tossing any offending parties out on their ear. When you share space with someone, it will take extra effort on your part to defeat your negative thinking, but it can be done. Forgiveness is the key.
“It is impossible to feel terrific about yourself when you are lugging around resentment toward another person. Because no one is perfect, forgiveness will have to be an ongoing process…People, especially those closest to you, will continually hurt you, either intentionally or unintentionally. ”
Among other things, dwelling on good thoughts can give you peace (Philippians 4:9); better health (Proverbs 16:24); and confidence (Proverbs 23:7). Try this for a day, and see if you don’t feel better: Refuse to complain about anything, no matter how much it bugs you. Even if that means you say nothing and the silence is awkward, don’t speak unless your words are positive, God-honoring and edifying to the listener—even if the only one listening is you!
The benefits are so worth the effort it takes to renew our minds with Christ-centered thinking!