I came across a verse this morning that made me think in a completely different way than it has on all the other million times I have read or heard it.
"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."
This morning, instead of looking at this verse as a list of things we should have in our lives, it hit me that Paul chose the words "think about such things" instead of just "do such things" or "fill your life with such things." Normally you hear that the heart is the root of all actions, but where do things originate before they make it to your heart? In your mind. Everything that we do or say or fill our life with is a result of the things that we believe about ourselves or our situation or the people around us. If you think that you are unlovable, you will believe it in your heart and will act in a way that is unlovable. If you think that a situation is too big for you to handle, you will focus on that and will begin to feel anxious.
Think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. If you want to change a certain behavior or the way you feel about yourself or a situation or a person, change the way you think. Make a decision that you will believe the truth (that God paid a price for you and you are incredibly lovely to Him; that even situations that are too big for you are not too big for God; that no matter what is going on around you, you can only control yourself and you can act in a way that is loving even if others aren't), and then when thoughts begin to invade that do not line up with what you want to believe, take them captive (*2 Cor. 10:5) and offer them to God. Ask Him to take the lies you believe and replace them with His truth, and He will. What you think affects what you feel, and what you feel determines what you do. So make sure what you are thinking lines up with what you want your life to look like.
2 Cor 10:5 - "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make is obedient to Christ."