14th October 2020

“One final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT).

The beginning of this verse reminds me of Columbo, the 1970s TV detective. Just as he’s leaving, Columbo would turn to the suspect to ask just one more thing… and you knew it would be the key question he wanted to ask all along, the question that went to the heart of the matter. Paul is doing much the same towards the end of his letter to the Philippians. There is one final thing that you need to know as you learn to follow Jesus: take care of your thoughts.

The things upon which we focus our minds determine who we are and what we do. Our thoughts determine our self-esteem. Our thoughts shape how we approach situations and how we treat other people. If we think there are dangers lurking around every corner, then we become afraid of leaving home or of trying something new. If we imagine the love of God in every face, then we treat all people equally.

Whenever I watch the news at the moment, it is the complete opposite of what Paul said in this verse. The media seems filled with “anything that is untrue, unholy, unjust, impure, ugly, of ill repute, vicious and blameworthy” (Tom Wright). It can be hard to escape but let us switch off from the news cycle for a little while.

Think instead of something uplifting, something that makes you smile. Look for the goodness around you.

Ian Waddington