This verse has obvious applications for making sure we aren't watching, hearing, or thinking impurely, lustfully, or selfishly. But I want to apply the passage another way.
Most of us are pretty good at talking trash... to ourselves. It's negative self-talk. We talk ourselves down. We think demeaning, degrading, disgusting untruths about ourselves.
And God is not glorified by that. We are created in His image and are precious in His sight. He is dishonored when we think wrongly about the ones He loved enough to redeem for Himself through the shed blood of His Son.
Yes, I know we have sinned and fall short if His glory. Yes, I know our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. Yes, I know we have to deal with indwelling sin. And we can learn some other day how to kill sin lest it kill us.
But for today, let's consider that there is not only more depravity in us than we could possibly fathom, there is also more dignity in us than we could possibly fathom. Let's learn to think biblically about ourselves so we can live up.
This week, I was speaking with a young leader in our city. He’s having a hard time leading right now primarily because of bad self-talk. He’s doing the stinkin’ thinkin’ thing.
I asked him, “What are the kinds of things you are saying to yourself?” He said, “I’m a loser. I am not as good as others are. I will never accomplish this or that…” My heart was breaking for him.
So, I asked, “What is God saying about you? What does He want you to believe about yourself?” We sat for 20 minutes as he thought through truth after truth. I asked him to wrote it all down. Here's some of what he wrote:
"I will stop lying to myself and speak the truth in love to my soul.
"I am not lost. I have been found by Christ and I belong to Him. He will never leave me or forsake me.
"God will richly supply my every need according to His riches in glory.
"I have been created in the image of God. He has given me unique talents and abilities. I am precious and special in God’s sight. I need not compare myself with anyone else.
"There’s no hope? NOT! God knows the plans He has for me, plans for welfare – wholeness, success, prosperity, peace, tranquility – to give me a future and a hope.
"I have great worth apart from my performance because Christ gave His life for me and imparted great value to me. I am deeply loved, fully pleasing, totally forgiven, accepted and complete in Christ."
(Taken from truths found in John 15:16, Philippians 4:19, Isaiah 43:4, Jeremiah 29:11, and Robert McGee's Search for Significance.)
I asked him to read it all back to me all at once. About 3/4ths of the way through, he had to stop reading. He had never thought that way about himself, at least not for a long time.
The truths had so powerfully impacted his soul that tears were literally streaming down this young leader’s face. He was literally speechless for 3-4 minutes.
When he composed himself and finally finished reading, I asked, “What might happen if you would just keep these words in a prominent place, read and pray through this morning, noon, and night for the next 30 days?”
This is a way to obey Philippians 4:8. It’s renewing the mind. It’s getting rid of stinkin’ thinkin’. It’s thinking biblically. This is the principle of meditation.
Questions: Is a list of truths like this something you develop for yourself this week? Do you need to read a list like this to yourself 3 times a day for the next 30 days? How will you increase the quality and quantity of time you spend in meditation this week?