“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.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
In his book, Think Better, Live Better, my friend and Pastor Joel Osteen wrote:
“Our mind is like a computer. How we program it is the way it’s going to function. You can have the most powerful computer ever made, the latest and fastest model, with the maximum amount of memory available, but if you put the wrong software in it, it’s not going to function as it was designed. We’ve all had to deal with computer viruses. They can get into a perfectly good computer and start to contaminate the software. Before long the computer is slow, then you can’t access your files. None of these problems occur because it’s defective or poorly made. The computer’s hardware is fine. It’s because somebody reprogrammed the software. Somehow the insides got messed up. Now the software is contaminated.”
In Philippians 4:8, Paul is encouraging us to remove all those corrupt files by reprogramming our minds with right thinking. The Bible calls those corrupt files strongholds. A stronghold is a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept as unchangeable something that we know is contrary to the word of God. We accept that false reality as unchangeable because we have come to believe that the Biblical pattern which represents the will of God is unobtainable. When we do, a virus begins to corrupt the software of our minds and we fail to thrive. If we want to flourish, we have to delete those corrupt files and replace them with what God says is true. For example, you may have heard someone make a negative remark about your appearance and you begin to believe you are not attractive. All you can see when you look in the mirror now are all your flaws. Delete that negative file before it corrupts your entire outlook. Begin to think about yourself as God sees you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! Think on those things that are lovely and admirable. As a Christ follower you have the beauty of Christ in you. You were made worthy of His righteousness and are without fault in His presence!
Are you troubled by negative, critical, self-destructive thoughts that prevent you from thriving in life, in your marriage, in your career? Use the mighty weapons at your disposal that God has provided. He knew you would encounter a battle like this and has already provided all you need to flourish. Paul describes the battle for your mind and how to win it in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 like this:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Demolish those strongholds that have left you discouraged, defeated and believing a lie by deleting those corrupt files and reprogramming your mind with what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise! Filter every thought through those eight standards and refuse to permit any thought contrary to them from entering your mind.