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May 22, 2023

Ep.1282: We Are What We Think About, So What Are We Thinking About? (Part II)

Clarifying the difference between what we notice and what we dwell on

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Play Part I


What kinds of lovely things should we be dwelling on?

How do we know when to simply acknowledge vs. intently dwell on what is around us?

What should we be praising and what should we NOT be praising?

Theme Scripture: Philippians 4:8

As a Christian, taking the time to understand what we think about is a worthy and necessary investment of our time and effort. When you look at anyone who is truly successful at any endeavor, you will always find that one of the common denominators of their success is controlling their minds. In Part I of this two-part series, we spent considerable time piecing together the groundwork the Apostle Paul laid out in Philippians 4 as a basis for productive Christian thinking. He understood the demands of Christianity and cared enough about his fellow disciples to teach us not only what he knew, but how to apply that knowledge. One major result of his spiritual wisdom was the letter he wrote to the Philippians.

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The Apostle Paul’s “dwell on these things” list was and is much more than a gathering up of nice and inspiring things to focus on. It was actually a specific and dynamic grouping of necessary characteristics that every true Christian must understand and internalize. Paul himself made this clear when he told us to "dwell on these things." The Greek word here used for “dwell” is very pointed. It is a precise word for taking inventory of something. It focuses us on giving these featured characteristics a highly calculated and proven value in our Christian walk.

Beautiful and of good report

In Part I, we saw how dwelling on what is true, honorable, right and pure, presents a broad-based foundation for our thinking. Without these characteristics, what follows can easily go off track. The next two characteristics Paul gives us to dwell on are things that are "beautiful" and "of good report." It is easy to see how we can pick and choose what we apply this list to, and end up focused on worldly things instead of spiritual things. With such an easy detour, how do we keep our minds firmly entrenched in godliness?

What do we simply acknowledge and what do we dwell upon?

It all comes down to the straightforward comparison between what we acknowledge and what we allow our minds to dwelling upon. There are many things in our world that are worthy of our notice and support. There are wonderful causes, just and righteous actions, things of beauty and experiences of victory and success that we can and should stand up for. However, this acknowledgment is entirely than dwelling upon things spiritually true, noble, just, pure, beautiful and of good report. These feed our lives in ways that things of the world simply cannot.

Check out our recent podcast “We Are What We Think About, So What Are We Thinking About? (Part II)” for more. As we establish our approach to thought priority, we also look into the last two items on Paul’s list - things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Paul is teaching us a comprehensive way to think and leaves no stone unturned. He lifts our minds above that which is natural to that which is spiritual. Join us for this awakening journey of learning, application and change!


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