Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days :: Day 21 ~ You mean I have to practice?

Whatever is commendable . . . think on these things.

We've been talking for the past several weeks about renewing our minds by choosing to think the way God wants us to think. Philippians 4:8 gives us a list of things we are to think about - things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

Ever wonder why God inspired Paul to include things that are commendable?

Ever noticed how much easier it is to focus on peoples faults than on their good points?

That's why.

Let's do an experiment. Think about someone who annoys the snot out of you.

That didn't take long, did it? Because all of us have "those" people in our lives. The people who you'd rather clean bathrooms than hang out with. The people who manage to bring out the worst in you, every time you interact with them.

Still thinking about that annoying person?

Good. Now let's practice thinking about things that are commendable about that person.

Oh, come on. You can think of something.

It may take a little effort, but if you try, you'll be able to come up with several things about that person that are commendable. Things you could - if, say, you had an interest in renewing your mind - choose to focus on.

Our natural tendency is to focus on all the things that frustrate us about these people. Their habitual tardiness. Their hyena laugh. Their ability to point out that while your entire house is clean, you failed to wipe out your microwave or dust your computer.

The complaints may be valid.

But Paul exhorts us to think about things that are commendable.

All that stuff that's driving me crazy? According to the preceding verses, I need to take it to God in prayer and leave it there. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to stay angry at someone when you start to pray for them? It's also hard to stay angry at someone when you focus on the things that they do right.

Try this with your family this weekend. Whenever they start to drive you insane, CHOOSE to think about something that is commendable. If you have a spouse, I suggest you start there. You can focus on the socks in the floor or choose to be thankful for a husband who works his tail off to provide for his family.

No one ever said renewing was easy.

In the next verse, Paul tells the Philippians to "practice these things and the God of peace will be with you."

Something tells me that our homes and relationships would be so much more peaceful if we chose to think about the commendable things.

Will you join me this weekend and practice renewing your mind?