I dwell in a tiny home, just under 400 square feet, along with eight dogs. Each one of them has its own share of flaws or shortcomings, which I encounter each and every day. Some days, they can wear on my nerves, especially if it's one of those days when everyone's shortcomings seem to be in the spotlight of their behaviour. Most days, however, I have a different outlook.
I choose to dwell upon the good and lovely points within each one of my canine friends. This does not mean that I don't continue to work with each one of them to change any difficult, offensive, or destructive behaviour. It simply means that my main outlook is focused upon their wonderful qualities.
Paul advises likewise, according to today's verse — a well known and favourite verse for many:
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (NIV)
Life is full of the negative; bad news reports daily assail our ears. People are at war. Millions are starving. Drug wars rage. People commit suicide. There are murders, rapes, bullying, and fears concerning climate change and pandemic. Cancer and sickness of every form persist, in spite of billions of dollars being spent on research. No matter which way we turn, any one of us can recite the bad news that plagues our societies, our lives.
These things are a reality. We cannot say that they are not happening, because they are, and until the day that Jesus returns, they will continue to happen. But we need not let these negative realities become the focus of our outlook. Rather, we must choose, make our minds up, persist, and develop the habit of dwelling, thinking, and focusing on "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things." If we take a good look around, we can indeed always find them within our natural world, within our friends and neighbours, within ourselves, and especially within our Lord, who has promised always to be with us, no matter what, and in Him there is no darkness — only light.
What will be our outlook today? Negative or the positive? Darkness or light? The choice is ours.
Prayer: Father God, it is so easy to get dragged down by the negatives of this world that surround each and every one of us. Help us to remember, as You have commanded us through the apostle Paul, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things." In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "I'm Not Ashamed To Own My Lord" (Lyrics)