Whatever is lovely

18 Mar

It’s spring again!

Let me ask you this: when you think of spring, what comes to mind? New life? Growth? New opportunities? A bright future? Good change?

These are all things that are so often metaphorically attached to spring, according to most people. But what happens when spring brings pain for you instead? I want to talk a little bit about this today.

A few springs ago was what I used to consider one of the best times of my life. It was so full of what I thought was new, good change. It was exciting and just lovely! But now, because of a recent turn of events, those memories aren’t so sweet. In fact, when I think of them, they don’t bring back the joy they once did. They actually cut very deep if I allow them to. And I don’t want to allow them to!

You see, I’ve been fighting a battle in my thought life this week and one verse keeps coming to mind as I do. Perhaps you’ve heard it, but will you dwell on it with me right now?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

To help myself focus on these things we’re called to think about, I made a note card that simply lists each of these things. Then I ask myself this whenever a painful memory or thought enters my mind: is what I’m thinking about true? Is it honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable? Excellent? Worthy of praise? If the answer is no, I have to mentally force myself to STOP. And that’s not enough. I have to think about something else.

So what are some pure and lovely and just things I can go to mentally during these times? One word: Christ. I simply stop thinking about whatever is on my mind and focus on the fact that God sent his one and only son (John 3:16) to die for my sins. Then, when Jesus died and rose again, he left us here on the earth with a beautiful and wonderful gift: his Holy Spirit. And we are so blessed by that. And by the fact that we are given the Word of God to help us and instruct us (Romans 15:4).

The ESV Study Bible by Crossway provides a beautiful commentary on this verse in Philippians. Short and sweet, it says:

The Philippians are to fill their minds with things that will inspire worship of God and service to others.

I truly believe that we as believers, like the Philippians, are to do this very same thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love spring! And here in Michigan, we have had an early spring and are enjoying long days with beautiful 75 degree weather. I already have freckles on my face and shoulders, which normally doesn’t happen until May! But this past week in particular has caught me off guard as challenging for my thought life. If you’re experiencing a battle in your own thought life, I pray you’ll use this technique. It’s transforming and it works! And when your brain is tired of thinking at all, just put on the song “Rise” by Kari Jobe. It will lift your spirits, I promise!

We will cry out Your renown
You are the God who has saved us
We will rise to praise You
We lift a glorious sound
You are the one who redeemed us
We will rise to praise You

Now, I’m ready to get back outside and enjoy my spring!

Jen

2 Responses to “Whatever is lovely”

  1. hscraig March 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Hi!!!
    Great post. The devil likes to play with our thought life, thats for sure, and you are correct by getting into the word to stop the bad thoughts. We have been uniquely designed to control our thought life. When we choose to meditate and think on these things, we get refreshed. Great post, thank you!!! I to live in Michigan, Niles to be exact, its on the border by indiana, and the weather has been great!! But, it is Michigan, and it is only March, so were still not out of the woods yet as far as weather goes.
    Blessings to You!!
    In Christ,
    Scott.

  2. Rick Alvey March 19, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Hey Jen! I too wrestle with replaying old hurts in my mind and the last few days have been unusally difficult so stumbling onto your post was very timely. I long ago memorized Psalm 1 as a reminder of the life that can flourish in us through Christ when we give ourselves to meditate on God’s word; but I sometimes forget. Thanks for the reminder. Blessings! P.S. – I grew up in Michigan so I can appreciate the early spring weather! LOL

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