In Philippians 4:8-9, the apostle Paul gives us a profound and powerful strategy for our thought life. He goes so far as to say that how we think can be transformative in the lives of others.
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.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)
The Mind Map below will help you process what Paul wants us to do with our thought life. The diagram lays out his seven step strategy that connects how we think to how the peace of God can come to others. Let us follow his flow of logic.
- Thought: You have a thought.
- Filter: You run your thought through Paul’s filter.
- Test: You then test your thought against excellence and praise worthiness.
- Example: Your thoughts become your behaviors.
- Effect: Your behaviors have an effect on your friends.
- Respond - Your friends respond to your behaviors.
- Result - If your behaviors are good, your friends will experience peace.
Seven step thought test
Steve is a mean-spirited man. He says unkind things to his wife, Kayrn. She is an insecure woman. After living with his insensitivty for the past decade, she is ready to throw in the towel. Her soul is dysfunctional. She has no peace.
A typical day that describes their marriage is when Steve comes home with the expectation of dinner being ready when he arrives. He walks in his home and Karyn is cleaning up one of their three children’s messes. Dinner is not ready.
Child maintenance is a normal activity for Karyn. Because Steve is away all day, he does not perceive the circus type atmosphere of their home. All three children are under six years old and Karyn feels like she goes from one catastrophe to another on most days.
Steve is a high demand guy, who is used to getting what