When I was a kid, the most important meal of the day was supper. Mom was an excellent cook, and she worked hard to prepare the evening meal for our large family. Mom and Pop worked even harder at trying to steer their eight children in the right direction.
Each evening the family gathered around the dinner table to eat and to discuss the days events. One evening, Mom and Pop spoke about an incident at school in which I had hurt the feelings of a classmate. As we discussed the situation, my youngest brother said: I have feelings too, see! Then, he opened his mouth and pointed to the fillings in his teeth.
The truth is, fillings and feelings go hand in hand. How you feel about life is determined in a large part by how you fill your life. If you don’t fill your mind with what is right, what is left?
Your life is like your car, if you fill the tank with the cheapest fuel available, your engine may not perform at an optimal level; likewise, if you fill your mind with two-bit thinking, you’ll never live a grand life.
To fill your tank with some high octane thoughts, heed the advice of the Apostle Paul and think on whatever is just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).
Whenever I read the opening verses of Psalm 92, the number 1,440 flashes through my mind. 1,440 is the number of minutes in a day, and Psalm 92 is a positive motivator on how to manage these precious moments:
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and sing praises to Your name, O Most High. It is good to tell of Your loving-kindness in the morning, and of how faithful You are at night, with harps, and with music of praise. For You have made me glad by what You have done, O Lord. I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands (Psalm 92:1-4).
Think about the words you spoke yesterday; was your vocabulary more grumpy than it was gracious? How would your life be different if you would spend more time counting your blessings than tallying your slights? Would you be happier and healthier?
Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, has examined the power of positive and negative thoughts. She has found that positive emotions enhance your sense of personal potential; opens your mind to new possibilities; and, they allow you to develop new skills and resources that add value to your life.
Fredrickson’s premise is a conformation of a principle from the Proverbs: Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24
Over the next week, I encourage you to use some of the 1,440 minutes of each day to put Psalm 92 to practice:
- Focus on the blessing of God, and give thanks.
- Whistle a tune, hum a favorite hymn, and sing a song of praise to God.
- When you get up in the morning, start with a God is Able thought, and end your day by rehearsing the history of God’s faithfulness.
- Begin and end each day with the following prayer:
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14
Some people think maturity comes with age; however, being a certain age does not make you a wise old sage. You really have no choice when it comes to aging; however, it takes some effort to wisely mature.
Growth of this kind is a common topic in the Bible:
- Peter reminded Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).”
- In what he thought would be his last communication with the elders from Ephesus, Paul said: “I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified (Acts 20:32).”
- Solomon offered this word of advice in the Proverbs: “You gullible people, learn how to be sensible. You fools, get a heart that has understanding (8:5).”
While I was reading in Philippians yesterday, I noticed something interesting. Paul gives a clear indicator of maturity: “Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should think this way (Philippians 3:13-15).”
According to this verse, you show signs of maturity when:
- You are not bound by the chains of the past.
- You choose to invest in the future
- You pursue a relationship with Jesus.
- You discipline yourself to control your thoughts so you can “think this way.”
I hope this mature thought from Paul will keep you thinking:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
Philippians 4:8-9 ~The Message
It’s been quite some time since I’ve heard the old hymn, “More Like the Master.” The words to the first stanza of the song are:
More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labor, more courage to be true,
More consecration for the work He bids me do.
Whenever the words of this song begin floating through my mind, I think of 2 Corinthians 3:18: “So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord (CEV).”
Which influences you the most, the Spirit of the Lord or the spirit of the world? When people look at your face, do they see a mirror image of Jesus Christ or do they see a grotesque representation of Christianity?
Are you a portrait of His meekness and humility or are you rude and arrogant? Is your conversation marked by words of kindness and encouragement or is it marred by negativity and grouchiness?
Live your life for what you really are: “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10).” When you do this people will begin to notice that you are more like the Master.