Life has become a very unnerving experience. Disease, unrest, anger, hatred, and many more evils fill the news, and dwelling on these things can cause fear to cripple us. It’s easy to become discouraged. Although we have network news and newspapers telling us all that’s going wrong, we aren’t the first generation to face hard times. Still, we are in the very last days prior to the Rapture, and we can expect demonic forces to be run wild. Biblical prophecy has warned us in order to prepare us. We can dwell on these frightening events, or we can dwell on positive things.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
God’s blessings still abound, and we have a choice as to whether we see the bad or the good. Choose to see God and fill your thoughts with His promises.
When we surrender our life to Jesus Christ, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Because of that fact, people around us should see the change in us. The circumstances that surround us haven’t changed, but the way we see those circumstance should have changed a lot.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:22-25).
The Greek word “anastrophe” is translated in King James English as “conversation,” but in modern terms it means the manner in which we conduct our life. Accepting Christ for salvation is more than just saying a few words; it’s a life-changing event. The person we were (the “old man”) has been reborn into a new creation in God.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
That’s an important event. If we continue to dwell on things of the world, we will become discouraged and never move forward in our walk with Jesus. If you always dwell upon the things that kept you in bondage to sin, then you’ll continue in that bondage. Instead, turn your thoughts to Jesus and His truth. He loves you enough that He shed His blood to save you from eternal damnation. Think about that when you are overwhelmed by news headlines or face the temptation to return to your old ways. Think on things that are true, honest, and are of God. Not only will you lift your own spirits, but you will encourage people around you.
It’s easy to see that there’s much injustice in this world. The reason it seems that criminals don’t pay for their crimes while the “good guys” struggle and are persecuted is that we aren’t looking at things from God’s perspective. We see what’s happening today and think that the rewards of this life are all that matter. God sees what’s going on in the world. There are crooked politicians who seem to go unpunished for their crimes, rioters who are filled with hatred but don’t seem to be held responsible for destroying property, child molesters who get a slap on the wrist, and many more sins that go unpunished. Or do they?
God is perfect and His love is perfect. Even the smallest sin disqualifies us from eternal life, and unless a person is perfect, there’s no chance for eternal life. Because God loves us, He stepped into His creation to become sin in our place. If you’ve accepted Christ’s sacrifice for salvation, then you’ve been justified.
“And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39).
Praise God. On the other hand, anyone who rejects Christ’s free gift condemns themselves to eternal damnation. So, when you see pictures of injustice in this world, think of the justice of God. Those criminals have rejected God and will spend eternity understanding God’s justice. Still, if they repent and turn from their wicked ways, God will forgive them, just as He forgave you and has justified you.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Think about that and you’ll find peace.
Paul also tells us to dwell on “whatsoever is pure.” Is there anything in this fallen world that’s pure? We might think of a newborn baby who’s so innocent and vulnerable, but that precious little bundle of joy has a sin nature just like you and me. So, what could we possibly dwell on that is pure?
“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalms 12:6).
Christians need reassurance, and there’s nothing more reassuring than God’s word. That’s where we find pure truth. A Christian who neglects to study Scripture misses out on God’s encouragement.
“Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (Psalms 119:140).
If we dwell on the poison the world feeds us, we miss what God wants us to feed upon. Instead of filling your mind and heart with the latest newsfeed that brings into focus just how corrupt this world is, dwell on Scripture. It tells of God’s love and forgiveness. It also gives us prophecy. Studying prophecy will open your eyes to the fact that God saw what’s happening today and told us so we wouldn’t be surprised. Prophecy has to be fulfilled, but it’s a comfort to know that the signs all point to the Rapture happening very soon.
God is with us all the way. When I read of the throne of God with Seraphim proclaiming “Holy, Holy, Holy” day and night, I get goosebumps and I long to be there. I long to see the crystal sea, loved ones who have gone before, and most of all, long to see Jesus. Dwell on those things, brothers and sisters, and the fears of this life will fade.
It’s been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all of us have thoughts and memories of lovely things – the hug of a loving parent, the first time you saw your spouse, holding your own baby – these are all lovely memories. It’s always awesome to look at God’s creation. The stars, the ocean, purple mountains majesty! Even though we live in this fallen world, there’s much to behold that is lovely.
King David was a man of war who had strife in his kingdom and in his family. There were many things that could have caused him to turn away from God in bitterness and anger, but his psalms are filled with just how awesome God is.
“…The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalm 19:1).
When life becomes overwhelming, go find a flower and really look at it. God spoke everything into existence, including flowers. Dwell on His power and His love. It will change your attitude and bring peace to your soul.
We choose what we set our minds to. We can look at the evil in this world and become disheartened, or we can dwell on Christ and what He’s done for us. The evil in the world is real, and it’s all from Satan who is the god of this world and is behind the wickedness we see. On the other hand, God is very much at work. It’s important to keep things in perspective and control our thoughts instead of letting them control us.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Don’t blame God for the wrongs in this life. Instead, turn your thoughts to Jesus and the fact that He has overcome Satan and defeated him at the cross. This is the truth we need to think on.
Paul reminded us “…whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8b).
The victory of Christ over death is definitely a good report with virtue and worthy of praise. Think on that when you get discouraged, and soon you will be praising the Lord with all your heart.
We have no idea how many people may find encouragement from our attitude in times of testing, but it is certain that God will use us in good times and bad if we allow it.
On a missionary trip, Paul had gone to the city of Philippi. That city was filled with pagan practices. Because Paul cast a demon out of a damsel, he was beaten and put in prison. Did he pout? Not at all.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25).
They didn’t hum to themselves, or quietly mumble words of discontent to God. They sang loud enough for their fellow prisoners to hear. There was no question as to whom Paul and Silas worshipped. Then the earthquake hit. The prison doors opened, and the chains which held the prisoners were loosened. The prisoners could have escaped, but the attitude of Paul and Silas affected the people around them. Had the prisoners escaped, the warden of the prison would be held responsible, and he would face death. That warden was about to commit suicide when Paul called to him that no one had escaped. The grateful warden cleansed Paul and Silas’ wounds and then gave his life to Christ. It would have been a different story if Paul and Silas hadn’t chosen to praise God in spite of their circumstances.
Christians represent Christ, and if we love Him, we should honor Him with our words and actions. People should easily see Christ living in us. That means we take thoughts captive, dwell on things of God, and live holy lives that are different than how worldly people live.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
Our blessed hope is Jesus Christ and all He has promised: forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and the soon Rapture. We will dwell with Him forever.
Think on things of God, and you’ll find that the cares of this world will pale.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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