“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” – Philippians 4:8
2 Timothy paints a bleak picture of the last days and the difficulties the world will face in those perilous times. People will be lovers of self and money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Wow! Not a very encouraging picture to look at is it? As we navigate in a world that is often unrecognizable, it’s easy for us to give all of our attention to the problems. That’s exactly the strategy Satan wants us to take. The more he can distract us and redirect our focus away from the things of God, the more he laughs in our face. How can we put Satan in his place and do battle against all the negativity surrounding us?
Someone once told me if you want to focus on the positive more than the negative, stop fertilizing the weeds. That’s pretty sound advice. I’m convinced that we’re more than familiar with what the problems of the world are. I also think we know that dwelling on negative thoughts and facts does very little to change anything. In fact, I would say that the opposite is true. Research has proven that what we focus on has a major impact on our attitude as we confront difficult situations. What if in the garden we call our mind, we decided to pull a weed and plant a flower? What if we started to put more of our energy and thoughts into positive things? In Philippians, the Apostle Paul invites us to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. That’s sound advice too, but the choice is ours.
Heavenly Father, help me to fertilize the good thoughts today and not the weeds of negativity. Teach me to focus on You and not the obstacles that surround me. Amen.