Do you look at a cup of water and say it is “half-filled” or “half-empty”? Ah, the great question of life, right? Wrong. Our next passage sometimes gets reduced to secular interpretation: positive thinking vs. negative thinking. But there is a higher, better, deeper, more Christ-like perspective that Paul is trying to articulate for us. How about going to the Source of Living Water and filling our cups (hearts, minds and souls) to overflow with Christ-like thinking which leads to joyful, abundant, through good times and bad, living in the wide-open spaces of His forever love, mercy and grace! Mind blown? Too much? I think not!
Friends, fill your minds with Jesus! Think Jesus thoughts. The more we do the less we think of ourselves. The less grudge holding, hateful revenge, jealousy, competitions and comparing attitudes that lead to empty, or half-empty living.
Paul is adamant, while sitting in a jail cell, about filling our cups and clearly tells us how:
Trade worry for Christ. For those of us who overthink, okay maybe this is just me, this is a daily task that must begin each new day. Lay. It. All. At. His. Feet. I did this an hour ago. His Holy Spirit overwhelmed with peace and assurance. Do I have resolution? It doesn’t matter. It all belongs to Jesus, now.
Put Jesus at the Center of all thinking. “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Jesus thinking is the best thinking: “… 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.” In today’s language, to be clear; no gaslighting, narcissistic thinking and behaving, no put downs with sarcasm, no assumptions of what you think others think and judge them for it, and stop bullying because you are bullied.
CELEBRATE! REJOICE! “Revel in Him!” “He could show up at any minute!” Jesus is coming back, you know. In what frame of mind will He find me? (Oops, it just got personal, didn’t it?) Pause, pray, think, pray again and then rejoice for God is a God of renewed minds, refreshed souls, and restored and mended hearts!
Philippians 4:1-9, The Message
My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.
Pray About Everything
2 I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding grudges.
3 And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.
4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9 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.
May I sing praises to you this morning as I did as a child:
Rejoice in the Lord always
And again, I say rejoice
Rejoice in the Lord always
And again, I say rejoice!
Thank you for changing my mind, restoring the joy of your salvation in me and filling my soul with all of you in me. No worries, here. No “half-empty” thoughts, only praise!
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen! Yes!