From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable,
focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure,
all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.
(Philippians 4:8, CEB)
Try this exercise. Think of the color blue. Now look around the room you are in, and find at least five things that have blue in them. I bet it didn’t take you but a few seconds to find those blue items that you were looking for.
You will find what you are looking for. The question we need to ask ourselves is, what are we looking for?
When I am honest with myself, I know at times, I’m looking for the negative. I employ the ‘critic’ mentality that is so prevalent in our nation. We are hypercritical of everything and everyone. We critique meals, movies, music, television, politicians, schools, businesses, and . . . church. When all I can see is what is wrong with someone or some organization, all I will see is problems. It doesn’t take a genius to point out problems or shortcomings. Anyone can tell you what’s not working. The real genius comes in finding solutions for the problems and then being part of that solution.
The truth is, you will find what you are looking for.
If you seek to find negativity, you will certainly find it. If you seek to find mistakes, you will find them.
But, if you seek to find that what is true, holy, just, pure, lovely, and worthy of praise, you will surely find them...
Paul’s words to the Philippians, offer us a cure for a negative perception. Embracing them will enable us to see more of the beauty than the brokenness around us. What if we really choose to follow Paul’s advice? What would we see? What would we find? How different would we see and perceive the world and ourselves?
Help me to have an outlook like our Lord Jesus that seeks to love and look for the good. Amen.
Reverend Dee Dee
(Special thanks to Mary Licht for sharing a devotion that was the inspiration of this article.)