What’s on your mind as we enter this New Year? When the distractions are set aside and quiet sets in, what are you thinking about? When you’re doing something routine, to what do your thoughts turn? Do your thoughts turn toward the positive or the negative? When automatically assessing people and experiences, do you have an open, accepting attitude looking for the good, or do you have a critical spirit, focusing on the problems and faults?
In his letter to the Christians at Philippi, Paul challenges us to ask these questions of ourselves. In 4:4-8, he says, “Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. 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.”
Perhaps the most challenging way Paul calls us to pay attention to our thought life is in verse 2:5: “Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus.” This Sunday in the sanctuary worship services I will begin a series of sermons entitled “In this New Year.”
The first sermon will be “What’s on Your Mind in this New Year?” I hope you’ll start the New Year in worship and renewal of your spirit. By the way, one of the most helpful ways of paying attention to your thoughts is through journaling. Coming up January 24-26, there will be a workshop on intensive journaling led by our own Paul Bodley and Reverend Dr. Wally Chappell.
You can read about THE INTENSIVE JOURNAL® WORKSHOP and how to sign up at this link. I look forward to seeing you Sunday! Grace and Peace,