Join AMBrewster as he discusses the importance of how a parent thinks. We can’t have peace if we’re not prepared to live in the reality God created.
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After yesterday’s little break, I’m excited to finish this series on how you can have overwhelming peace in your parenting.I get it. You’re tired, frustrated, afraid, annoyed, angry, and sad. Your kids aren’t listening.
And some of them are actively attacking you and God.
But you can have peace. You’ve been commanded to have peace, and God provides you everything you need for peace.
But you’re going to have to work for it.
Peace is promised to and expected from every believer, but you’ll never experience it if you don’t submit yourself to God’s will for your life and parenting.
So, let’s look at the fourth Peace Prerequisite today.
Over the past couple weeks we’ve seen that . . .
That’s where we pick up our study today.
And in pure Pauline fashion — it’s as if Paul realizes there’s one more important thing he must say to the Philippians on the subject of peace — he wraps back around and lays out a fourth and fifth Peace Prerequisite followed by a second Peace Promise.
This Fourth Peace Prerequisite is Our Responsibility to Reality
In order to have real, abiding peace we have responsibilities to God, others, and ourselves, but we also have a responsibility to keep our thoughts in line with reality. No failure philosophies allowed!
This passage is a familiar one to most of us, but it mustn’t be sped over.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Anxiety, depression, anger, and doubt all stem from unbiblical thoughts.
But when we can control our thoughts through the power of God, we strip the soil of our minds of the sinfulness that leads to a lack of peace.
But what types of thoughts produce peace? Only thoughts grounded in the reality that God created.
Our thoughts must be . . .
1. True – This word is the same one Jesus used to introduce divine truth. It encompasses all of God’s absolute, unchanging, and inerrant truth. Therefore we must know His truth in order to dwell on it. This brings peace, for when a question sprouts, the truth of God hidden in our hearts provides the answer. Also, by rejecting lies, deception, and Failure Philosophies we shelter ourselves from the types of thoughts that lead to self-worship, anxiety, and doubt.
Don’t lie to yourself by assuming your child will never change. Don’t lie to yourself by justifying your selfish anger.
2. Honorable – When we think on that which good, admirable, and deserving of high esteem, we prepare our minds for peace. Honor is a vanishing species in our age. To be respected and highly esteemed for Christ-honoring reasons is almost unheard of. But when we think of honorable things the lyrics from The Sound of Music sound almost inspired:
“When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.”
Denying base thoughts provides a freshness that allows the “high” thoughts of God to run free.
Proverbs 19:18 says, “Do not set your heart on putting [your son] to death.”
What honorable ways has God called you to parent your children? Think on those instead.
3. Right – Don’t let your mind dwell on wickedness! This is incredibly difficult when we slake our psyches with filth from the soiled wells of modern entertainment. Righteousness – that which in action and motivation attains to God’s standards of excellence – must be the water we bathe our minds in.
How can you expect to enter your parenting for the day with the remnants of that TV drama sill hanging onto your mind? Everyone in that series is using everyone else to get ahead. There’s greed, sexuality, pride, and selfishness at every turn. How will a mind filled with those thoughts hope to parent peacefully?
4. Pure – Immaculate. Purified from every fault. The rotten apple metaphor works well here. Be careful that something that is “mostly good” doesn’t crack the door for worse influences later on. If it’s not purely holy, don’t think about it!
5. Lovely – This is the only time this word is used in the New Testament. It has the idea of being pleasing and agreeable. Paul has a wonderful way of layering on his adjectives in a way as to leave no room for misunderstanding. Yes, your thoughts need to be true, honorable, righteous, and pure, but they must also be lovable. Ask yourself, “Would God love what I’ve been thinking about today?” “Does God love how I’ve been thinking today?”
6. Reputable – This word is similar to being honorable, but it carries the added idea of being well-spoken of. Do people who love the Lord and His truth speak well of the things that occupy my mind? This is an important reminder that wise counselors are valuable. If they don’t agree with the things that have occupied my thoughts or the ways in which I’ve been interpreting my circumstances, I must accept that my thoughts are not reputable.
I won’t be at peace with disreputable thinking.
7. Excellent – This word denotes moral excellence necessary in the out-working of faith. Paul encourages us to think on anything and everything that is excellent. “Is there any excellence? Then think on it.”
What expectations do you have for your children, and why?
8. Praise Worthy – As God views your mental transcript, does He turn to the angels and pronounce, “Watch this. It’s wonderful“? Could He say to Satan, “Have you considered my servant? His thoughts are praise-worthy.” or “Her mind is focused on what’s right.”
I didn’t want to wax too wordy with today’s study, but it was imperative that we be reminded of the types of thoughts that should be allowed to thrive, and the kinds that must be put to death on the spot.
Lastly, I’m once again amazed by the all-inclusive generalities Paul uses. He’s so incredibly certain that this is the only way to glorify God and have abiding peace that he leaves no room for thinking about anything that doesn’t match this list perfectly.Moms and Dads, this can be done.
Don’t shortchange God!
If you find yourself thinking, “That’s too hard!” of “I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work!” or “But you don’t know my kids!” or “That will never work!” then your thoughts are not true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, reputable, excellent, or worthy of praise, and it’s no wonder you feel hopeless.
I’m not surprised you’re struggling with depression, fear, and anger.
Your mindset is not in line with God’s prescription for correct thinking, and you will not have peace as long as you entertain them.
Accept the reality that God’s way is the only way to have lasting soul-rest.
I’d like to give a huge thank you to Ray and Carolyn who are beloved patrons of Truth.Love.Parent. Their support has helped us to grow and reach more searching families.
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Next time we’ll discuss Paul’s Fifth and final Peace Prerequisite and complete the picture of a truly peaceful parent who’s able to weather the most difficult family storms.
It’s possible because our God is just that awesome.
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