Running my mind through a sieve
Every once in a while, I run my mind through the sieve of Philippians 4:8. It’s like getting a tune-up of the mind.
My mama had a sieve for sifting flour. It was part of her Hoosier cabinet in the kitchen. To get flour, one had to turn the handle which brought the flour down through the sieve. Using the sieve caused the flour to become softer. It broke up clumps and aerated the ingredients.
When I’m straining chicken, the bones, meat, fat, and broth go through a sieve. In this case, I keep both parts, but I separate them to use for different purposes. In running my thoughts through the sieve, I should only keep the parts that are good.
Philippians 4:8 gives a positive spin on what we should focus on or think about. Rather than saying, “Don’t think about . . . ” Philippians tells us what to think about. I know that when I fill my mind with the things I should think about, there's no room left for the things I ought not think about. Click To Tweet
Rather than saying, “Don’t think about pink elephants!” (leaving a person to continually think about pink elephants!) we should give an alternative on what to think about. That’s how Philippians 4:8 works. Focus on what is good and the bad will take care of itself.
Think about (what is left in the sieve)
The letter to the Philippians was written by Paul and Timothy, and it was written specifically to saints in Christ. If you’re a believer, that’s you.
If you’re a believer, this is written to you because you struggle in this area. Why else did Paul and Timothy mention this in the letter written 2,000 years ago, if it wasn’t a problem then? And, if it was a problem then, we know it’s a problem now. If you’re a believer, this sifting of thoughts through a sieve is for you.
The instructions are to think about these things – think about whatever is:
- of good report
When your mind is filled with gossip or ill will, when your thoughts are consumed by anger and lying, when you fill your mind with darkness and evil and Satan’s counterfeits, it’s time. It’s time to run your mind through the sieve of God’s word. Change your focus from negative to positive!
Ask yourself: does this activity, this conversation, these thoughts, this movie, this book, pass through the sieve of Philippians 4:8? The things on which we focus are how we feed our minds. We become like what we think (or focus) on.
The other side of the sieve
When you find yourself out of sorts with others and with the world, stop and look at what is in your sieve. Clean out of your mind things that don’t pass the Philippians 4:8 qualities. You want to stop being an angry person? Stop thinking angry thoughts; stop regurgitating every wrong in your world and start finding ways to be grateful. When you’re upset at the poor choice of produce at the grocery, thank God you don’t live in the Ukraine right now and be grateful there is food you can purchase. Focus on the good around you and your blood pressure will go down.
When your mind feels full of negativity, you know what you need to do. Clean out the rubbish of your cluttered mind and fill it instead with thoughts that pass through the sieve of Philippians 4:8. There’s a reason we are given these instructions and there’s no reason not to follow.
I wonder, when was the last time you ran your mind through this sieve? You can start today.