Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 ESV
In Philippians, Paul advises us to think about the positive things in life. He asks us to choose what we focus our minds on in order to practice living out our relationship with God (Ephesians 4:9). It’s easy to say that we should do that and we often feel like we want to do that, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. When we feel dark and down and heavy, it’s hard to choose to focus on light and good and easy. In Psalm 6, David gives us an example of how he choose to focus on the good even during a bad situation. Hint: it may not be what you think it is.
In verses 6 and 7 of Psalm 6, David says, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.” If you thinking of focusing on the positive, this may not be something that you think he should say. How is he focusing on whatever is commendable, good, or lovely when he says this?
One idea we hold sometimes is that not thinking about not lovely things means not acknowledging the things that aren’t lovely. Pretending you don’t see problems or pretending you don’t feel bad about something isn’t the same thing as focusing on the good. Ignoring the obvious or refusing to face certain truths doesn’t give us power or put us in a place to see God’s glory.
In fact, I would propose that it is difficult or nearly impossible to find the real good in a situation without facing the bad. God is good, all the time, in all situations. He is real and He is there. If we aren’t willing to open our eyes to all of what there, we will miss out on seeing all of what God is capable of doing.
Does this mean that we should give in to the dark, upsetting circumstances? No, absolutely not. After he talks about how bad he feels about things, David goes on like this, “Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.”
Nothing about his circumstances makes David any less confident of God. It doesn’t make him doubt who God is or what God is doing in his life. Acknowledging troubles is a way to be honest before the Lord. Letting those troubles grow so big in your perspective that they block out your belief in the power of God is doubt.
No matter what, we need to belief that God is who He says He is and that He’s doing what He’s promised to do. Let’s use our focus to acknowledge our circumstance, both good and bad, and choose to focus our minds on seeing Him in all areas of our life.