"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
This is pretty cut and dry.. At least is would appear that way, but it is more difficult to do than it sounds.. It means to think about good things.. Noble things, right things.. Pure things, admirable things, excellent and praiseworthy things..
Notice that the Bible doesn't say to think about and dwell on things that make you unhappy, angry, hurt, offended, etc..
"They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts."
This is what happens when we don't guard our hearts or our minds.. We dwell on the negative, what offends us, what makes us angry, or what hurts us; we become hardened . We pull further away from God without even realizing it.. We become unforgiving, thinking more about ourselves and our lives on this earth instead of Jesus and the Kingdom..
It becomes OK for us to be offended, hold grudges, and repay hurt for hurt..
The Bible tells us not to do this.. But we do it anyway.. Most of the time not even thinking about Jesus or the Bible.. We are thinking about how we feel, how we have been offended, how we have been treated unfairly..
We are all familiar with Ephesians 4:26: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.- But we don't always remember the verse that comes right after it: and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph.4:26)
'In your anger do not sin'. When we argue back, when we complain to others, when we share our grievances with others hoping to get them on 'our side' so they will carry on our offense, we are sinning in our anger.. When we refuse to let go, refuse to forgive and ask for forgiveness, when we complain and gossip about others, argue with others, and then dwell on it, we are giving 'the devil a foothold'.. We are actually inviting the enemy into our lives..
Like Saul and David.. Saul allowed himself to dwell on his anger and jealousy for David.. So much so that he tried to pin him to a wall with a spear.. Twice! Every day that he harbored anger for David, his heart hardened . He was pulled further and further away from God..
When we continue to act on our anger and indignation (physically or verbally) our bad behavior becomes acceptable to us and we feel justified in that bad behavior.. But where does that justification come from? It surely doesn't come from God.. It comes from us, from our flesh, and the devil.. And the more we allow it to happen, the more we allow Satan near us and the further we push God away..
It’s easy to justify our anger. It’s also easy to justify being unforgiving. The anger that festers never hurts the one who has caused the anger. When we carry the anger inside it becomes a living, breathing, monster. It feeds and grows. It is consuming. There resides in all of us a potentially destructive angry beast. There is only one tried and true way of eliminating that beast. Don’t feed it.