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..
Day ten of our Alaska Adventure we started out at church worshiping and praising God. During the day we had fun seeing around town where my brother and family have served the Lord for the last 28 years. The highlight was seeing the Alaska pipeline. We then closed out the day with the privilege of leading the youth group in Bible study.
In the 1970s when the Alaskan Pipeline was being constructed many Texans went to Alaska to work on the pipeline alongside the Eskimos, native Alaskans. However the Texans could only work a few hours in the frigid weather, while the Eskimos could easily work for hours on end.
Some scientists decided to do a study to find out why the Eskimos could withstand the weather, while the Texans flagged. The study concluded there were no physiological differences between the Eskimos and the Texans. Then the scientists conducted a psychological study and discovered the difference. The Eskimos experienced the cold, but clearly understood that a job needed to be done. With that mindset, they focused intently on obtaining results rather than how the weather was affecting them. The Texans, on the other hand, were so focused on the cold weather it became their overriding experience of the situation, monopolizing their attention and energy and crippling their capacity to work.
When the Apostle Paul wrote these words in Philippians 4:8, exhorting us to meditate on those things which are good etc. -- he was in prison. Yet he clearly had been training himself not to focus on his external circumstances, but on everything good, noble and praiseworthy, and especially the Lord Himself! Paul was no stranger to discomfort or the temptation it brings. But he'd learned well that his inward attitude toward difficult external circumstances could dramatically affect the way he experienced them and also his capacity to function in spite of them.
Focus on how bad things are – the trials, temptations, the circumstances that surround you – and you will be crippled by the amount of attention you give to them. Focus on the Lord, His Word, His promises, His deliverance, and everything good He is, has done, and will do, and you will work like an Eskimo in frigid air.
Dear Lord, help us not be focused on the trials and temptations that surround us. Help us instead focus upon You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.