When I was a young boy, I spent quite a bit of time with my grandma at her house. We would do all kinds of fun things such as laundry with a clothes press, gardening, baking, cooking, looking at photos, reading, playing farm with the toy tractors, and going for walks around Orange township. God was very important to her and I can remember one verse in particular that she would show me. It was Philippians 4:8 and I will give it here in the KJV because that is the way it was read to me as a kid.
Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
My grandma told me then that I should put this verse in my heart because it was the key to everything. To be honest, I didn’t think too much about it at the time. I was more interested in exploring, playing, and having fun.
As time passed, I began to realize that this single passage from the New Testament contained within it the secret to living a joy-filled life. By applying this verse to our daily lives, we can amplify the joy we experience in our marriages, relationships with family and friends, parenting, and in our lives as a whole. It is such an important verse, that author, Tommy Newberry, wrote an entire book about this verse called The 4:8 Principle.
If you want to experience vibrant health and abundant energy, it is essential that you consume certain foods and drinks and refrain from consuming others. The exact same is true if you want to lose weight or put more muscle on your frame. You have to say yes to the foods that lead toward your goal and no to those that lead you away from your goals. While this seems like common sense, it is not always common practice for those desiring to reshape their physical bodies or increase their energy levels.
Progress towards joy begins the same way, with a firm decision to cut back on joy-reducing thoughts and increase joy-producing thoughts. To put it simply, you have to change your mental diet. You have to think this and not that. If certain thoughts don’t bring you joy, then you need to learn to discipline yourself not to think those thoughts. After all, joy is the sum and substance of emotional health.
The book of Proverbs contains a verse that speaks to this directly.
Proverbs 10:28 (NIV)
28 The prospect of the righteous is joy,
but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Many well-meaning individuals desire to be leaner or more energetic but then continue to indulge in a diet and lifestyle that takes them in the opposite direction. Consequently, they do not reach their goal.
Many with the goal of increased joy run into the same predicament: they keep consuming a mental diet mismatched with their goal. In both instances, there is a major disconnect between the desired objectives and the daily behavior.
I have one important question that I want to leave you with. Really give this question some thought today.
What kind of diet am I currently feeding my mind and soul?