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A Beautiful Mind (# 1)
by David Smith
You've met the sort of people I have in mind.

They are rays of sunshine in a dark world. They light up every room they enter. They can find good in almost every situation. They're a glowing fire in a cold room. They're a souls for which life is a gift, a wonder never to cease rejoicing over. They have "a beautiful mind."

You've also met another sort.

They are black clouds that obscure the noonday sun. They light up every room they enter - just by leaving it. They can see the bad in almost every good thing and rejoice to point it out to you. They're a wet blanket on every fire. They're a cranky cuss for which life is a pain, something never to cease grumbling about. They may have had "a beautiful mind" somewhere along the way, but they've long since lost it.

Now how did these two minds become what they are? You may be surprised - they both became what they are the exact same way.

They thought about it.

Now the crotchety old goats never planned on becoming goats. They didn't sit down one day and say to themselves: "I'd like to be a pain in the neck someday, so I'm going to work at it the next thirty years." No, they became what they are simply because for years they filled their minds with dark thoughts aplenty and, no small wonder, they became what they thought.

Similarly, the grateful soul became what they are because they filled their mind with things worthy of thought - the things of God. They became a treasure to others because they treasured the right things.

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." (Matthew 12:34 NIV)

We've all heard the proverb: "You are what you eat." How much more ought we to hear another proverb: "You are what you think." For if anything is true it is this - a Christian is what a Christian thinks.

So, what are you thinking about? What are you feeding your mind? What are you in the process of becoming?

Think about it.

Think about it with me over the course of the next couple of weeks as we meditate on the meaning of a single verse of Scripture and strive to work up an appetite for a beautiful mind. Oh, and here's the verse:

"Finally, brothers, 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." (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

Now that's something to think about, isn't it?

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For further study of all of Paul's letter to the Philippians, I would recommend the following works (listed here in alphabetical order by the author's last name):

  • Philippians by Fred Craddock (part of the 'Interpretation' commentary series; especially good in application; preacher-types will go ga-ga over Craddock's insights into matters easily overlooked).

    The Letter of Paul to the Philippians by Pat E. Harrell (part of 'The Living Word Commentary' series published by ACU Press in Abilene, TX; a wonderful commentary for "the average Joe in the pew," though a bit dated now by its reliance on the RSV as a base text).

  • Philippians by Gerald Hawthorne (part of the 'Word Biblical Commentary' series; everything you'd ever want to know - and perhaps more).

    - For further reading on the Christian mind, you may want to consider the following resources (listed here in alphabetical order by the author's last name):

  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (particularly part one of this three-part book).

  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A'Kempis (the book to choose if you read only one on this list; a classic you will find yourself consulting time and again).

  • Making Choices by Peter Kreeft (good for anyone, but should be required reading for any college student taking a philosophy class).

  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (the second book to read if you read only two on this list; this book will revolutionize the way you think about prayer and God's presence).

  • The Quest for Character by Charles Swindoll (teacher-types will appreciate the excellent index and preacher-types will rejoice that Swindoll's wonderful illustrations are indexed, too).

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