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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
#1 - Kyrios
#2 - Merimnao
#3 - Epieikes
#4 - Meta Eucharistias and Gnorizo
#5 - Proseuche and Deesei
#6 - Logizomai and Prasso
The Question: So where can the change really begin?
So let's summarize. Everything for followers of God must begin and end with God and God's Kingdom. As the Lord's prayer puts it, God's will be done. But our own woundedness prevents us from doing what God wills. Our fear or our anger, our shame or our lies, they can hold us back. They cause us to be out of order, judgmental of ourselves and others. When we face these wounds, we have to let them be known in all honesty and togetherness with God and others. And in these honest prayers, bring your brothers before God too.
And somehow we end up at joy, right? Sheer and savage joy. That's the whole point of this season. So where does the change begin toward joy?
The Words: Logizomai and Prasso
In the passage at the beginning of this post, we read Paul's wrap up thoughts. A parting shot that is meant to stick with the hearer. I like to see it as a "if you don't remember anything else from what I just said then remember this" type of suggestion. And it comes down to 2 things:
THINK and DO.
Logizomai is a word that translates to think, but it is thinking about a concrete reality. It's not a fantasy type of thinking. It's not daydreaming about what it would be like if a Transformer fought a unicorn, or what it would be like if Michael Bey made good movies. Instead, it's thinking about things that are real.
And the admonition, the encouragement, is to think about the good things that are real. Things that are true and worthy, admirable and right. In other words, think about life how it is supposed to be lived.
THINK ABOUT LIFE HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE LIVED.
You see, studies show that humans think in images. We are constantly playing out short, little movies in our minds. If I think about my childhood, when I grew up in Indianapolis, I remember a short little scene where my dad and I are sitting in the bleachers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We're watching the time trials and a dark blue car races by us. We call it a "speedy." It's a good memory. I love spending time with my dad. But that's a movie I see in my head.
But I have other movies too. I remember when I was playing baseball in my front yard and my brother was practicing pitching. I was just standing there, and was supposed to give him the idea of a batter while not swinging. My dad was catching. And for some reason, I decided to swing. And the ball ricocheted backwards and clocked my dad in the chest. He was so angry, and hurt physically, I remember the look in his eyes. Remembering that can make me tense up right now, and feel awful.
Our minds have an incredible ability to hold memories and bring those feelings into the present. So the biblical advice is, let's think on how we want to live. Let's spend most of our thought life, the part that we can control anyways, on the good.
So, go ahead, close your eyes after you read this and imagine the hallway at school or see yourself sitting in one of your classes. What are the good character traits that you'd like to portray? Attentiveness? Humility? Patience? Concern for others? How do you want to live during a normal day? How do you want to interact with others? Think on those things. See yourself doing them.
Breath and think.
And now do it. The second part of the passage at the top says that whatever good things have been seen, learned and received should be put into practice. The word translated "put into practice" is prasso. You know what it means? Do it. Put it into practice. Put it into action. Just like the translation says.
And so, think about how you want to live, then put that into action.
THINK and ACT.
Two stories now, the first about my son Judah. He's a lovable little four year old with a bright imagination. He tells all sorts of stories about spiders and superheroes and Kratt brothers and animal powers. But he often fails to think before he acts. And as such, he's had more accidents than any of our other boys. We have a little song that we sing to him when he's zooming around to fast without thinking. The words are like this:
"I think then do, I think then do, I think and then I do.
I think then do, I think then do, I think and then I do.
When I do before I think, things don't turn out good.
But when I think before I do I do the things I should."
I'll sing it to you this week. But remember, how you think will affect how you do.
What does this mean for tennis?
How you think will affect how you do. So we must take some time to control our thinking. Maybe it is only for the length of a breath, because our thoughts run away from us. The length of a breath is enough for us to visualize how we want to live, or how we want to play.
Have a focal point, a phrase that describes how you want to live or play. Return to that.
"Feet, Consistency, Accuracy."
"Grace and Peace."
"I am loved."
Think about things that are admirable and excellent. And then do them with confidence, for God is with you.
This was our theme song in 2008, the year we won the Sectional. The reason this was because of the bridge of the song, which goes like this...
"If they're asking for the sign of Father in us
Tell them that it's movement, movement, movement, oh!
Repose, the time to think. The time to rest on what is good. And then back to movement, movement, movement!