Aug7FriAugust 7, 2020
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.
Philippians 4: 8&9
As I was reading through scripture recently I came to this familiar passage. I was also reminded of the Petra album from the mid nineties with the “Think on These things” song. (Maybe there are a few Petra fans out there…)
Paul’s encouragement here in the passage is deceptively simple: think on what is right, on what is good, on what is best. That’s about it. Simple…yes!
Yet it is also so powerful. We all have a mixture of memories, some of good things, some of difficult. Some of successes, others of regrets. Some of what we are proud of, others of what most shame us. The memories that we choose to think on or dwell on, shape not only our view of the past but can dominate our present and define our future.
We are expected to take responsibility for walking in spirit and truth; living as unto the Lord; trusting in the Word of God; depending on our heavenly Father; submitting to the Holy Spirit; abiding in Christ by faith.
But this can only be done as we focus on Christ and His teachings. Paul is inviting us to look at our our lives our thinking, what we allow into our life. Like movies, music, literature.
We are responsible for the kind of thoughts we have. We develop and feed our thoughts. Paul urges us to acquire a taste for good thinking. He challenges us to think about whatever is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, excellent, and worthy of praise.
This is a high and hard calling in our world. But doing this will become a filter to help us see how we currently think, and will move us toward godly thinking. How we think ultimately determines how we act.
It’s not just saying we need to stay away from bad thoughts, but the actual command here is proactive. We are to think about good things. We are to be the kind of people that intentionally focus on the things for which we can praise God.
This involves filling our minds with the scripture, singing worship songs and hymns, surrounding ourselves with people who will encourage us in the Lord, participating in the life of the local church (I mean actually serving not just attending), telling others about Jesus, and so much more.
Paul offers his own life as an example for the church at Philippi and for us to follow.