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.
As I write this post I sit here in the wee hours of the morning. It’s the 4th of July today and I am dwelling on all the good that the Lord has done in my life. Though my heart is heavy due to do some personal matters I won’t go into detail about here, I just want to share with you that I am redirecting my thoughts and heart to what is good. The Scriptures teach us how we are to think, the above verse in Philippians being one of my absolute favorite passages in the Bible.
Last night I had a conversation with my son about where toilet water goes, ultimately we ended up talking about Jesus. I told my son about how Jesus said He has the living water. I did my best to explain how we not only have a physical body that needs food and water but a spiritual body that needs to be fed also, but our spiritual body won’t pass away like our earthly one. I also explained how the pathway to our spirit is through our mind.
Today I want to break down the charge we have been given in Philippians 4:8 regarding our thought life. I’ll do my best to share with you what I see in this Scripture and give you some application for your own walk with Christ.
Whatever is true. Truth . . . what is it? Some say it’s relative, dependent on the individual, I have to disagree. For if truth was relative the sentence ‘truth is relative’ couldn’t be taken as truth. We have a world full of ideas on what is true, but for the Biblical Christian truth is simple. It’s the Word of God. For example, “In the beginning God created…” Origins of our existence, the earth and everything around is established in a few short words. If you believe the Bible to be truth, you have everything you need.
This reminds me of a conversation I had not too long ago. I spoke with a non-believer who told me she believed in the Big Bang theory. I then asked how something came from nothing and she said the molecules mixed together, I asked where they came from and she didn’t know. The point is we all have faith in something and without the Bible, you have to go search for what is true and it’s limited by your own strength and ability.
The truths we believe shapes our reality all around us. If we believe in the precious blood of Jesus Christ saving our souls, we are suddenly valuable, we have a purpose. Oh, how sweet life becomes when you have a value, a purpose, a direction. Jesus helps us turn down the noisy false-truths of the world and simply rely on Him. We must focus on what we know to be the truth. If we are dwelling on truths from God, such as we are His and we are valuable, how much likely are we not to fall into depression? Not very likely at all.
Whatever is noble. The King James Version of the Bible uses the word honest. Focusing our thoughts on whatever is noble/honest keeps ourselves from going down paths of sinful thinking of other people. Someone wrong you? Lie about you or to you? We can’t dwell there. Our thinking life can’t revolve on ourselves and how others make us feel, but instead focused on what’s outside of ourselves: God & others, but only to a degree on others because we can’t forget it’s more important what God thinks of us than other people.
Whatever is right. Who determines what is right and what is wrong? For the believer, God does. If we spend our time in the Bible and in prayer, He will be able to direct us and our thinking. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that we make plans, but God establishes our steps. It is God who guides us in all things to know what is right and what is wrong is from His Spirit indwelling us.
As followers of Christ, we are to judge all things. We discern between right and wrong, but it’s not us judging, but it’s God’s Spirit within us. 1 Corinthians 2:15 tells us, ‘The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things’. This doesn’t mean we act without love or beat people over the head with a Bible, it means we, empowered by the Spirit of God, make judgment calls about all things. When we find what is right, we let our minds dwell on it.
Whatever is pure. Purity is a big problem in our world today and focusing on keeping ourselves unspotted from the world is only difficult when we are attempting to do so without God. Even though the people around us can’t hear our thoughts, God can, and we are to keep even our thoughts pure! Hard to do? Only without God and I’m not talking about one hour a week in a pew listening to the pastor. To find a purity of soul we must rely on God in a real way every day. The world all around us can care less about purity, but God takes it so serious He tells us to stay away from even in the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV). Dinner with the opposite sex without your spouse present is a prime example of an appearance that could land you in trouble, even if it was truly innocent. We should have a healthy focus on keeping ourselves pure from evil and keeping our thoughts pure also.
Whatever is lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. My wife’s beautiful face pops into my mind upon reading the word lovely. The word lovely stretches out into the world all around us. A sunset, a couple of kids playing nice together, a kind act by a stranger and so on. Lovely is all encompassing. That old saying, ‘stop and smell the roses,’ I believe applies here. We need to be aware of the lovely things all around us. The simple song of a bird in a tree nearby as we walk out to our car, a cool breeze on a hot day, appreciate God’s creation and design everywhere. God’s desire is for all to know Him and oh, how His creation all around us sings of Him! Sure, there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world. Wars, famine, etc . . . But we aren’t to dwell on that kind of thing, we are to dwell on the good, the lovely.
Whatever is admirable. This one is a reality check for a lot of people. You have to ask yourself, what or who do you admire? Is it the athletic prowess on the football field? Or is the man whose name you don’t know that you caught feeding the birds behind the grocery store. The single mother at home, who despite being tired from working all week, wakes up and gets her children’s butts into Sunday school. Who or what we admire is a self-analysis tool for the Christian.
The verse ends by covering anything it might have missed and which in my opinion charges us to focus on all that is good. These words in Philippians 4:8 give us instruction on how we are to think and upon thinking about all of this, it goes even deeper. Combine this Scripture with the Scripture that tells us, ‘whatever a person sows, that shall he also reap’ (Galatians 6:7). A golden nugget for everyday life! When we sow a corrected thinking life that operates in God’s design, we will reap the benefits and blessings that come forth from it. How much different does a person act when they walk around thinking about all the good in life that God has given them versus a person who is focused on their own hurt, wrongdoings and other problems? I think you get the point.
In conclusion, I want to challenge you with the same challenge I am presenting to myself. To dwell only on what is good. Instead of thinking about that bill you can’t pay right now or that big issue going on in your life, let’s resolve together to think the way God intends us, the way God designed us to think. Let’s push away the bad, and dwell only on the goodness that comes from God.
We have a lot to be thankful for, let’s act like it in all that we do.
Happy 4th of July!
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