Posted July 08, 2013
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
What do you find yourself thinking about during the day? What consumes your thoughts? What do you daydream about? What does your mind run to when you have free time? What sorts of things should Christians give their minds to? Paul gives the church in Philippi an impressive list that is quite convicting and soul-searching! A couple things we can observe about this passage:
Engaging Our Minds
Every one of the things listed by Paul is a positive statement (true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy)! Often Christians are told things they shouldn’t think about, but here Paul wisely tells us the very things we should thinking about regularly. We don’t want to just be a people known for the things we are refraining from or standing against, but must be a people formed by what we are for. God’s desire is that we would be a flourishing people, fully alive and in bloom. We do this through engaging our minds and lives in true, good, and beautiful things that bring glory to God. The Puritans wisely called us not only to mortification (putting sin to death), but also vivification (living for God).
Friends, what we fill our minds with is a big deal! Do not just blindly take in anything as long as it’s “not terrible”. Seek to be one who judiciously delights in things, for what we choose to delight in carries great implications for the course of our lives. Sam Storms said this:
“Make no mistake: There is no enduring change in life, there is no meaningful Christ-exalting, sin-killing sanctification apart from a transformation in how you think. Your mind matters. In fact, it matters eternally. So Paul tells us all to think about true things, not lies; ponder and reflect on what is noble and dignified, not what is base and vulgar; meditate on what is just and righteous not what is wrong and distorted; focus on what is pure, not sleazy; fix your thoughts on what is admirable and praiseworthy, not offensive and ugly.”
If you want to take more time with this passage, as well as take time to look at each word in this list, please listen or read Sam Storms’ sermon on this passage entitled, “Think, Meditate, Ponder, Practice” (http://bridgewaychurch.com/sermons/sermon/2013-06-09/think--meditate--ponder--and-practice). There are some deeply convicting questions that help engage more deeply with the text. We’ll close with a prayer from that sermon:
So, let us pray: “Father, our cry to you is that your Spirit would awaken us to all that is true about Jesus and the gospel and your character and how we relate to you. Our cry is that you would shape our hearts so that we will love what is honorable and abhor what is disgraceful, that we will live and act and speak righteously and turn from injustice and ungodliness, that we will pursue purity and celebrate all that is lovely and commendable; Father, our cry is that you would help us to recognize excellence and to fall in love with it and labor in your grace and power so that the totality of our lives reflect it. O Father, help us to think on these things. Help us to then practice these things. And may it all be for the glory and praise of your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Song written and sung by Marc James. Marc is a songwriter and worship leader out of Bedford, UK. You can listen to his latest record here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/surrender/id385400870.
Artwork created by Clint David Walkingstick, a graphic designer from Oklahoma City. Check out more of his work here: http://walkingstickdesign.com. We included a remix design for this that has alternate wording.