We could all use a little good news these days in a world changing rapidly moving from one set of normal to another and chronicled by the diversity of this digital world we live in. We live in a time of smoke and mirrors, things are never what they seem but are often a picture painted by a world of spin doctors, painted to fit their agenda. If that isn’t enough what is considered truth is only good till the next telling of the story.
In the verses that make up chapter 4 in Philippians there has been a dispute that has apparently disrupted the fellowship within the church. Christians are to remain strong in the faith by fellowship with each other and solving our problems or differences by working together. Paul is encouraging them to do just that. Prayer, supplication and giving thanks in all things, helps us to deal with the anxiety through the peace of God through Christ. It is a fact of life that if we think about something frequently and long enough we soon will not be able to stop thinking about it. Our actions and our demeanor will reflect our concerns and we will be overwhelmed by the concerns of this world. The truth is the mind will always set itself on something. Let’s take a close look at these two verses from Philippians Chapter 4.
We know that there are many things in this world that can let us down, promising things which can’t be delivered and offering false hope to gain peace of mind. Verses 8 – 9, Chapter 4, Paul offers us a list of things that we as Christians should dwell on, things that lift us up and give us peace. He starts off with the word Truth. The Greek is hard to translate and some versions of our bibles use honest and honorable as a means being worth the time to consider. There are things that are questionable both morally, or are not dignified in content in such a way that warrant serious consideration. There are people in this life that don’t take life seriously and it is not our place to judge them. Paul is simply saying there are things of worth that we as Christians should set our minds on.
Paul then uses the word Just, the Greek word being dikaios. The short way to this is that Paul is pointing out that a Christian’s thoughts should be on their duty to other people and God. He then moves on to things which are Pure. The Greek meaning, morally uncontaminated. Barclay points out that when used ceremonially it means that which is so cleansed it is fit to be brought into the presence of God and used in his service. This world is filled with things that are morally questionable. This filth and smut taints may things we encounter every day. The Christian mind should be set on those things that can stand the scrutiny of God. The next word is Lovely. Think of those things that bring forth love for each other and those things God finds pleasing in his eyes. I find William Barclay’s writing in DBS to say it best.
“There are those whose minds are so set on vengeance and punishment that they cause bitterness and fear in others. There are those whose minds are so set on criticism and rebuke that they bring out resentment in others. Christians set their minds on the lovely things – kindness, sympathy, patience – so they are winsome people, whose presence inspires feelings of love. “
There is so much hate and ill-will in the world today that does nothing to lift people up. Christians should concentrate on words and actions that are pleasing to God’s ears and eyes, only those things that are fit to be in his presence. There is so much in these two verses that it is good that we linger here among those things that Paul reminds us are worthy of our thoughts.
The language of today that has become all to common in our communications with each other and often on our minds are ugly, false and impure thoughts and words, that are not words that are fit for God to hear. We should realize that there are many good things in this world that deserve praise and have value. Paul closes with a simple request. While Christians do not seek praise, they should always live a life that would be worthy of such. All things are to be done to the Glory of God. So take the time to dwell on “…those things which are true, whatever things have the dignity of holiness on them, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are winsome, whatever things are fair-spoken, if there are any things which men count excellence, and if there are any things which bring men praise, think of the value of these things. Practice these things which you have learned and received, and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”
As we prepare for the birth of Jesus let us make every effort to think good things, and prepare ourselves that we might be worthy of such a gift.
Life is Good
Note: Reference material for this blog is taken from The Daily Bible Study, written by William Barclay.