Think About These Things
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is commendable. If there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8)
Do you find this difficult to do in today’s word? I do. The world bombards our senses with sexual humour and innuendo, LGBT agendas and concerns, messages of greed and self-indulgence just to name a few things that are anything but what Paul is describing in Phil. 4:8. We are besieged by those things that would appeal to our sinful nature and capture our thoughts. A common parenting technique is to distract a toddler from something they want with something else that is appealing. While we want what is good, like a toddler, we are so easily distracted by what is sinful. The good we would do, is not what we do (Rom. 7:18-20).
Paul goes on in Philippians 4:9 to say that his readers should practice the things they had heard and seen in him and the God of peace would be with them. Paul does not say that if we practice these things God will be with us, as if he isn’t when we aren’t imitating Paul. This isn’t a necessary condition for God’s presence. He never leaves or forsakes us (Heb. 13:5). His care for us is not intermittent.
Having said that, however, when we seek to think on that which is good we do experience God in two different ways. First, when we think on things that are worthy of our thoughts as Christians and seek to develop good and healthy practices we commune with God in sweeter ways. We are lifted out of the mire and are refreshed. We are at peace with God and the God of peace sets our soul at rest. A soul that would do what is good but is weighed down by sin is a troubled soul. Secondly, it is also true that in Christ, we have God’s help through his Spirit in order to set our minds on these things. We are not helplessly pulled away, but experience real help to reorient ourselves through the in-working power of the Spirit.