“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
There is a joy to be found in service to the King and having “the God of peace be with you.” The Book of Philippians has been identified by many scholars as the Book of Joy, and perhaps that is one of the major reasons it happens to be my favorite book of the New Testament.
For any of us to be more Christlike is going to require holy living … no, not perfect living … but the striving to be better than we’ve been and growing and maturing in the ways of the Lord!
The key to living a holy and godly life begins with our minds … begins with what we allow to occupy our minds. We must learn to be very careful about what we think about … what we reflect on and meditate on.
Very simply, there is absolutely no lasting change in one’s life … there is actually no meaningful gain that does not include a complete change in how we think! My friends and my brethren … your mind … my mind … they matter … and they matter eternally!
As much as the apostle Paul loved these brethren in Philippi, he wanted them to know what the Lord’s expectations were for them every day for the rest of their lives. And he directs them by his inspired writings to the place where perhaps the biggest challenges can be found … on the battlefield of our minds.
The fact is … the enemy … Satan and those who serve him … must not be allowed to control our thoughts! It is as the wise man Solomon wrote, “As a man thinks within himself, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
Found in Philippians 4:8 is a number of necessary, not optional, characteristics of what constitutes those thoughts that God approves of! They are “true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, possessing virtue, and praiseworthy.”
Make no mistake, these are not just a collection of good suggestions, but they are to be obtained and maintained as a true reflection of those who have chosen to love Jesus Christ and follow Him in every aspect and relationship of their lives!
It was the apostle Paul who admonished the Corinthian brethren to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
God in His infinite wisdom has provided for His people a kind of filter to guide our thoughts in the right manner. And when there is an absence of agreement … God’s Book prevails … every time! After all, it is the standard by which we will all be judged at the end of time. (John 12:48)
The child of God must be courageous enough, selfless enough, and bold enough to reject anything that even resembles opposition to truth and what is right! I must decide what standard I am going to allow my thoughts to be governed by!
It must be through the filter of Philippians 4:8 …
- “True things” and not falsehoods and error.
- Reflection will be on what is “noble and dignified” … not that which is vulgar, improper, or base.
- Meditation will be on those things that are “just and righteous” … not what is wrong, distorted by man’s reasoning.
- Focusing on that which befits “purity” … not sleazy and ungodly.
- Establishing our thoughts in such a way that we are thinking on those things that are “admirable, praiseworthy, good” … not offensive, mean, or ugly!
The word “whatever” occurs throughout this passage for a reason. The reason being that those who read this letter … including us today … will come to the realization “these things” are characteristics of what a godly, Christ-like life looks like every day!
So, it must be asked: Are the programs on tv, the movies, the video games, the music you listen to, the books you read, the magazines you look through … do they pass the filter test of Philippians 4:8-9?
Your answer reflects the state of your soul, my friend. Be very, very careful about what you let into your heart, mind, house, and family!
“… these do, and may the God of peace be with you.”
Bill Fairchild, Jr.