“whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:and the God of peace shall be with you.” Phi 4:8-9
Why are we so stressed out? Just looking through facebook I see all my friends posting one injustice after another. Articles about how bad the president is, how bad the government is, how much atheists hate us, or how someone got in trouble for doing the right things. We should not be indifferent to these things. I am not not saying that raising awareness of injustice is a bad thing. It can be a very good use of social media. But we are to not dwell on those things. We should not let them touch us too deeply. They pull on the soul not the Spirit. God cares about what we spend our time thinking about (Rm12:2) and for good reason. He wants us focused on what he is doing in our lives and in others. Part of the abundant life he has promised us is a very pleasurable unity. This is not a cookie cutter “we all have to be the same” conformity but instead it’s a very rich, robust, unified diversity. Not a porridge but a stew!
Not a todo list
At first I was tempted to feel like a big failure when I read this list. “Man, I fail at this all the time.” But then God began to show me that this is not a list of commandments but instead its one of blessings. Things I get to think about instead of things I have to think about. The idea that thinking on these things are a blessing in and of themselves is true but we also get the promise of God’s company. God promises to be with us as we think, consider, ponder and dwell on his things: “God of peace shall be with you.” Notice the title Paul uses for God in this promise. We will not only experience God with us but we will get to experience the particular aspect of God’s character called “peace”. Hmmm “peace” I have heard of it but I don’t normally live there. Thinking about these things however will bring peace. I can’t wait!
So let’s examine these horribly difficult things (sarcasm) that God wants us to think on:
- True – conforming to reality. It is no accident that this is listed first.
- Honest – free of deceit; honorable; sincere.
- Just – right, according to what is morally right and fair.
- Pure – not mixed, free of any contamination.
- Lovely – something acting with selfless goodwill, friendly, true beauty, inward beauty
- Good Report – well-thought-of, highly regarded, respected, well respected, respectable
- Virtue – proper, excellence, behavior showing high moral standards.
- Worthy of Praise – a commendable thing, deserving approval and admiration.
There is no torturous meditation on the nothingness of nothing or picturing your most positive version of you (bleck!) just a simple promise of God that he will be with us in peace as we dwell in and think on these things. What a wonderful result to look forward to.by