Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” NASB
I am not referring to the country song by David Ball, “Thinkin’ Problem,” but to a spiritual truth. I have often said, “You are not necessarily what you think you are, but you are what you think.” What I mean by that is we are the product of what or how we think. The writer of Proverbs told us that our inner thoughts produce who and what we are (Proverbs 23:7).
Jesus addressed that on numerous occasions and in Mark 7:20-23 we read, “…What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” We know from various passages including Proverbs 4:23 that everything flows out of the heart and our minds are to be carefully guarded so that we think the right thoughts.
I have discovered that there are times in life, when we discover that what we think about becomes our doorway to victory or the prison cell of defeat. There have been times when I was distraught and had difficulty maintaining a victorious outlook that the Holy Spirit would chasten me. On more than one occasion I have heard, “You have a thinking problem.” Not a drinking problem, but a thinking problem! What I was focused on was producing death not life, defeat not victory, and the Spirit of God would not let me wallow in the mire of my self-focus.
Paul gives us the key to entering into the Peace of God. He gave us some incredibly valuable guidelines as to what we should focus on. In our modern world and even in the church in 2021 it seems that many have abandoned those principles. Let’s list the items Paul gave and let them speak for themselves.
The first thing we are to let our minds dwell on is the True! The Greek is alethes (al-ay-thace) and basically means not concealed. It is open for all to see. Jesus said that the Truth was the key to our liberation from bondage. The second on Paul’s list was the Honorable or Honest! The Greek is semnos (sem-nos) which means venerable or honorable. In today’s world honor and integrity are absent far more than present in many lives and interpersonal dealings with others. It almost seems as though Paul was using the same thought but with different words.
The third thing he listed was the Right or Just! The Greek is dikaios (dik-ah-yos) which means equitable in character and action. It implies innocence and holiness. It is untainted by the world and impure and improper thoughts, desires, or deeds. It is expressive of the character and nature of Jesus.
The fourth thing listed was Pure! The Greek is hagnos (hag-nos) and means clean, innocent, modest, mature, or perfect. Purity of heart is a requirement of God for fellowship with Him. He washes us with the Blood of Jesus and once washed expects us to seek to remain clean and pure. If we are longing for the unclean, we will be devoid of peace for the tug of the world will block our vision of the perfection of God’s Love.
The fifth thing listed was Lovely! The Greek is prosphiles (pros-fee-lace) and means friendly toward and acceptable. Then he lists Good Reports! The Greek is euphemos (yoo-fay-mos) which means well-spoken of, reputable.
He then moves to Virtue! The Greek is arete (ar-et-ay) which is proper, manliness, excellence. From virtue, he moves to Praise! Praise is a key part of the life of a believer, but this goes beyond praise to God and praise of the good, right, true, honest, pure, lovely, good report. It is focusing on the blessings and benefits of Life in Christ and Life. It is turning the look from inward to upward and outward.
It is in this state of mind that Paul said, “if practiced” will bring the Peace of God to us and it will be manifest in us. What and how we think is the catalyst to bring us into the Presence and enables us to experience the Peace of God. The peace that is beyond human ability to comprehend or produce.
Let’s make up our minds to stop focusing on what we can see and focus on what He says, who He is, and what He has declared about us and for us. We are more than conquerors in Jesus!
God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!