“Finally, brethren, 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”. Philippians 4:8
Today we live in a word where we are literally bombarded with information from every quarter. The scale of this information blitz is unprecedented in human history largely owing to the technological revolution. TV, radio, 24 hour news, Facebook, Twitter and a plethora of other applications are all vying for our mind’s attention. However much of the information being presented to us is hostile towards God and has the power to be destructive if we allow it to become a focus. The mind is incredibly powerful and has a direct bearing on how we will act; “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). In order for us to be able to live in a holy manner we must first be thinking in a way that is pleasing to God, Philippians 4:8 shows us how to do this.
Paul begins with the words “Finally, brethren” (He also began Chapter 3 with these words but this time he means it!). Up to this point in the chapter he has been giving edifying instruction to the believers in Philippi; “stand fast in the Lord”, “Rejoice in the Lord always”, “Let your gentleness be known to all men”, “Be anxious for nothing”, but now he hones in on the importance of healthy thinking. “whatsover things” is not referring to some random, arbitrary thoughts that might pop into our head. Paul has been imparting Godly instruction and that is the context we must read “whatsoever things” in. If we were to substitute the words “whatsover things” with the words “God’s words” the verse would read equally true. Gods words are “true”, “honest”, “just”, “pure” (Proverbs 30:5), “lovely”, and of “good report”. “whatsover things are true……. think on these things”; Recall Jesus’ prayer to God the Father in John 17:17; “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth”. We know from 1 Thess 4:3 that it is God’s will for us to be sanctified and Jesus tells us that this work of sanctification is accomplished by God’s Word. The things that God wants us to think/meditate upon are His words and all those other things which come from Him – all good things come from God (James 1:17).
“think on these things”; the Greek word used for “think” here is logizomai, it doesn’t just mean to think in a casual way, it means to think about logically, to mull over. Thinking (and more to the point what we are thinking about) is extremely important in our walk with the Lord. Sadly much of the visible church today seems more interested in seeking “experience” through signs and wonders (Matt 16:4) rather than meditating upon the Word of God. In Psalm 1:1-2 we read “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night”. God wants us to fill our mind with His Word, to rumintate on it like a cow chews on the cud. Contrast true meditation, as prescribed by Almighty God, with the meditation practiced by the world. God says “fill your mind with my Word”, the world says “empty your mind” – they are polar opposites! Eastern meditation sounds so good to the world, “empty your mind of all those stressful thoughts, just empty your mind and you’ll be fine” but by God’s grace we know better than this; “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov 14:12). Practitioners of eastern meditation are not just emptying their mind, they utter a mantra that is demonic in its origin and open themselves up to attacks from evil spirits. If you are interested in learning more about this subject from a Christian perspective I encourage you to check out Dave Hunt’s insights via the following link Should Christians Meditate? | thebereancall.org
Brothers and sisters, let us set our mind upon the Word of God. Jesus is the true vine (John 15:1), He is the Word of God (Rev 19:13). If we abide in Him, if our food is His Word then we will be able to bear much fruit. Or putting it another way, if we feed on that which is “true”, “honest”, “just”, “pure”, “lovely”, and of “good report” then we will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is “love”, “joy” “peace”, “patience”, “gentleness”, “goodness”, “faith”, “meekness”, “temperance”. If we eat good food we will bear much fruit! Another week lays ahead of us, by God’s grace may we live it in a way that is holy and pleasing to Him so that our Lord Jesus will be exalted.