Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
The Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:4-9
Beginning with verse 8, Paul continues his exposition instructing us on which things we should dwell, think, and meditate. Up to this point, the Apostle has shown us that if we impose a sense of joy and prayer, without the dregs of worry, into our lives, then we will have God’s supernatural peace, which Paul indicates is a sense of holy rest and contentment that is beyond human understanding.
Now, Paul moves on to indicate that the things we think about, dwell on, and meditate on will have a direct impact on our lives. Paul also infers in this passage that since we have rejoiced, let go of our worry, prayed, and been thankful, our minds are now empty, because we have given all over to God. Now, we all know that empty space always gets filled with something…eventually, and so Paul instructs us to fill our minds with things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, excellent, and praiseworthy. If we do this, then there is no room left for negativity, pessimism, or further worry.
If we break it down, true (real, genuine) is the opposite of false. Honorable (moral, ethical) is the opposite of dishonorable. Right (just, righteous) is the opposite of wrong. Pure (again moral, ethical) is the opposite of stained. Lovely (admirable, agreeable) is the opposite of disgraceful. Of good repute (fair, of good report) is the opposite disreputable. Excellence (virtue, integrity) is the opposite of iniquity. And worthy of praise (commendable, exemplary) is the opposite of deplorable.
In verse 7, Paul assures us that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds, but only if we want him to. There is always the issue of personal responsibility and we must decide of our own free will to fill our minds with good, positive things.
In verse 8, Paul is setting us up for verse 9, in which he tells us that right thinking leads to right living. I’ll expound on that thought more next time.
To Be Continued…