How is Your Thought Life?
April 26th, 2020
Download this week’s outline Download

Philippians 4:8-9

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, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

When we talked about Philippians verses 6-7, we talked about Paul’s instructions to the Philippians on how not to worry, and how to get rid of worry and experiencing the JOY and Peace of God.  Philippians 4:6-8 is one of the best places in the Bible to turn to when you find yourself worrying

Paul has told us what NOT to think about—anxieties and worries—but what are we supposed to think about?

whatever is true,

Paul is calling us to dwell on the truth of God as He has revealed Himself in His Word

whatever is honorable,

When we think about the majesty of God, the weighty dignity of the Word of God and everything that God associates Himself with, we feel a sense of reverence which elevates our thinking. 

 whatever is right (in the sense of Just),

We are to dwell on God’s righteousness; how everything He does is right and just.  He wants us to emulate Him and love righteousness and justice.  In thinking about His ways, He wants us to consider our ways.

whatever is pure,

We should strive for purity, innocence and integrity; the kind of moral uprightness that God expects of His people.  When we think about Jesus, and specifically that we are going to meet Him face-to-face someday, we should want to purify ourselves and live in holiness.

whatever is lovely,

Lovely here means “loveable” or love-inspiring, or eliciting affection.  Thinking on the loveliness of Jesus, the loveliness of God extends our hearts out to Him. 

And people can be lovely.  Take a minute, and just think of something one of your brothers or sisters in Christ has done for that was lovely.

whatever is of good repute,

We are to think and speak kind words to one another, think about kind actions toward each other.

if there is any excellence

Areté means moral excellence—goodness, uprightness, virtuous in the general sense.  Find the good in the situation to think about. 

and if anything worthy of praise,

This word épainos means appropriately judged as deserving praise.

Of course, most often when the word praise is used in the New Testament, it’s most often referring to praising God. (Phil  1:11, Eph 1:6, 12)

But it is also of the praise that Jesus will give in the Bema seat judgement of those things done for Him with the right motive.  It’s far better to receive praise from God than man. 

dwell on these things.

Let your mind continually be taking these things into account.  Continually dwell on these things.  Changing the focus of our thoughts toward these things will begin to change our perspective to be more in line with the way Jesus wants us to live.  Our inner thought life is important,

A benchmark for thoughts that come to your minds

But in order to accomplish this transformation of our thought life that the Holy Spirit wants to bring about, it takes some discipline and some determination

Think of Philippians 4:8 as a kind of guard checking the credentials of thoughts that come into our head.  

Present your thought-life to God and say, I want to think about the things that YOU want me to think about.  Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5  5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 

9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

learned

Paul is urging the Philippians to put these things to practice in their thought-life.  Paul is calling on them to take advantage of his experience in learning these truths of God, and consider their own experience and learn that this is the way to conduct our inner thought-life.  He’s calling on them to come to realize that this is the way to experience the true peace of God. 

Received

Paul is calling us to receive what he has said:  Apply it to our lives.

and heard

Paul is calling us not just to hear, as in in one ear and out the other, but to attend to what he’s saying.

or seen in me.

Paul is once again calling for them to follow the example that they have seen in him.

practice these things

The commitment of our thought-life to God is not something that can be accomplished overnight, but if we have the commitment to sanctify our thought-life to God, the Holy Spirit will help us. 

God of peace will be with you

If we will give over our thought-life to God, not only will we receive the peace of God, as it promises in Philippians 4:7, but more than that we will walk closer with the God of Peace, Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our Peace (Judges 6:24).