The Things to Think About: A Meditation on Philippians 4:8

| Wed, Jul 10, 2013 | Set 3 Week 28

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.—Philippians 4:8

I believe Paul’s aim in this famous exhortation is to get believers to think about God in a magnificent way. In other words, instead of merely saying, “Think about God!” Paul belabors his point to get us to stop and truly marvel at God.

For one thing, Paul describes the goal of his ministry like this: “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20–21). He counted “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Indeed, the great prize of his existence was “the upward call of God in Christ” (Philippians 3:14).

That’s one reason I believe Philippians 4:8 is fundamentally about God. Another reason is because of the immediate context of this verse. Paul says that “the peace of God” (v. 7) and “the God of peace” (v. 9) shape believers. More specifically, God’s peace “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7). So, we are to think—with our minds—about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. And the best guard for such thinking is the peace of God Himself.

Therefore, as Paul says elsewhere, “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1–2). Fix your mind on God—even now. As you live your life and interact with others and love your neighbor as yourself and proclaim Christ to a perishing world, look for God in all of these things. For in Him is the brightest picture of all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

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