The importance of our thought life has been recognised from the wisdom of Solomon onward. The apostle Paul understood the influence of our thoughts, that what we allow to occupy our minds will eventually affect what we say and what we do. He encourages us to ‘think on these things’ the true, right, and good, because of the benefits it will bring.
Think on these things Verse
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.Philippians 4:8
What does Philippians 4:8 really mean?
Paul was a prisoner in Rome at the time that he wrote his letter to the church in Philippi. The city was a prosperous Roman colony, but the new Christian Church was experiencing a time of opposition and persecution. When you look at some of the themes of the letter, you begin to understand that they were going through some tough times. In the final words of the letter Paul writes to rejoice in the Lord, and not to be anxious about anything. And then ‘finally’ he encourages and exhorts the people to concentrate their thoughts on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.
What was Paul’s reasoning here? When you read the verse in context, Paul is reminding us that the Lord is near, always! That even in the middle of tough and difficult circumstances it is possible to be free from anxiety, to have joy in the Lord, and to know the peace of God.
Paul was teaching the Philippians how to guard their hearts and minds with the peace of God, not by the power of positive thinking but by the power of prayer. In faith, we bring our requests to God, believing that He hears, and He responds to our prayers. We place our problems firmly in God’s hands, and we leave them there.
Paul was teaching that by the power of prayer, there is a divine exchange – we give God our anxieties and He give us His peace. We are reconciled to God by Jesus saving work at the cross and the peace that we receive transcends all else.
Fix your thoughts on what is true
By focusing our thoughts on what is true we are enabled to keep our God given peace. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, who leads us into all truth and understanding. We may be living in a post-truth age where many believe that there is no longer absolute truth, but Jesus teaches us that He alone is ‘the truth.’ The truth that we find in Him sets us free from fear of the future. We can live in the joy of the Lord in this present moment, with the knowledge of His love in our life, and that our eternal future is secure in Him.
The enemy wants to snatch and steal our peace with deception and lies, to question and doubt the truth of God’s word. His tactics have not changed, in the garden of Eden, he cast doubt on God’s word – did God really say? In the wilderness, he tempted Jesus, by saying this is written, this is what God’s word says! He did not misquote the word, but he took the words out of context and distorted the meaning.
The Word of God is our protection and defence. When we keep our thoughts fixed on the truth of God’s word, we keep that right relationship with God. We are able to focus on what is right in God’s sight. That may be contradictory to popular opinion, but the only way to keep our peace is not to compromise on what is right and true according to God’s word.
“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority.” Booker T. WashingtonTweet
Think about such things! True, noble, right, pure, and lovely.
Meditate on these verses of Scripture for a moment and hear what God is whispering to your heart and mind. Be encouraged as you think on these things!
“For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:4
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15
“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!” Psalm 84:1
At all times the truth of God’s word has the power to demolish any lies of the enemy. As we read and retain God’s word, it reminds us of His goodness and faithfulness. Remembering all that He has done for us stirs our hearts into gratitude, overflowing into praise and worship. When we humble ourselves to worship God, our problems and difficulties diminish in the light of His Sovereignty and grace.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Paul was passing on to us the secret of victorious Christian living….