Christianity 201

June 6, 2014

Things to Think About

We’ve looked at Philippians 4:8 on a few occasions here, but this time around I wanted to look at the way various translations deal with the various aspects of the verse, only to find that I couldn’t always get things to line up perfectly.

Phil 4 - 8 chart

One of the aspects of our human nature is that very often we’re drawn to thoughts of all the things that are the opposite of the ones listed. I want to share a few personal observations at this point:

  1. Holiness does not get easier as you get older. Don’t believe the myth that as you age, you will automatically take on the character of the elder saints at your local church. To be very blunt, it can go either way. Age can ‘mellow’ your spiritual character, or it can ‘harden’ that character.
  2. Thinking on “these things” is a matter of effort. Even working in a ministry environment, I find that my thoughts can go off the rails several times a day or even several times an hour. It takes constant focus.
  3. Past thought life failures should not be a barometer of what to expect in the future. Each moment is a created period of accountability. You have to keep hitting the ‘reset’ button.
  4. Our lives simply run better when our thoughts are focused on the good and beautiful. We were not designed to have our mind crowded by things that are impure or dishonorable.

 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV



May 18, 2010

Think On These

Back in the day, long before “Footprints,” you could walk into a Christian bookstore and buy the “Whatsoever things are true…” plaque, also known as “Think on These Things.”   Perhaps you had one in your home growing up.

In a world where everything was in black-and-white and in King James English, your plaque of Phil. 4:8  probably read like this:

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.

Here’s how The Message translates it, with verse nine added:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

If you read yesterday’s post here, I commented that it’s easy for wild thoughts to enter our heads and park there.   Sometimes we’re capable of either remembering or creating stuff that shouldn’t be there.   I believe it’s possible for us to de-toxify our minds, but getting clear from concepts or narratives that are lodged there may take days  or weeks and requires discipline.

What fills your mind?