Are all my thoughts pleasing to God? Well, that’s a pretty easy answer. Philippians 4:8 (see below) impacted me this past year. Recently, as I was bouncing blog names around and trying to land on something meaningful I came across this verse in another article and for some reason the last four words popped out at me, ‘Think about these Things’. And there is was, the blog title. This verse is convicting to to think about because of what James says were inclined to do naturally. James 1:14 says, ‘But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire’. However, the Apostle Paul encourages us and exhorts us in Philippians 4:8 to do the opposite,
‘ 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.’ That’s a pretty high standard and seems impossible.
The only way to think on ‘these things’ is by the ordinary means of grace through reading God’s word and the spirit’s activity in you. Lets take a look at Philippians 4:4-7 and see what Paul lays out in a few points to help us.
‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness (gentleness) be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’.
Paul is thankful, he rejoices in the Lord, he says not to be anxious but to pray in all things, and then we see the good news, the Lord’s promise. He promises his peace, the peace of God that will guard our hearts and our minds. We can not do this in our own strength. Trying harder will not get us there. We can only think on ‘these things’ (verse 8) when the peace of God is in our lives actively guarding our hearts and minds, then we will think on things that are glorifying to God.
So, how do we do this? How do we get the peace of God? Read his word and pray. Read the words he has given us to read and pray. Ingest scripture into your heart and mind every single day and pray! Yes, it’s that ordinary.
I love how chapter 13 of the Westminster Confession of Faith puts it, ‘They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are farther sanctified really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his word and Spirit dwelling in them‘. God works ‘these things’ in you. Amen! (Phil 2:8)
We can pray in faith that by his word and spirit God will work in our hearts and minds and give us the peace of God and new thoughts that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. This is the gospel! God works for us and in us for his glory!
Thank you for stopping by and reading! Also, Thank you to those who have followed the blog! This is the third post in three days but only to get some momentum going. Once classes start in June I will post once a week. Thanks again so much -Ben