Think About Such Things
“if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” - Philippians 4:8b
On Sunday, we talked about the peace of God, the peace that transcends our understanding, which Paul proclaims will guard our hearts, using a greek military word. It’s a powerful picture to imagine the very God of the universe, standing as a sentry on the wall of our hearts and minds, looking at the chaos of life and diligently protecting us from the perfect vantage point.
I had the privilege today to sit with a dear friend who is valiantly fighting an earthly battle with cancer… but whose heart and mind were quite obviously being guarded, protected and upheld by the peace of God. In fact, as we talked of God and faith, on several occasions I thought to myself “if you never knew what was going on… you’d never imagine what they’re battling through.”
How is it that in the midst of this terrible infirmity, someone, anyone could be at peace? It’s the practice of putting your mind on the excellent and praiseworthy things. As we sat and talked, the majority of our time was spent reminiscing on the gifts of family and friends, the generosity of the community, the unabashed goodness of God. We didn’t ignore the illness, didn’t sweep it under the rug, but it was not the focus of our attention or our conversation.
I will freely admit, I lose focus. I will freely admit, I get distracted. I will freely admit, I am too easily swayed from thinking about the good, the great and the gospel, to my present circumstances or current problems. There is nothing so life-sucking as an hour focused only on what is wrong, what is gone, what is lost.
What I need, what you need, what we all need, is to take up Paul’s direction and to think, imagine, focus our minds on the good. We can even do this when we stand up against people or forces that threaten to undo us or harm our community. In the face of illness, injustice or anything else, we can stand up against evil… and still… think on whatever is good, holy, pure, excellent and praiseworthy.
In fact, it’s the thinking on these things, it’s the thinking on this One, that enables us to stand strong, firm and filled with peace.
Whatever your circumstance or situation right now, whether in full health or failing, fully employed or seeking, whether everything is falling into place or simply falling… focus your attention, your thoughts, your mind on Jesus Christ and allow God’s peace to guide and protect you, this day and every tomorrow ahead!
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,