Think On These Things
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, my 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.”
Every action is preceded by a thought. To think means “to weigh, to consider.” We know that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). God gives us guidelines for our thinking for the purpose of changing our actions. Holy thinking will produce holy living, just as sinful thinking will produce or lead to sinful living. We are a product of the thinking process we have developed. We all practice selective thinking to a degree, and the parameters are clearly set out for us in Philippians 4:8. Miserable, disgruntled Christians are the way they are because their thoughts are filled with discontent and misery. Joyful, contented Christians are the way they are because their thoughts are filled with the subjects of the passage before us. Notice three principles that will help our thoughts to stay within God’s guidelines:
Relationships with people who think right will produce a joy and a calm. While Paul had people ON his heart that weren’t living or thinking right, the people IN his heart were living virtuously and thinking right. This brought great joy to him personally. We must be careful and cautious about the selection of our friends. We are in need of relationships with people that promote peace and tranquility. Are your closest friendships with people who are growing spiritually? We can have many acquaintances, but our near and dear companions should be like-minded. “fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:2). You show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future. Some of our friends need to be deleted off our “favorites.”
Our perspective during our problems is key in solving them. When a bad report or bad news is delivered to you, it is not natural to think on things that are “of good report.” It is easy to dwell on the problem, rather than the solution, but this just makes us more overwhelmed. Instead, focus on what God HAS done, not on what God has NOT done. Dwell on ways you CAN get through a difficult time, not on how you CAN’T handle the stress. Memorize and think on verse 13: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
To think on the Lord Himself is to obey the command in this verse.God, by nature, is true, honest, just, lovely, of good report, and full of virtue and praise. He should occupy our thoughts continually. Whether you are enduring the storm or enjoying the sunshine, spend time thinking about Him. God doesn’t always operate inside of our “box.” His ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts. By thinking on His ways, His nature, and His past actions, we can get a fuller grasp of what he is presently doing in our lives. “My meditation of him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord” (Psalms 104:34).
By following these principles in relation to our thinking, we can establish righteous thinking that will result in righteous living. Cultivate those positive relationships, and cut off those hindering ones. Let your perspective be shaped by thinking within the parameters set out by God in this verse. Ponder much about God, knowing that “thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). What’s on your mind?