Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
There are 3 principles of Christian living when put into daily practice as we strive to live a Christ-like life, we can truly have the peace of God in our lives. Today we will discuss the 1st of those 3 principles: "the practice of "right thinking"".
In order to practice right thinking, we must learn how to see things the same way God sees them. We must think about and ponder meditiatively "those things" that are wholesome and promote a godly way of life. Jesus said "so as a man thinks, so is he". It is a literal truth that we are the "epitome" of what we allow our minds to dwell on. When we let the mind of Christ dwell in us, we will become "the epitome" of what a child of God should be in every area of our lives. "Right thinking will promote right living"!
Paul wanted the church at Philippi to walk in holiness and live a life of righteousness; the kind that showed the indwelling of Jesus Christ in every believer. Paul contention was that everything we do must bring honor and glory to God. Every Christian must remember this one thing: The "mind" is the battleground by which Satan mounts his attacks and seditions. Without a Christ-like mind, the believer is subject to being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, every thing that distorts the truth causing us to falsely accuse or prejudge people and situations. In Philippians 4:8, there are "8 things" we must focus upon in our minds in order to promote the right kind of thinking. These godly principles and virtues help shape our way of life as well as the way we view life. They will enrich our relationship with God as well as with our fellow man.
When I speak of truth, I’m talking about all of those things (principles, philosophies, doctrines, beliefs, etc.) that line up and are in harmony with the eternal truth that comes from God. This would include those things we learn from the natural origin or state of things God created, as well as those tings God reveals to us through revelation. God’s revelations to this world in particular are contained in the Bible. Each child of God must exemplify truthfulness in their walk (way of living their lives) and character, not walking in hypocrisy nor acting pharisaic. Their lives must embody the truth of the Word of God. When we think of the truth contained in God’s Holy word, it will challenge us to live pure and moral lives. His Word will challenge us to be just in our dealings, faithful in all of our engagements and exemplary in our deportment. The truth found in the Word of God will challenge us to have a religion that is pure and undefiled. B. Honesty.
We are to think about those things that God employs us to do that will cause us to walk with integrity and with gravity. Ephesians 4:1 says the child of God must walk worthy of the calling God has placed upon their perspective lives. It means that we are to honor God with our lives by giving honor where it is due and respect where it is warranted. It means to live a life of peace and to endeavor to keep the unity of the faith in Christ Jesus. It means to honor the government in every aspect where the particular municipal, city, state or federal governing body is in line with godly governing and stand on the principles of God’s Word except where it deviates from the principles of God’s Word. We are to be honest in all of our business transactions. We are to be just in our dealings and promote good citizenship. Honesty is promoted in what we say as well as what we do.
Our mental focus must be on doing right by our fellow man. The church covenant mandates that we are just in our dealings. Religion and religious practice does not exempt any of us from doing that which is right. Justice requires that one knows and lives by God’s truth and honesty. Serious character damage is done when a child of God lives a lie and lie as he lives. It is done when that same person walks in acts of cunning craftiness. This kind of person will operate their lives by performing dishonest practices in their dealings with business affairs and with other people. Ephesians 4:14 says we are to be no longer tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. We are not to become men that lie in wait to deceive others people. We are to speak the truth in love that we may grow up in Christ in all things.
We must strive to rid ourselves of impure thoughts. Our minds must be filled with the Word of God. Psalms 1 reminds us that a man is blessed when their minds stays focused on the law of the Lord and meditate upon his laws day and night. Our conversations and thoughts must be pure. We must look upon others, especially those of the opposite sex with purity and not with lustful eyes and impure thoughts. The bible says we are not to walk in lasciviousness and to guard our hearts with all diligence. E. Loveliness.
When we focus on those things that are lovely, we focus on the things that are dear and pleasing to God. God focuses more on the inner beauty than the outer because when a person possesses an inner beauty, that is the fruit of the Spirit of God, there will be an outer reflection of God’s spiritual fruits in the countenance and behavior of that person.
F. Good report.
We are to focus on living the kind of lives that will be amicable, positive, that will put us in good standing with God and with our fellow man. we are to conduct our lives in a way that brings about a reputation of integrity. There are many way we can achieve this. Here are a few of them. We are to walk together in Christian love according to John 13:34- 35. We are to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior. (Titus 2:14) We are to aid each other in sickness and distress. (Galatians 6:2, James 2:14- 17) We are to avoid tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger. (Ephesians 4:31; 1 Peter 2:21; Colossians 3:8; James 3:1- 2) Conclusively, we are to walk in a way in this world that reflects the character of Jesus Christ and if we do these things, we will have a good report with God and commendation with our fellow man.
G. Virtue and Praise.
We are to think about living the kind of lives that are virtuous, things worthy of true manhood or womanhood. One of those virtues is maintaining self control. Another virtue is cultivating sympathy and courtesy in our affairs with other people. (1 Peter 3:8) Another virtue is allowing the power of the Holy Spirit flow through our very being causing us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:11) Another virtue is becoming a soul winner for the Lord and becoming an evangelist, seeking the salvation of those who are still lost and without Jesus Christ in their lives.