This morning I read Philippians 4. Please read verse 8 and then I will continue…
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
First I got stuck on “true”. Whatever is true. God is true. His Word is true. Whatever else may happen, focus on whatever is true. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about those things. Whatever else may happen, think about what is excellent or praiseworthy. God is excellent and praiseworthy.
Then I looked at what came before verse 8. Two verses that I’ve read and heard so many times that I don’t really read or hear them anymore.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So in verses 6 and 7, we are told to not be anxious. To pray. To be thankful. To trust that God will give you peace, and guard your heart and mind. AND THEN verse 8 comes. Think about what is true. Noble. Right. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. Praiseworthy. Maybe that is part of how God will give us peace. Maybe these are some instructions. Rather than thinking about our fears, anxieties, worries, what-ifs, things we cannot control…think about the list in verse 8 instead. Can God simply erase our anxiety? Absolutely. I think He’s also a Teacher – not so we learn to do things on our own, but so we learn to focus on the right things. We can learn to trust Him because of all the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. HE is all of those things. How have I missed the follow-up to verses 6-7 all this time? I’m so glad I didn’t miss it today.