Praise and worship has been our focus this week. We have talked about Worshiping in spirit and truth. We have talked about everyday worship. We have talked about not letting rocks take our place and we have talked about praising Him even in our pain and that He will inhabit our praises. Praise and worship is an action. It is an act that we give to God and it invites Him into our circumstances, whatever they may be. It requires us to take action toward God. This verse helps us to refocus our minds toward praise.
Paul wrote this verse and the entire book of Philippians when he was under house arrest in Rome. Physically speaking he was not a free man. But he had written this letter to the Philippians to encourage them in their faith. He had given them instructions on living for Christ. He had told them how to live in the righteousness of Christ and how not to live under the law. And he had pointed them toward the goal of pressing on to Christ. In this passage he is telling them a practical way to keep all of the rest of that in mind is to think on good things.
“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.” Philippians 4:8
I know that my mind can be a battlefield at any given time, but especially in hard seasons of life. If my mind is left on it’s own to wander I will nit pick every thought, every encounter, everything I say and probably everything you may say to me to see if there is an underlying hidden meaning. “What did she mean by that?” “She doesn’t like me.” “My job is harder than yours.” “What are my children doing?” “Why don’t they call me more? It must be because they don’t like me.” Am I the only one. I don’t think I am, at least I hope I’m not the only one crazy.
But over time, I have learned when my mind goes off on one of these tangents that I need to take Paul’s words to heart and to my mind. I need to think on the things that I know to be true. I am loved by my family and friends but most importantly by Christ. What is honorable, I do the best job I know how to do and that is all that really has to concern me at my job. Whatever is just, I can want justice for things that are wrong, but there is a fine line between justice and judgement and I want to be on the side of justice. I want to focus my mind on purity and commendable and excellent things. And if I keep my mind focused on these good things in this list, I will find things worthy of praise. And I will praise Him the giver of the good things in my mind and in my life. Even when things are hard, if you look, you will find things worthy of your praise. I believe it to be so.
When I am in practice of thinking on praise worthy things, when I am thanking Him for the good things He gives me, even in the midst of some hard seasons in my life, I will turn my thoughts to praising the giver of these gifts, the sustainer of my life. I will praise the one who is worthy of all my praise ~ Jesus! I will be grateful and I will show Him my gratitude in the way I live and the way I praise!