“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 think that there is something more to this verse than just positive thinking. While, yes, this verse often reminds me to stop focusing on the negative all the time, I can’t help but think that it has to be more than just some good ole Dr. Phil think happy – be happy crap.
I think what stands out to me the most is that there are few things in this life that encompass all of the above. For example, you might know a judge who is just in his job however is not pure in his family affairs. Or, you might see a lovely flower that is fatally poisonous when eaten. Both examples have admirable traits that Paul says to think about, however, they also have flawed and negative traits.
So, as I thought about this scripture today I began to realize that the true and purest example of all of the above is found in our glorious King Jesus. Can I encourage you that when times are difficult and you’re down in the dumps, to think on the most pure, lovely, just, honorable, commendable, true, and worthy of praise thing you can… namely Jesus.
Earlier in the week I was a little down in the dumps, missing my friends in VA. As I realized that my meditation on my sadness was not all that productive I began to fix my eyes upon Jesus. As I thought about Jesus and all that he has done for me I was reminded that he too was acquainted with the pain of leaving a place he loves. My king left the very throne of heaven to come and live and die on this earth… While there are lots of things that could have helped me through that tough day, the greatest help was to stare at Jesus and think about him.
I think that Paul is not merely saying to have a positive attitude… but rather he is saying we need to dwell on the very one who is most worthy of praise. Jesus.
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Helen H. Lemmel, 1922