Philippians 4:8 is a key verse for every Christian to meditate upon, since it describes what we should meditate upon.
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.
However, before we get to the what let's think about the why. Why does it matter how we think? As long as we do right, or do our best to "be good," does God really care how we think? Think for a moment about 5 reasons our thinking matters to God.
- Prior to the new birth, our thinking was futile and our understanding darkened (Eph. 4:17-18). While we were under the dominion of the world, the flesh, and the devil; our thinking was vain. It was without purpose--from a divine perspective. We were ignorant of godliness because our understanding was held captive in darkness.
- At the new birth, we receive the Holy Spirit who knows the mind of God (1 Cor. 2:11). You will need to listen to the sermon linked below for a fuller explanation of this Scripture. However, suffice it to say that this is truly amazing and spectacular. Just as you spirit is the only one (besides God, of course) who knows what you are thinking--until you choose to reveal it by your words or actions--the Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God. That same Spirit dwells within each believer.
- Knowing the mind of God—because He is God—the Holy Spirit has revealed the mind of God in the Scriptures and, therefore, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:12-16). those who truly know Christ have all they need to know how to think according to God's standards. Because the divine author of Scripture now lives within us, as believers in Christ, we have the ability to know the mind of Christ, which is revealed in the Scriptures. The Bible is the mind of God in written form.
- As new creatures, we are now called to put off our old self, including old ways of thinking, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Eph. 4:22-23). Sanctification is not merely--nor even primarily--interested in outward behavior, but on changing our thinking patterns to match up with God's Word.
- As we renew our minds with the Word of God, our life is transformed, which results in the fulfillment of the will of God (Rom 12:1-2). Transformation of life and change of heart cannot take place without renewal of mind. That is a foundational truth.
As new creatures in Christ, we have every divine resource at our disposable to be able to develop a truly Christian mind. This matters to God. Tomorrow, we will look at 6 positive qualities that the apostle calls us to think upon.
*This post is adapted from last Sunday's sermon, Think Right, Do Right.