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.
It has been busy for me the past several days, but I have not forgotten about our Verse of the Day. It was interesting because when I read them each morning, I was surprised to see verses we had already covered in the commentaries on temptation and holiness earlier in the week . So I thought that it would be redundant to the send them on…. For your reference:
Verse of the Day January 23, 2019
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Verse of the Day January 24, 2019
Galatian 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
This brings us to our current verse – which to me is related to our continuing theme of personal consecration, but moves us to another “strategy” in the pursuit of holiness. Up to this point we had looked to prayer and spiritual empowerment … and taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5) But here Paul encourages us to take a proactive approach with our thought life – the wellspring which drives our behavior. He says: 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. What thoughts in this list do we need to take captive to make it obedient to Christ?
True: Conformable to an essential reality. Sanctify them by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. (John 17:17)
Noble: Having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. (Proverbs 31:29)
Right: Being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)
Pure: Unmixed with any other matter; spotless; absolute. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Lovely: Delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace; attractive. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! (Psalm 84:1)
Admirable: Deserving the highest esteem; praiseworthy; excellent. I will make known the Lord’s faithful love and the Lord’s praiseworthy acts, because of all the Lord has done for us— even the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, which He did for them based on His compassion and the abundance of His faithful love.
Paul asserts that we are to meditate on these types of thoughts. Meditate on what is true; moral; good; pure; attractive; and praiseworthy. But we all have to remember that our thoughts come from our inner being … our hearts … yes, our souls.
Genesis 6:5 (NIV)
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Matthew 15:18-20 (NIV)
But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
And therein lies the challenge for us to think about the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable . The attributes of these thoughts have to come from our hearts as well. So it is imperative that our hearts are changed. Yet only God can change a person’s heart. And here is how God does it:
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Interesting! The Word of God has been declared by Christ Jesus as the Truth! And it is the Word of God (Truth) that changes the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts! Jesus, who is the Word of God, said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) If you want the Truth to fill your life … to transform you and renew your mind … then you need Jesus! He is everything that is true; He is noble and exemplifies the highest moral principles; He is righteous and His judgements are true; He is pure, holy and sinless; He is altogether lovely, full of compassion and grace; and He is admirable, praiseworthy, and the most excellent of men! If you need something; or rather, someone to adjust your thinking … to reset your mindset … just look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (cf. Hebrews 12:2) Let Jesus captivate your thoughts and meditate on Him! Then you will discover the “way out” God promise:s to you and me to endure temptation….)
When our faithful God promised to not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, He provided us a way out so that we could endure it. That WAY is Jesus! Meditating on Jesus (His character, attributes, and teachings) enables us to transcend and endure temptation WHEN it comes. The closer we draw to Him … the more we submit ourselves to Him. The more we submit ourselves to Him … the more we are empowered to resist the devil so that he will flee from us. (cf. James 4:7-8) Can you imagine that scene? Satan running away from us? That roaring lion seeking someone to devour in retreat? All we have to do is meditate on Jesus. As Paul urged us: “Just think on these things” and let them drive your behavior. My friend, I pray you will know that the God of peace is with you, and His peace will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (cf. Philippians 4:7) Yes, God has assured us victory in the midst of temptation. We can endure it, and Jesus is the Way! Amen.