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What to Think on

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Read: Philippians 4:8

Philippians 4:8 (KJV 1900)
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Christians fight spiritual warfare in various places, but one of the greatest is in our minds.
Yes the battle field of the mind is where many victories are won or lost.
The verse we just read tells us how to win in the war of our minds.
We are given eight tests for thoughts. When we are struggling with our emotions, or feeling down on ourselves beating ourselves up, or feeling defeated spiritually the first place to start is the mind.
Paul begins with what I would say is the most important thing:
Is what you are thinking or battling with true?
By true he is referring to - does it correspond to reality. And by reality I mean real reality.
It’s interesting how we can turn off all the lights in the house, close the shades and sit in darkness and feel so depressed because everything is so dark. But that isn’t really true, if you would flip on a few light switches, open a shade or two the light that is shining would come bursting in on you.
So it is with negative self-talk, suggestions of satan, or even well meaning but hurtful criticism of our brothers and sisters - is it really true.
I’m ugly - no you were created by God (wonderfully and fearfully made) in His image you have intrinsic value to God
I can’t make it - You have to tell yourself the truth and stop listening to the lie
on an on we could go - whatever it is the lie you are listening to - you have to push it out of your mind and think on things that are true
Whatever things are honest - or honorable
In all honesty that automatically cuts out much of the media and ideas, notions, and books that are out there today.
Whatever things are just - oh thats a tough one isn’t it. In our seeming endless pursuit of justice, we have forgotten that to truly have justice we have to have a standard of what is right and wrong - who is setting that standard for you? It better not be some group, person, organization, or even some ministry.
God has already laid out in His word what is JUST we have principles of justice from Genesis to Revelation.
And can I just put out here - I am not bad, or unjust, or even prejudice because I am white - that is racism and not thinking about things that are just.
To think on things that are just - means thinking about
Whatever things are pure - again that cuts out much of whats on social media, books, movies, radio, podcasts
Is it holy? Is it clean? I don’t mean it has to be Sacred, or churchy, or filled with Christianeze, but I am saying what you think on has great consequences
James 1:14 “14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
The word “lust” here doesn’t necessarily mean immoral thinking or desire it just means intense desire
You think about what you want, or what you want to do and it grows with intensity
Notice where it begins in the mind, your thoughts
If you are feeding your mind impure things, it can and probably will lead you on a trail of thoughts that are impure.
Push that away, scroll on past, leave it alone, think on things that are pure
Next test is whatever things are lovely - Truth, righteousness, holiness, has a close affinity with beauty. Have you ever noticed how the world sometimes calls thing beautiful that are really ugly, or distatsteful
As Christians we are looking for lovely or beauty
Whatever things are of good report - or admirable
If there is any virtue “the excellence of a person or thing that enables it to achieve its end or purpose; especially used of moral excellence”
If there be any praise - this can mean praise of the thought - but I think Paul was really getting at can I praise God in this thought?
I have heard people from all kinds of church backgrounds, in their conversation randomly will insert things like, “well praise God” or “oh help us Jesus” or some such thing. When I was younger I was put off by such things, but now I realize they were attempting to do this - keep their mind on things above.
These tests of thoughts aren’t easy, there is a reason we call it a battle field.
There is a reason Paul said you had to work on your thoughts.
In Romans 12:2 “2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
This all comes by yielding your mind to God and letting your thoughts pass through this test
Philippians 4:8 KJV 1900
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I love how he ends with a tremendous promise
Philippians 4:9 KJV 1900
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Addendum
List and define the 8 test for thoughts
Philippians 4:8 (KJV 1900)
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians, Colossians & Philemon Think About Pure and Lovely Things / 4:2–9

Whatever is true. NRSV First, believers should think about what is true (alethe). The word “true” has many meanings. Truth includes facts and statements that are (1) in accordance with reality (not lies, rumors, or embellishments); (2) sincere (not deceitful or with evil motives); and (3) loyal, faithful, proper, reliable, and genuine. Truth is a characteristic of God (Romans 3:4).

Whatever is noble. NIV Believers should think about what is noble (or “honorable” NRSV; the Greek word is semnos). These matters are worthy of respect, dignified, and exalted in character or excellence. (See also 1 Timothy 3:8, 11; Titus 2:2.)

Whatever is right. NIV Thoughts and plans that are right (or “just” NRSV; the Greek word is dikaios) meet God’s standards of rightness. They are in keeping with the truth; they are righteous.

Whatever is pure. NRSV Pure (hagnos) means free from contamination or blemish; these thoughts are unmixed and unmodified; they are wholesome. Paul probably was speaking of moral purity, often very difficult to maintain in thoughts.

Whatever is lovely. NIV The Greek word for lovely (prosphiles) is used only here in the New Testament. Paul was referring to thoughts of great moral and spiritual beauty, not of evil. The NRSV translates the word as “pleasing.” However, because the sinful human nature can perversely find evil to be “pleasing,” the word “lovely” or “beautiful” is preferable.

Whatever is commendable. NRSV The Greek word euphemos is also translated “admirable” in NIV. It refers to things that speak well of the thinker—thoughts that recommend, give confidence in, afford approval or praise, reveal positive and constructive thinking. A believer’s thoughts, if heard by others, should be commendable, not condemnatory.

If there is any virtue. NKJV Virtue was prominent in Greek rhetoric and Roman philosophy, but is found only once in Paul’s letters and three times in Peter’s (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3, 5). Evidently Paul brought “virtue” up here to counter the false teachers by using a term with which his audience would be familiar. This small word incorporates all moral excellence (hence the NIV translation of this word as “excellent”). In this way Paul summed up what could have been a lengthy list of the qualities that should describe a believer’s thought life.

GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT

What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to program our minds with thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, commendable, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Do you have problems with impure thoughts and daydreams? Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, books, music, conversations, movies, and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all, read God’s Word and pray. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure. It takes practice, but it can be done.

And if there is anything praiseworthy. NKJV This phrase may be restated as “anything that deserves the thinker’s praise” or “anything that God deems praiseworthy.” For believers, who are developing a mind like Christ’s, these two should be one and the same.

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