You Can Change Your World
Finally, brothers, 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 (NIV).—Philippians 4:8
In the midst of prison, mental battles, and a world in turmoil, does it seem a little odd that the apostle Paul would stop and suddenly start talking about what is true, noble, and lovely? Could he even find anything like that to think about?
There are many things in this world that are not right, not just, and certainly not lovely. Terrorism, wars, and suffering can keep us depressed and anxious.
But even in a fallen world there is beauty and goodness. There are things that are right, and even lovely. The Lord wants us to be blessed by them.
He wants us to remember the beauty of nature, the love of a friend or spouse, the joy of a child, the way music can stir your soul or a story can touch your heart. Think about those who sacrifice their lives for our freedom, our safety, and our well-being. God is giving us permission to look beyond all the pain and misery and find joy in what is good and beautiful.
If you find yourself a little cynical about all this, remember, Paul the apostle was more than a “think good thoughts” advocate. The words he penned were born of years of suffering, doubts, confusion, striving, wrestling with right and wrong, and honest struggling to know the meaning of it all. Notice that he opens this verse with “Finally....” That’s because what preceded this—a discussion over anxiety, prayer, and the guardian of peace – is what makes this passage possible. We are being given the keys to a healthy mind and attitude, and God-inspired living!
We can choose to dwell on the dark and hurtful things of this world, or we can discipline our minds and choose to change our attitudes, change our thoughts, and change our world, by thinking about the things God desires for us – truth, justice, purity, beauty, noble and praiseworthy things.
God is commanding us to think about what is good!