Philippians 4:8 – Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.
To meditate on here means to consider, take into account, weigh, reason, deliberate inwardly. Paul is encouraging believers to continually be reviewing purity of thought to provide the best results in mastering the walk of righteousness in holiness.
In a similar admonition, Paul uses another term: renewing of the mind.
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
One of the keys to holiness that the apostle Paul conveys to the congregations is the need for focusing on righteousness. Our minds our powerful and the focus of our attention is the very thing that God desires. As we focus on righteousness and purity of thought, we can be transformed and become separated for God’s purpose. However, when we are distracted and sidetracked by pointless trivial occurrences throughout the day, we can lose sight of what’s really important in God’s eyes.
“…as thought makes deeds, and thought and deeds make character, so character makes destiny, here and hereafter. If you have these blessed thoughts in your hearts and minds, as your continual companions and your habitual guests, then, my friend, you will have a light within that will burn all independent of externals; and whether the world smiles or frowns on you, you will have the true wealth in yourselves; ‘a better and enduring substance.’ You will have peace, you will be lords of the world, and having nothing yet may have all. No harm can come to the man who has laid up in his youth, as the best treasure of old age, this possession of these thoughts enjoined in [this] text [Philippians 4:8].”– Alexander MacLaren
The same word used for meditating on these things in the Philippian epistle is also used by Paul to the Roman congregation in a similarly impactful character-building verse:
Romans 6:11-12 – So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.
Considering and meditating on the fact that we as believers are dead to sin and alive to God provides the practical ability to overcome the sin that reigns in our fleshly bodies; this allows us to gain mastery over sin and thereby to remain holy and set apart.
It is not without good reason that in his divinely-ordained wisdom Solomon uttered the following proverb:
Proverbs 4:23 – Guard your heart above all else, for it is the well-spring of life.
By meditating on purity of thought and beautiful things that God provides, we can have the ability to maintain the strength of character that God requires of his people to be examples of righteousness and holiness to every generation.
Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
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