Study from God’s Word… The entire letter to the Philippians … Passage for Reflection: Philippians 4: 8 … NIV 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.
My Journal for Today: For years I’ve had this word picture, which I try to live by and use to teach the need to intentionally overcome the impurities of life by filling my mind and heart with what Dr. Smith today calls “excellent thinking.” The picture is based on the proverbial truth of Proverbs 23: 7, which in the NKJV reads, As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
In other words, we become what we allow our minds (and thereby our hearts) to be filled with. And it is this premise, from today’s highlight text, which Paul is addressing to two women in the church in Philippi, with whom Paul had a deep and long-lasting love relationship from his trips there in the past. These women, Euodia and Syntyche, because of their conflicting ideas, were splitting the Christians in Philippi; and Paul, in his letter to the church, was exhorting these two and his fellow Christians to get their act together … to become united in the thoughts and ideals influence by none other than Christ; … in other words, “excellent thinking” in Christ would lead to excellence of united action.
Back to my word picture. It is of two clear beakers, one filled with clear water and the other filled with black ink. I picture a person taking the ink-filled beaker and dropping just a few drops of ink into the beaker of clear water. What will happen? Well, of course, the clear water begins to become murky because of just a few drops of ink. And that, my dear one, pictures what we confront from our minds being influenced with the many droplets of thought we get from Satan, from the world, and from other people influenced by the flesh, all of which will continue to cause our minds/hearts to become impure by dropping as many droplets of impure images, ideas, and impressions into our minds. And to the extent that our minds become clouded by the fogginess or impurity of thought, we will make impure or inaccurate choices. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
But again back to my word picture, … in reverse. If you have a beaker, clouded to some degree by ink, how long do you think it will take one, pouring clear water into that murky beaker, to make it clear and pristine with pure water again? Yes, I’m sure you can see it taking quite a bit of time and discipline, pouring clear water into that murky beaker to clean up the murkiness cause by allowing some ink into what used to be a clear beaker. And therein you have Paul’s exhortation in Phil. 4: 8, for the Christian to do all he/she can to pour “excellent” (i.e., Godly) thoughts, primarily from the well of clarity which is God’s truth (i.e., Scripture), into his/her mind so that that person’s heart will be more readily influence by God’s will and His way in living.
I would hope that I need not go on here for you to get God’s point here from Paul in Phil. 4: 8, which is that we can’t expect to make clear choices from unclear minds; and we can’t expect to make clear, Godly choices if we allow our minds to become impure by taking in the murky, impurity the world will bring into our minds by all the means Satan now has available to him to cloud our minds and hearts to influence our choices and behavior.
So, I ask today: What are we doing in a disciplined and daily manner, to avoid exposure to impure thoughts, images, or ideas and to allow God to pour His pure ideals from His word into our minds that we might have “excellent thoughts” influencing our ability to make excellent choices? Personally, I’m driven to continue to do what I’m doing every morning, by pouring as much of God’s word into my mind as I can so that I might do what Paul exhorted to Philippi in Phil. 4: 8 or what God charged Joshua to do in Joshua 1: 8 or what the author of Psalm 119: 9-11 wrote in his love-song about God’s word.
What is your plan to promote excellent thinking and Godly action?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, You’ve convicted me to KOKO in Your word to purify my mind and bring me to excellence of action to glorify You. Amen