Thoughtful Thinkers

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about such things.
~Philippians 4:8

Congratulations on being pro-choice! No…not like that. But by making a choice to click here and read this blog post, you made a choice to think about something. It’s a choice people seem to forget they have.

In a world where many, including many Christians, don’t think that we have much control over what goes on inside our mind, the verse above gladly shows us a different way. The Holy Spirit and Paul remind us that (1) we are responsible for what goes on inside our minds (see Rom. 8:5-6) and (2) we have the power to choose what we think about.

What’s even better is that God has set before us a magnificent feast of wonders for our minds! While many view the Christian God as stingy and withholding, here is proof that God’s plan for humanity is to have the richest “life of the mind” possible.

  • We’re able to feast our minds on things that are true – true in the biggest sense of that word, true in the sense of being in accord with the way God made the world.
  • Were able to feast our minds on things that are honorable. This is a hard word to translate, but it can also mean majestic or noble or anything that lifts the mind and heart to consider great things.
  • We’re able to feast our minds on things that are just. Biblically, justice is simply giving to each person what they are due.
  • We’re able to feast our minds on things that are pure. Pure not just in the sense of being absent from sin, but also pure in the sense of being close to God.
  • We’re able to feast our minds on things that are lovely. That is, we can think about things that help us develop love in our hearts and in others’.
  • We’re able to feast our minds on things that are commendable, things we have no reservation about sharing with other people.

This means we are able, first and foremost, to make Jesus the topic of our mind’s conversation. Who else is more true, majestic, just, pure, lovely or commendable? When could we ever get to the end of considering the greatness of Christ?

So let’s think about thinking and give thought to our thoughts. Let’s purpose to put Christ at the center of our thoughts. Let’s decide to think about things that fit the list above, both because it will make us more joyful and because thinking right will lead our heart to feeling right which will lead us to living well.

This isn’t a call to ignore the harsh realities of the world around us and never think about anything ugly. While Christians are called to elevated thoughts, to be heavenly minded (Col. 3:5), that ought to make us much more able to discern right and wrong in this world.

And a final word of encouragement: be careful with social media, especially Facebook. It tends toward misery and not joy. You don’t have to think about the things Facebook tells you to think about; you are free in Christ to pursue the highest thoughts possible.

5 Comments

  1. Karen Wallace July 15, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    One of the sweetest commands is to let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Think about it. He will finish our need for faith when we see Him as He is. Until then, our faith in Him keeps us looking to Him to lead us to green pastures where He is as our Good Shepherd. It’s a circle of thought that begins and ends with Him, and the circle is filled with Him. Those who think on Him and remain in Him will do and love more and will be wiser and richer than Solomon was. Only He can crowd out the noise of the evil in our hearts.

  2. Adrian Keister July 25, 2015 at 7:44 am #

    Greetings in Christ, brother! Thank you for pointing out the beauties of Christ and for giving honor to Him. It’s impossible to overdo that, right?

    I would, though, question a few minor points about your interpretation of Philippians 4:8. For example, while Christ is undisputably the most lovely person on Whom we could dwell, does it follow that He is the only lovely Person on Whom we could dwell? Paul says, “Whatever…” That is, anything that qualifies, according to this extraordinary list (many of the words in this list occur only here in the NT), is something on which we should dwell. So, what about other people insofar as they bear the image of God? What about great works of literature and history? What about Bach? Is Paul telling us to think about these things? I believe he is.

    Also, does the word “lovely” directly means “things that help us develop love in our hearts and in others’ “? The Greek here is “prosphile”, a word that occurs only here in the NT. Most lexicons have it as “lovely, pleasing, agreeable, etc.” Paul says “… whatsoever things are … lovely, … think on these things.” So these things that Paul wants us to think about are lovely or beautiful in themselves, objectively, regardless of whether we follow Paul’s injunction or not. So it seems to me that in context, and also with the usual meaning of the word, Paul is not talking directly about the effects of thinking about these things, but immediately he is talking about the qualities that these things possess in themselves.

    Then, presumably, if we do think about these things, it will shape our minds, as you suggest. But I think we should take the more immediate meaning of the word “prosphile”, so as to make sure we aren’t limiting what Paul had in mind.

    What are your thoughts?

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