End Times, Ephesians 5, Jesus is the word, Keep looking up, Last Days, Looking up, Our redemption is drawing near, Philippians 4, Philippians 4:6-9, Renewing of our minds, Romans 12:2, Setting our minds on things above, the washing of the word, Think on these things
When it comes to Philippians 4:6-9, there are four puzzle pieces that need to be connected in order to make a picture. Puzzle piece number one is “Do Not Worry.” Puzzle piece number two is “Thankful Prayer.” Puzzle piece number three is “Think on These Things.” And puzzle piece number four is “Habitual Practice.”
What I have wondered is this, once you have presented your request to God with thanksgiving, what’s next? So, you come away from the prayer, but the prayer still appears unanswered. Now what? How does one not worry? How does one not lie awake at night wondering about how things will work out or how things might have been different or how if only I had done such-and-such or why is this still happening to me?
Puzzle Piece #3
This is where puzzle piece number three comes into play, and this piece is VITAL for it is all about what we are thinking about from second to second. This vital piece of information is found in Philippians 4:8.
So Then, What Are We To Think About?
Philippians 4:8,9 tells us exactly what we are to think about when it says, “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.”
Now for the sake of gaining a better understanding of these terms that we are to think on, let us briefly look at the words in Greek. We could go in depth about each word, but we will not be doing so today. But, we are going to go one word at a time beginning with the first word of the sentence, “finally.”
The Meaning Behind the Words
“Finally” in the Greek means, “from this time on,” the time “remaining.”
“Whatsoever” means, “how great, how much, as great as,” and thus, however often we think, and we think a multitude of thoughts, we are to think on these things. Plus, it means that there is a “great amount of truth,” there is a “large amount of that which is just,” etc. And we are not to forget all of God’s many benefits bestowed upon us!! Psalm 103
“True” means that which is void of a lie and cannot tell a lie. It is sincere not just as an outward show, but true in conduct, upright, honest, the real or genuine, that which is unhidden, that which is not a secret, true in itself.The Bible says, God’s Word is truth, the Spirit is Truth, and Jesus is both the Word and Truth.
“Honest” also means “noble” and is that which is “dignified.” That which is “derived from a higher citizenship.” That which is awe-inspiring. That which leads one to worship.
“Just” also means “righteous,” and is the “…Conformity to the will and nature of God Himself.” Thus the righteous are “those who have conditioned their lives by the standard which is not theirs, but God’s.” It comes from inside but is seen on the outside, and has much to do with doing good for others.
“Pure” means pure, and is that which is innocent and blameless, modest, perfect and holy.
To be “lovely” means to be “Dear to someone, beloved.” And comes from two words, one meaning face to face and the other meaning friend or someone dear or with whom you have things in common.
“Good report” means to be “well-spoken of, of good report, praiseworthy, laudable.”
“If there be any…” is a special kind of clause called an “if…then” clause. Thus, it could read, “if there be any virtue…then think on it.”
“Virtue” means that which is “pleasing to God, or the superiority of God revealed in the work of salvation…denotes in a moral sense what gives man his worth, his efficiency…moral excellency, perfection, goodness of action.”
“Praise” means just that, “That which is praiseworthy.”
“Think on” means “to occupy oneself with reckonings or calculations.” “To value or esteem.” “Take an inventory” of such things, “mediate” on them. Feel free to go over them and over them and over them and over them, because they are counted worthy of your thoughts, your time, your mind.
“Finally [from this time on], brethren, whatsoever things are true [innately true, like God’s Word], whatsoever things are honest [inspires us to worship], whatsoever things are just [God’s standard of good and doing good], whatsoever things are pure [innocent and holy], whatsoever things are lovely [dearly beloved with whom you have things in common], whatsoever things are of good report [well-spoken of]; if there be any virtue [that which is pleasing to God], and if there be any praise [praiseworthy], [then] think [reckon these thoughts as worthy to occupy your mind with and meditate upon over and over again] on these things.”
What we think about is important, because Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Matthew 12:34. In our modern English we think of heart and mind as separate entities, but in Hebrew the mind and heart are inseparably the same, and in Greek the word here in Matthew 12 for heart, Kardia, actually means “the heart, the mind…,” “thoughts and feelings,” “the affective center of our being…our desire-decisions that establish who we really are” (https://biblehub.com/greek/2588.htm). Even physically the mind and heart are interconnected, and our physical heart “is not just a pump; it also acts like a mini brain. [For,] Science demonstrates that your heart has its own independent nervous system…Science is discovering that your heart’s brain is a real “intelligent force” behind the intuitive thoughts and feelings you experience.” (Who Switched Off My Brain, book by Caroline Leaf, pg 71).
The Washing of the Word
Now, since what we think about is so important, and God has listed 8 things we are to think about, how do we know what is true or worshipful or holy or good news or what pleases God? How can we know what to think about unless we know what those things really are?
Ephesians 5:25b-27 helps us to better know the source of this information. “…as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;26 That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word,27 That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” We are cleansed and made holy as the Spirit of God leads us into all truth (John 16:13), and God’s word is the truth (John 17:17, 20:31), Jesus is the word (John 1) and the truth (John 14:6). According to 1 Thessalonians 2:13,“…when ye [the Thessalonians] received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
Not only is God’s Word Truth itself, but if we are in the Word it “effectually worketh” in us. “Effectually worketh” is the same term used of Elijah’s prayers in James 5:16, when it says that the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much. The term “effectual” means not merely to work, but pictures an electrical current that “energizes” a wire, which in turn, causes a lightbulb to switch on (https://biblehub.com/greek/1754.htm). It is via God’s Word of Truth that He sanctifies us, makes us holy.
Furthermore, God’s Word expounds on that which pleases God and transforms and renews us. As Romans 12:1-2 says,“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.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.”
Thus, God’s word enlightens us as to what God’s will is, what God wants, what God expects, what God desires us to be thinking about. And the more we think on His Word the more our thinking changes from that of the world’s standards and to that of God’s standards. It transforms us, and the term “transforms” us is incredibly powerful. It means to metamorphis or transfigure (https://biblehub.com/greek/3339.htm). We’ve heard that word before in the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, when His body glowed with light.
What is transfiguring us? The renewing of our minds. What makes our minds new? God’s Word. We are no longer to be conformed to this world, because instead we are to be “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29). We are to be metamorphosed, transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), via a new mind attained through the washing of the Word.
Conclusion: Jesus is the Word
On top of this, Jesus was the “word” made flesh who dwelt among us. So, even as the word is holy and worthy of our thoughts and thus transforms our minds, Jesus who is the word itself is ultimately to be the focus of our thought life — especially now as the days grow darker and His return draws near. We are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Evil is working extra hard to steal, kill, and destroy, especially through deception right now. Remember, deception is the greatest Last Days’ threat. Thus, we are to all the more keep our eyes and minds on Him, even as He said in Luke 21:28, that when we begin to see these things (like we are) come to pass, we are to lift up our heads/eyes, for our redemption is drawing near! As we do so, He will indeed keep us in perfect peace.
No matter what may come, keep looking up, keep your minds on Jesus and what He said. Let’s live it. Let’s encourage others with it. Let’s love others to Jesus, and love others in Jesus. He’s is coming soon. Let’s be ready!
Other Jehovah Shalom Articles:
“Jehovah Shalom: What is Our Focus?” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/jehovah-shalom-what-is-our-focus/
“Jehovah Shalom: Peace in Spite of Our Circumstances,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/23/jehovah-shalom-peace-in-spite-of-our-circumstances/
“Jehovah Shalom: Do Not Be Anxious,” (Puzzle Piece #1) https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/jehovah-shalom-do-not-be-anxious/
“Jehovah Shalom: Abiding in Christ,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/jehovah-shalom-abiding-in-christ/
“Jehovah Shalom: Thankful Prayer,” (puzzle piece #2), https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/jehovah-shalom-thankful-prayer/
“Jehovah Shalom: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/jehovah-shalom-turn-your-eyes-upon-jesus/
“Jehovah Shalom: Think on These Things,” (puzzle piece #3), https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/jehovah-shalom-think-on-these-things/
Part 8: (Puzzle Piece #4)
Other Possible Articles of Interest:
“The Time Is At Hand: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/07/15/the-time-is-at-hand-turn-your-eyes-upon-jesus/
“At Home In Christ,” https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/09/09/at-home-in-christ/