published: Friday, March 08, 2013
Ever noticed how the word "whatever" is loosely tossed around with an accompanying shrug? Both indicate a lack of enthusiasm or desire to engage in meaningful dialogue. It's as if to say, "You decide. It doesn't really matter."
But one of my favorite Bible verses uses the word "whatever" six times accompanied by the word "things." The verse is found in Philippians 4: 8, NIV, and says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things."
"Whatever" now has positive expectation. We think upon what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good reputation, virtue and worthy of praise with determined purpose. Therefore it takes exception to accepting without regard any thought or philosophy. When we purposefully use our minds in this way, we are promised that the God of peace will be with us.
Recently, I heard each of these "whatever things" described from their root word in the Greek.
This verse is written to "brethren" meaning Paul was writing to fellow believers in Christ. When we think of "true" we will meditate on Jesus who is Truth and forsake things that are false.
Noble reminds us to ponder our relationships with one another and work toward unity in agreement.
When speaking of what is right we're to think of godly character and holiness (being set apart for God); innocence - wholly conformed to the will of God.
Pure thoughts cause us to consider our bodies; chastity, innocence ... also, of what we allow in our mind. We are to be masters of self-control in these areas through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Otherwise, yielding to tempting thoughts or actions may be small at first, but will accumulate and then strike a deadly blow 'suddenly.'
The word "lovely" denotes the affections of the heart. What is our desire? What am I preoccupied with?
When we think about something admirable, it is of good reputation; respectable. When we set our minds on those things, we then starve and forsake those that are not respectable so the respectable can bear fruit.
Excellence and being worthy of praise begs the question, "What is God doing with me and my highest potential? What things stir my heart and thoughts toward God?
Our minds awakened in this way will produce God's peace. It is a 'whatever' I want to embrace. Selah
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