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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9).
For about a year now in times of prayer and petitioning God, I have been camped out at Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This passage has been a personal blessing and source of encouragement in difficult times and in understanding biblical prayer. This passage helps you and me to surrender our anxious thoughts in prayer to the Lord. We have the assurance that we can come before God and make our requests known.
What I love about this passage is that after we have prayed and thanked God, we glean from the instruction that Paul gave to the saints at the church of Philippi, we rest in the fact that as His own, His peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus in such a way that it is beyond our finite comprehension.
It is comforting to know that we can have the peace of God in the midst of life’s storms and trials, and it comes in times of prayer and trusting in God along the way, regardless of the outcome. We can be joyful in these times because of Christ.
When reading this particular passage, it hit me one day that Paul did not promise the believers in Philippi that they would get what they had asked for in prayer. In fact, we can read in Philippians 1:29 of Paul telling them that they have been granted not only a belief in Him but also suffering for His sake.
He was focusing on the importance of ultimately keeping the focus on Christ. He reassured them that after prayer and thanking God, His peace would sustain them and guard their hearts and minds in Christ. How glorious is our God and the faith He gives us to trust in Him!
Whatever Is True and Worthy of Praise
It occurred to me one day the importance of reading past this passage and on to verse eight because in times when we can be anxious and in need of praying and petitioning God, we can forget to meditate on what follows.
And what follows is a beautiful passage to ever point us in the right direction. Philippians 4:8 instructs believers to think on those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and worthy of praise.
If there is anything of excellence and worthy of praise, we are to think on these things. I would propose that we can see God in every one of these, and when we think upon the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we focus on the One who is worthy of praise and who gives us joy unspeakable.
What is true? The Word of God is truth. We can trust the Word of God and the instruction and wisdom that it holds. Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples, “Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Jesus said that those who are His disciples abide in His word and that they will know the truth, and the truth will set them free (John 8:32). We can meditate on His Word daily and delight in the truth provided by God in His Word.
As believers, we can say this back to the Lord, “Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psalm 86:11, ESV). Think on these things.
Who is honorable or noble? Who is just, pure, lovely, and commendable? God is all of these things. Jesus Christ is all of these things and so much more in attributes that testify of the Lord God Almighty and His wonderful ways.
Psalm 89:14-15 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.” We rejoice in His righteousness and justice.
God longs to be gracious to His people and to show compassion, and this is part of His justice (Isaiah 30:18). There is blessing in waiting on Him and trusting in Him. Think on these things.
God is holy and pure. There is none like our God. There is no spot or wrinkle on Him. There is no blemish, and because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, we can think on His holiness and rejoice. We can do what Psalm 96:9 (ESV) says, “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!”
The same God who is holy and pure calls us not to impurity but to holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7), and how wonderful is it that Christ Jesus has cleansed us and purified us and set us apart as holy unto Himself? Think on these things.
As believers in Christ, we long to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord as David penned in Psalm 27:4. He is altogether lovely and perfect. We look to the time when we will behold the King in His beauty. We have the beautiful promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Great Is the Lord
We have such great things to think upon when we meditate on Him and what He has done for us. He is commendable. He is praiseworthy. Psalm 96:4 says, “For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 145:3 says, “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”
We are encouraged all throughout Scripture to praise the Lord. We wait not on a feeling or an emotion because if we did that, we would rarely ever praise Him. But we praise Him through trials and triumphs.
We can rest assured that when we think upon not only what but Who is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and worthy of praise, we have thought upon things that are of excellence, and our glorious God, our merciful Savior is worth thinking upon continuously.
Bring your petitions to God with thanksgiving. Be anxious for nothing. Be encouraged that when you do, His peace will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. And after you have done this, think upon these things in Philippians 4:8, which so beautifully point us back to Him.
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Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.