Monday, January 26, 2009

If anything is excellent or praiseworthy...

The final two words describing things we should fix our minds on (Phil. 4:8) are "excellent" and "praiseworthy." These underscore other words on the list - excellent is defined as "extremely good, outstanding" and praiseworthy as "deserving approval or admiration." Taken as a whole, these words paint a picture of a mind focused in such a positive direction - true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.

I have contemplated these things and studied these words and still find the natural leaning of my mind to be nowhere near this ideal. I'm more inclined (still) to worry, to stew, to think negative thoughts (mostly about myself, which makes me just as self-absorbed as a conceited person).

But in the learning, in the meditation, I can see some progress - a growing awareness of the need to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corintians 2:5). When the worry crops up, if nothing else I can repeat Phil. 4:6-7, present my requests to God - with thanksgiving - and expect His peace, which is beyond my understanding. When a negative thought comes up, I can remind myself to think instead about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Ultimately, success in this area has less to do with my "ability" to focus my mind and everything to do with the worthiness of the One on whom my mind is fixed.

"You will guard him and keep him
in perfect and constant peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he commits himself to You,
leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."
Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified Bible)

Think about such things...


Melinda said...

Leslie! How fun to meet you and find we have so much in common! :o)

Thanks for stopping by and blessing me!


darkness said...

Have you ever thought about why Paul says IF here? This has always bothered me.