Philippians 4:8, 9
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 these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
So much of our lack of peace is the result of wrong thinking. We focus our minds on the things that discourage us instead of the things that encourage us. We think of things that lead us away from God instead of things that draw us nearer to him.
The Importance of Spiritual Thinking
We become what we think (Proverbs 23:7). If we harbor fearful thoughts, no wonder if we develop fearful personalities! We are literally transformed by the thoughts we habitually think of.
That is why the Bible teaches that if we want our lives to be transformed we have to begin with the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23). We have to think right!
The Objects of Spiritual Thinking
Instead of explaining what are these things that are true, just, pure, etc. that we should meditate on, let me just give you an example of an object – actually a Person – that is true, just, pure and lovely. He is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the truth (John 14:6); he is the righteous one (1 John 2:2); he is pure (1 Peter 1:19); he is altogether lovely (Song of Songs 5:1); and he is absolutely praiseworthy (Revelation 5:12). To meditate on his person, on his character, on his works, on his love, on his heart is to be transformed into his image. That’s what 2 Corinthians 3: 18 teaches:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
But where do we “behold” the image of Christ? In his Word, the Bible. When we meditate on Christ in his Word, the Holy Spirit begins to work in our hearts and minds so that more and more we reflect the character of Christ in our own lives.
Interestingly, God’s Word is described as being perfect, sure, right and pure. This description fits in with our text. To meditate on God’s Word therefore is to think of the things that are true, pure and excellent. We should do this day and night if we want our lives to be changed for the better (Psalm 1:1-3).
The Application of Spiritual Thinking
It’s not enough to simply think heavenly thoughts; we have to put them into practice if we really want to be transformed. Listen to what James says in James 1:22-25:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
The Results of Spiritual Thinking and Doing
We’ve already mentioned that one result of spiritual thinking is transformation into Christ’s image (2 Cor. 3:18).
But another result of spiritual thinking – coupled with doing – is “The God of peace will be with you.” God’s presence and peace will be more real to us (John 14:23) when we not only hear but also heed his Word. On the other hand, wrong thinking and wrong doing causes God to hide his face from us (Isa. 59:2). No wonder then if we don’t experience his peace!
What do we often think about? Are we doers also or hearers only?