Written by Sarah Koerner
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)"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."
Has This Ever Happened To You?
This was the verse I taught from this Sunday morning to our Kindergarten - 4th graders. Do you know what my husband told me that very evening? "You're complaining a lot this week..." Talk about the plank in the eye (Matthew 7:5). My thinking was so negative that I was complaining up a storm.
I always shrivel up in confrontation and I'm sure I'm not alone there. However, this feedback was so timely with the lesson I gave students that I just had to let it soak in. My complaints were a result of my focus on all that was annoying, unfair, or wrong. This verse isn't saying that those things don't exist. There will still be tough coworkers, bills, scheduling errors, dirty dishes, an unfinished project, and yes, another election for us to focus on.
A Shift in Our Thinking
God wants us to shift our attention to what is true. Here's the truth - He is Sovereign. What is just? He who knows all and will keep His word. I could go on, but it's important that you take over this verse and fill in the gaps for your own life.
When we think about these things, our whole being falls in order. We know this to be true from Luke 6:45 "...for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Another version from The Message says: "Your true being brims over into true words and deeds." If you've ever convinced yourself that you're not "acting" or "saying" what you're really feeling, so it isn't hurting anyone - reread that verse.
Take it from me, who knew the verse and taught it, but didn't live it. I dampened the spirit of my marriage with negativity. My home had an air of grievance... who wants to live in that? Are your relationships an illustration of your true being? Does it show in your actions and words that you are focused on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise? What is overflowing from your heart into those around you? I pray it represents God's love and grace - a grace that forgives when we aren't focused or overflowing truth.