8 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. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
History and Context:
The church in Phillipi was one of the first churches in Europe. This means these are some of the first believers in what we now know as the "Western World". Paul visited them around 49-50 AD and then at least two more times after that in 56 and 57 AD. One of the first Christians in Phillipi was the jailer who was assigned to guard Paul and Silas (and the other prisoners) when they were thrown in prison. God used an earthquake to set them free and to convince this jailer of His reality. (Acts 16:25-34) This letter was written in response to the church sending Epaphroditus to Paul to help him in his time of need.
This is some of the final instructions of Paul to the church in Phillipi before he closes his letter. After going one of the most encouraging and challenging passages of Paul's letters in chapter 3 Paul ends talking about their thoughts. He tells them to be careful what they set their mind on. Set it on things which are pure and holy, things that are excellent and commendable. These are the things they should be focused on. He then follows up to give himself as an example as to how they should act. This is one of Paul's boldest statements which he repeats a few times throughout his letters, 'look at me and do as I do'.
Often we tend to think that our thoughts don't matter. People don't know what we are thinking so our thinking doesn't affect anyone, as long as we don't act on it. But Paul here finds our thinking important enough that he leaves it as one of the last instructions. Our thinking is the basis and the foundation for everything around us. If we are thinking wrong thoughts than we will eventually believe those thoughts and in the end we will act on them. The challenge today is to change your thinking. Change your thinking and you will change your life!
Lord, I pray that you will help me to focus on things of you. Help me to change my thinking to things of excellence and worthy of praise. Help me to purify my thinking Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen!