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.”
Let’s review how to cooperate with the work of God that brings peace to guard our hearts:
- Rejoice in the Lord
- Be known as a gracious woman who extends grace and does not impose legalism
- Be aware of Christ’s soon coming
- Do not be anxious nor filled with anxiety about anything
- Pray and pray consistently and often
- Give thanks to God
- Tell God what you desire, no matter what it is
- Don’t be surprised when God’s peace guards your heart
Paul is at the beginning of his conclusion in his letter to the Philippians by verse 8. He begins it with “Finally”. This is a beautiful indicator that the process that we went over for the believer in Jesus regarding the anxious heart and God’s peace is sealed with one more thought. He encourages us to think. Think about these things. In the next few posts I want to breakdown these attributes that we so easily recite without care. This verse is almost like a mantra of sorts. The repetition of the “whatsoevers” or “whatevers” have a cadence that help you remember the characteristics ascribed to these “things”.
I wanted to build up to what those “things” are, but I feel the Lord leading this post in a more direct way. The Greek word hosos, meaning “whatever” is very inclusive. It means “all things whatsoever, or all that”; “how much, how great, or how many”. There are so many wonderful nouns that could be placed with the characteristics named, but why list what is obvious in the text? Does this mean we should think about rainbows because they are lovely? Or virtues and merit because they are praiseworthy? This can cause you to think the text is permitting your thinking and meditation to be subjective and relative. What if I think murder is praiseworthy? Or revenge is right or just? What if my truth does not line up with God’s word? Is it still true? God’s word is not speculative. It is concrete; it is absolute. We cannot take what we think to be true or just or commendable and attribute our own definitions. The Bible is the final authority on what life, marriage, love, justice, truth, honor, glory, grace, and “whatever” is. God created these “things” and therefore He is the One who gets to define them. The Scripture is explicit on what your mind should be set on and not be set on.
Colossians 3 says to set your mind on things above.
Philippians 3 says enemies of Christ have their minds on earthly things.
Psalms 1 says to meditate on God’s law day and night.
Romans 8 describes the mind that is set on the flesh and the Spirit.
1 Peter 1 talks of a sober mind that is focused and alert.
Now we know that all things are created by Jesus, for Jesus, and are sustained by Jesus(Col.1:16; John 1:3; Rom.11:36). We also know that these things that He made were made to His glory and our enjoyment. However they were not made to be the source of change in our lives, nor worshipped, and they definitely were not made to be thought of as a means to inner peace. They merely and greatly reflect God’s ingenuity, beauty, and perfection. They do this insofar as we observe what God allows us to as His truth, justice, honor, and love in created things, so that we worship the Creator, Jesus, who is the One who satisfies what these creations appear to do.
The primary point here is that God perfectly knows “whatever things are …”. He knows what truth is. He knows what is able to be honored. He knows what righteousness and justice are. He knows what is pure. He knows what’s lovely. He knows what is of a good report and to be commended. He knows what is excellent and He knows what is praiseworthy.
The Holy Spirit is revealing to you, as you are reading this post, that He IS all these things. His perfect character and nature in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is and always will be everything you need to meditate on in this verse.
In the next few posts, we are going to take some time to explore where these characteristics are in the Bible and what God says about Himself, you, and His many gifts.
What steps can you take this week to change your thinking to meditate on WHATEVER or WHOever is …(Philippians 4:8 fill in the blank)?