There are many who resolve to make life changes on New Years Day then fail within the first week to keep them. I used to be among those people. I no longer do this. Instead, I choose and memorize a scripture that will guide me through the year ahead. Often, during the selection, I am led by life circumstances to the one I will need. This year’s selection is Philippians 4:8.
Think on whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy, and good.
What is true? Is it something that has been scientifically proven? Perhaps. Real truth is in the Word. The more familiar we are with the Bible and what God says there the more we are able to deal with truth in life on an every day basis.
What is honest? Integrity is the character trait I desire to be remembered for. It is so important that we model a life style of no hidden agendas. One of the problems I had as an elementary principal was children and adults lying. There seems to be a cultural decline in this area based on the models we have around us. The attitude of many politicians, actors and actresses, and those involved in sports is – – ‘if I don’t get caught there isn’t a problem until I do’. Oh my friends, teach your children well as the old song says.
What is just? This legal term is about judging what is right and wrong. We need to be constantly aware of what we say and do and keep it under the umbrella of fair and righteous (making right choices).
What is pure? A life that is pure filters itself in ‘the fire’. Like melting gold or other precious metals what floats to the top or sinks to the bottom is the impurity in the metal. What is left is the pure and real thing.
What is lovely? We have such a ‘thing’ in our culture for beauty. We place body image, age, monetary worth and a long list of other things in this category. For me, thinking on what is lovely has more to do with reality than culture. When I see a handicapped person or one bent with age or one extremely ill I wonder what life circumstance put them in this position. True loveliness is the life that is and has looked upon the face of Jesus and now reflects that on the world around them.
What is virtuous? This word can also be translated as moral excellence or goodness. This is not a fluff word because it can also be used to speak of strength. Morality is personal to each of us. It is how we filter all the stuff that enters our mind. Do we have the strength of character to dwell on that which is good and forget the rest?
What is praiseworthy? Some of my day is spent thinking on the people and events around me. Too often these thoughts lead to others and I’m entering the mindset of negativity. That is where this verse and many others come in. As soon as I go there I start mentally reciting verses that will bring me back to reality and a more positive frame of mind. Deliberately having praise in the heart helps offset the negativity that creeps in.
What is good? It is about the things we do for others. It is about seeing a need and doing something about it. It is about genuinely wanting what is best for those around us.
Let me close with this…I once heard a speaker say that people are thinking less about us and more about themselves. When I get into a mindset of what is that person thinking of me I remember that 75% of the time they’re really thinking of themselves.
Father in heaven, Mighty, Holy, and Just God, my Counselor and Savior hear my prayer in the Precious Name of Jesus. Forgive the times I start thinking of the negativity and meanness around me. Grant me the joy of seeing the world through Your eyes of love. Let me live each day basking in Your love and sharing it with others. Amen and make it so.