“Things that are lovely and
things that are commendable.”
True, Honorable, Just and Pure are the first four things that we are to think on in our study of Philippians 4:8-9. When trouble comes and the schemes of the devil are all around and we find ourselves in a battle with spiritual forces, turn to God to change your Stinkin’ Thinkin’! This next section calls us to think on things that are Lovely and things that are Commendable. As we start to examine these characteristics, ask God to let your mind ponder what those could be for you!
Lovely (Acceptable and Pleasing)
We are next told to think on things that are “Lovely”. What does the Bible say regarding “Lovely”? How is it used and how do we think on it? Well, Strong’s Concordance defines Lovely (G4375) as “Acceptable and Pleasing”. We can certainly gain a lot of insight from what the Bible teaches us about what is acceptable and pleasing. An “acceptable and pleasing” part of Lovely is that we renew our minds and our thinking to what honors God. By asking ourselves that, we test what is from God to know that it is Lovely. (Romans 12:2) We continue to ask “Is what we are thinking about honoring Him, does it bring Him glory or does it focus on ourselves?” If it is God centered, it’s pleasing and Lovely. If it is not, we know to immediately reject that thinking and go directly to God for direction.
Questions that help us know if our Thinkin’ is Stinkin’ !
Ask yourself 3 questions:
1) Are my prayers “God-Centered”? (Psalm 62) (Psalm 16:1-2)
2) Is there un-confessed sin in my life that is allowing this thinking? (Psalm 66:18) (Bible.org Commentary) (1 John 1:9)
3) Am I hearing and responding to the Word of God in my life? (John 10:27)
As I’ve read and prayed through Psalms, it has helped me know God’s will better and has always provided the comfort and direction I’ve needed.
Eugene Peterson wrote about the Psalms in his book “Answering God”. I felt that the quote below was very helpful in my understanding the right perspective in my prayers to God. It is applicable today as it helps us relate to the questions we ask ourselves when seeking the right way to think on the things commanded by Phil 4:8.
Commendable / Good Report
We are also to think on things that are “commendable or of good report”! What does that really mean we may wonder? Used in this context in Philippians, (Strongs G2163) we see that the concordance defines the word or phrase as “things spoken in a kindly spirit, with good-will to others”. Interestingly, Commendable only appears in this context once in the Bible. Perhaps that characteristic could have a meaning we can use to apply to our thinking.
To focus on this one word “Commendable”, we can let our thoughts drift to how we respond towards others when going through trials. We must be careful to avoid the temptation to look for ways to get even or “one up” in our trials. We should know immediately that it is Stinkin’ Thinkin’. Jesus is our perfect example in how to respond to those who wish us trouble. Even as He was beaten, crucified, humiliated and was suffering a horrible death, He never lashed out towards those who were cruel to Him. Let’s follow HIS example and remember that it is God who will judge. Remember, we are called to think on how we should love those who cause us enough pain to have anger, animosity or harshness in our thinking. Read below where we see Peter pointing out what Christ did as He suffered for us.
1 Peter 2:20-23 (NKJV)
20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously..
When thinking on whatever is Lovely and whatever is Commendable, we will be filling our minds with things that inspire the worship of God Almighty. If we are in anguish, think about how we can best serve others, all to bring the praise and glory to Him. Worship Him in God-Centered prayers confessing our sin and responding to His call on our lives. Pray through the Psalms and lift Him up in your praises. Keep our thoughts on what He has done for us, not lashing out at others but praying for them and seeking ways to minister to them as Christ leads.
Thank you for sharing part of your day with me as we think together on ways to change our “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”! In our next study, we will examine what it means to think on “things of excellence” and “things that are worthy of praise”.