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Devotional - week of May 14, 2006


guidance for meditation

 

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.  Philippians 4:8

 

Paul wrote in the previous verses that the peace of God would guard the hearts and minds of the readers through their prayers with thanksgiving. It seems as if Paul is relating the phrase “guarding of the “mind” in verse seven to the meditations in verse eight.

 

The word “Finally”, that begins verse eight, is translated a number of ways in the New Testament. One of those translations is the word “now”. This is an excellent translation for Philippians 4:8. As peace guards the mind through prayer with thanksgiving, the readers will participate in their peace of mind through correct meditation.

 

Notice that every theme for meditation that Paul mentions is positive: things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Paul excludes all negative thinking.

 

In Philippians 3:13 Paul wrote of his “… forgetting those things which are behind …” There is a strong tie between Paul’s “forgetting the past” and his command to meditate on things positive. Much of our meditation about our past concerns the negatives of life rather than the positives.

 

In John 16:13-14, Jesus says that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will teach believers things about the Father and the Son. Is there any harmony between Jesus’ statement about our meditation and Paul’s? There is! Much of Philippians 4:8 is a description of God the Father and God the Son and the blessings they have given us.

 

The best way for us to live out the statement of Philippians 4:8 is to continue to receive the filling of the Holy Spirit—which we do when we live out our union with Christ.

 

In Romans 8:5-6 Paul writes that “those who live according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit.” He then adds that … to be … spiritually minded is life and peace.