“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
This is one of my favorite encouragements throughout all of the Bible…
The Apostle Paul is writing to a church that he dearly loves during a tumultuous time; a time where his friends and fellow followers of The Way are being challenged in their faith and in their lives. The churrch in Philippi is having to confront the difficulties of this world – you know ’em – finances, relationships, work, priorities, health, what to believe, and more.
Instead of focusing on all of the negativity surrounding the early church, Paul admonishes his friends to change their perspectives. Instead of focusing on the crapy things this side of heaven, people are encouraged to re-align their thinking and place a focal emphasis on the good in things.
What about the church today?
What about you? Which perspective do you come at things from?
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not suggesting that we all throw reality to the wind and live in a fanciful world of irrational thoughts and unrealistic expectations. On the contrary. What I am suggesting is that we begin to shift our way of thinking about the things of this life and seek the positive in each position.
Are you working through financial strain? Consider the fact that what you “don’t have” is likely greater than what most of the rest of world has. Make sense? Okay…let me elaborate. What I’m getting at is that we, in western civilization, have freedom, access to food, clean water, quality education and are able to seek out most anything that we want in life, in relationships, in finances and more. Yet what we often focus on is not what we have; instead, we look at what others have and with envy, we focus on the subsequent negatives of what we feel entitled to or wish we had. Considering most of the rest of the world experiences absolute poverty each and every day, it leads me to believe that what most of what we don’t have is more than they’ll ever have. We ought to consider how blessed we are to have the things that we have and should consider ways in which we can share what we have with others.
What about church? Do you ever find yourself sitting in church frustrated that the “music” isn’t traditional enough or contemporary enough or fast enough or slow enough or…or…or…? And let’s not forget the pastor. If he/she would only preach more old school, you know…good ‘ol fashioned Bible teaching and not all of the fluff and stuff, church would be much better. What’s worse is when people who come to church and sit in my seat. Rude!
What would church look like if we sought the good in it; that it is the Bride of Christ, not a building and that the church service IS NOT ABOUT YOU! What? Don’t be silly! If church isn’t about me, my spiritual growth and “getting fed”, than what’s it all about?
Considering Paul’s words in Philippians 4:8, I would suggest to you that we recognize that we are free to worship God without fear of arrest or persecution in a free country. I would love for people to see that beauty in the tapestry of each person in the church, created in the image of God, and the fact that God loves each one just as we are but isn’t willing to leave us that way. Praise God for the opportunity and ability to use music as an expression of worship. Praise God for the gift of preaching used to instruct, correct and encourage. Praise God for that person sitting in your seat. Praise God church isn’t about you or me, but that it’s about the body of Christ coming together to love God, love people and light the world.
These thoughts really aren’t about your finances or your perspective of your church. I simply apply them as a means to help understand the shift in thinking that we’re called to. It applies at your place of employment, in your marriage, with your kiddos, during yard work, serving your neighbor and in everything that you do and experience.
Paul gives the church a lot to think about and brings it full circle by encouraging his disciples to consider how they are internally processing their circumstances and situations.
I wonder how much different our world’s would be if we changed our way of looking at things, took God’s Word litteraly and found the good in the things that we face each day?
A gentle rant from a humbled disciple