Philippians Part Two: Dive
The Bible calls us to a higher level of living and thinking and an impossible level without the help of the Holy Spirit. We discovered in our snapshot this week that Paul wrote Philippians to give the church examples to follow and to reject. One of the main examples is found in the Christ hymn of Philippians 2:1-11 which we will study later in this Dive.
Firstly, I want to have a look at the topic of the mind found in Philippians. Why would Paul address the mind in the book of Philippians? Paul was big on renewing your mind, he was big on believers having a different way of thinking. When you get saved one of the first things you need to do is renew your thoughts, this is the make or break of every life. If you keep your ‘stinking thinking’ you will remain in the past, if you renew your mind and change the way you think this will change your life. The best way to do this is to read your Word, let the Bible fill your thoughts and be your standard of truth.
Paul is under house arrest, so his mind is very important. I have read that for those who are elderly or sick, once someone loses hope in their thoughts and they believe that their life is over it won’t be long before the body responds to that thought and complies with their wishes. Paul knows that he has to keep hope in his thoughts and mind otherwise it will be hard to beat discouragement and his circumstances will overtake him.
Open your Bibles to Philippians 4:8-9, let’s do a quick study.
Finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is honourable, 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. What you have learned, and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Why am I so passionate about you reading your Bible book by book, let me show you in this verse above. Everyone wants the last section “the God of peace will be with you” right? Some people do everything they can to get peace and it doesn’t always work, they meditate, take yoga classes, they go on Peace retreats. But if you leave this promise in context there are some things you need to do to get this peace.
See the promise starts with an ‘and’ - ‘and the God of peace will be with you’ it is connected to the first part of the sentence which is connected to the verse before that, which is connected to the chapter, which is connected to the book of Philippians. The promises of the Bible come in the context of the whole Bible. If you want the promises you have to take the whole Bible with it. Confused, let me explain myself. The key to getting the God of peace with you is found in the verses before. Look at verse 4:8 whatever is true… think about these things. Getting control over your thoughts, what you focus on, what you are meditating on, what your mind is filled with and filling your mind with true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, praiseworthy and commendable things results in you having the peace of God. You can’t have the peace of God if you choose to fill your mind with negative, bitter, offensive and impure thoughts.
I hear some people say, I can’t find the peace of God, let me ask you what are you filling your mind with? Are you filling your mind with good things, worship, the Word of God, preaching, etc? Now let me balance this out I am not saying that if you watch a bad movie the peace of God will leave, don’t go legalistic on me now! But if 90% of your thoughts are on negative things during the week and you only get a God does on Sundays, you can’t expect that one sermon to consume your thoughts to change your thinking and your emotions. When you are reading your Bible, you are filling your mind with good things and that focus will result in the peace of God coming into your life. When you worship and focus on how amazing and incredible God is, it fills your mind with God’s glory and goodness and the peace of God inhabit your praise. Now sometimes we can’t help bad circumstances overtaking our lives but we can help what we invest our thoughts into when we are in those bad circumstances. Look at Paul under house arrest, he fills his mind with praise and purpose. When Paul and Silas were in the prison they filled their hearts with praise and God changed their circumstances to reflect the freedom in their heart. He set them free because in their minds they were already free indeed!
So this week focus on things that are noble, the goodness of God, God’s glory and his worship. Don’t let your thoughts be consumed by your circumstances, as you focus on the good and praiseworthy things, your circumstances will change to meet your thoughts! Praise until your circumstances change!