Scripture Text – Philippians 4:1-9
The antidote to worry is the secure mind: “And the peace of God . . . will guard (guard like a soldier at a garrison) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When you have the secure mind, the peace of God guards you and the God of peace guides you. With that kind of protection—why worry?
If we are to conquer worry and experience the secure mind, we must meet the conditions that God has laid down. There are three we are going to discuss: right praying, right thinking, and right living.
Right Thinking – Continued
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.
Whatever is pure, lovely, and of good report.. “Pure” most likely refers to moral purity, since the people then, as now, were constantly attacked by temptations to sexual impurity (Ephesians 4:17–24; 5:8–12). Simply put, “lovely” means “beautiful, attractive.” And, “Of good report” means those things that are “worth talking about, appealing.” The believer must major on the high and noble thoughts, and not on the base thoughts of this corrupt world.
Whatever possesses virtue and praise (or is praiseworthy). If it has “virtue,” it will motivate us to do better; and if it has “praise” or is “praiseworthy” it is worth commending to others. No Christian can afford to waste “mind power” on thoughts that tear him down or that would tear others down if these thoughts were shared.
If you will compare this list to David’s description of the Word of God in Psalm 19:7–9, you will see a parallel. The Christian who fills his heart and mind with God’s Word will have a “built-in radar” for detecting wrong thoughts. Today, we refer to that as a gift from the Lord called discernment. “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” – Psalm 119:165. Right thinking is the result of not just reading the Word of God, but also meditating and reflecting upon it.
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:9.
You cannot separate outward action and inward attitude. Sin always results in unrest (unless the conscience is seared), and purity ought to result in peace. “The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” – Isaiah 32:17. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable . . .” – James 3:17. Right living is a necessary condition for experiencing the peace of God.
Paul balances four activities: “learned and received” and “heard and saw.” It is one thing to learn a truth, but quite another to receive it inwardly and make it a part of our inner man (see 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Facts in the head are not enough; we must also have truths in the heart. In Paul’s ministry, he not only taught the Word but also lived it so that his listeners could see the truth in his life. Paul’s experience ought to be our experience. We must learn the Word, receive it, hear it, and do it. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22.
The “peace of God” is one test of whether or not we are in the will of God. “And let the peace of the Messiah . . . control your hearts.” – Colossians 3:15 (HCSB). If we are walking with the Lord, then the peace of God and the God of peace exercise their influence over our hearts. Whenever we disobey, we lose that peace and we know we have done something wrong. God’s peace is the “controller” that lets us know when something is amiss!
Right praying, right thinking, and right living; these are the conditions for having the secure mind and victory over worry. As Philippians 4 is considered the “peace chapter” of the New Testament, James 4 is considered the “war chapter.” It begins with a question, “Where do wars and fights come from among you?” – James 4:1.
James explains the causes of war:
- “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss.” – James 4:3 (wrong praying).
- “Purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8 (wrong thinking).
- “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” – James 4:4 (wrong living).
There is no middle ground with God. Either we yield our heart and mind to the Spirit of God and practice right praying, thinking, and living; or we yield to the flesh and find ourselves torn apart, literally strangled by worry.
But, there is absolutely no need to worry! And, worry is a sin! (Have you read Matthew 6:24–34 lately?) With the peace of God to guard us and the God of peace to guide us – why worry?