Daily Devotional 5-18-20


Lately. I’ve been awakened way too early in the morning with a flood of anxious thoughts. You know what I mean? What starts off as just one random thought suddenly multiplies into other thoughts. And the next thing you know, I’m overwhelmed with a lot of thoughts and anxiety, and I ended up waking up and just getting up. I know I’m not alone in this. The stresses of the current pandemic, I think, have put us all on edge, but how do we get control over our thought life when we’re anxious?

As a follower of Jesus, one of the first things I do is I really look at God’s Word and try to find answers to the things I’m facing in life. There’s one particular verse in Paul’s letter to the Philippians that has really been a blessing to me lately. As you know, Paul wrote this book while he was in prison, and yet amazingly, he mentions the word joy numerous times in this book, more than any other book in the Bible.

And how does he do it? I asked myself. You know, what’s the secret for his experiencing joy when his entire world is turned upside down, as pastor Bill’s been preaching on lately? But getting control over our thought life is one step in that process of experiencing joy.

Paul commands us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” So here’s the verse that’s been a blessing to m, it’s Philippians 4:8. Paul says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (NASB).

I just want to share briefly about each of these things. Paul says, whatever is true. Those are the things that are faithful, reliable, and certain.

Then he says, think on the things that are honorable. Those are the things that have high value.

Whatever is right. He means reflect on the things that have order and moral correctness.

Then whatever is pure. Those are the things that are clear without imperfection, the clearest, most pure diamond you can imagine.

And then he says, whatever is lovely. This really resonates with me as a musician artist because Paul wants us to develop an appreciation for the aesthetic things in life that inspire beauty and affection and elevate the human spirit. For some of us that might be music. It could be reading a good book. It could be stepping outside and enjoying the things of nature, whatever that might be. Think of the things that are lovely.

Then he says, whatever is of good repute. That is considered the things that high of high estimation and good character.

Then he says if there’s any excellence. That’s surpassing goodness and utmost superiority.

And if anything worthy of praise. These are the things that deserve merit and affirmation.

Dwell on these things. Focus on these things. It’s the type of thing that I think requires discipline and intentionality in our daily life to pause and just reflect on some of the things around us that are high quality. So Paul, when he says, dwell on these things, that means take these things to heart in order to determine our conduct accordingly.

Would you pray with me?

Heavenly Father, we worship you as the source of every good thing in our lives, all that we need in this life, and then next is provided for you by you. Thank you. And every perfect gift is from you, father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. We trust in you for our daily provisions. We glorify you for the salvation we have in Jesus, your son. Father, take our burdens, strengthen our faith. May we have the mind of Christ throughout this day for it’s in his name we pray. Amen.