Dwelling on great thoughts


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“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 worth of praise, dwell on these things.” — Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

This Paul’s missive to the church at Philippi focused on the essence of entertaining great thoughts. Throughout this epistle, Apostle Paul of Tarsus compels Philippians to think of themselves as citizens of Heaven: to be rife with joy, to be replete and complete with humility. The man of God admonished them not to have a complaining attitude. Elsewhere, in Colossians 3:2, Paul pens these wonderful words, “Set your mind in the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (NASB)

In doing a word study on ‘dwell’, I found out that the Greek word ‘logizomai’ (translated ‘dwell in Phil. 4:8) is not a casual word. It means — to deduce, to reason, to calculate, to ponder, to deliberate, to subject to protracted analysis or thought.

It is thinking about a matter long enough in order to take into account its character. To realize its implications for your life. Paul is telling believers that whatever is characterized by these precious pious qualities is worth active meditation. Concisely, he is encouraging them on one great thing: to entertain great thoughts. Let us dig deeper.

Whatever is true

Think of things that conform to reality. Before you put something into your mortal mind, ask yourself: Is this true?

Whatever is honorable

This word also means worthy of respect. It focuses on those things that reflect the serious purpose of a believer’s life. Before you engage in anything, ask yourself this big question: Does this thing honor God, and reflect His purpose for my life?

Whatever is right

We talk of justice and fairness. In the New Testament, it refers to the character and actions of the Father and of Jesus Christ. It is a pretty picture of duty. Before you spend time thinking about something, the one-billion-dollar question should be: Is it right or wrong?

Whatever is pure

It comes from the same word as holy, and it means to be pure from defilement of immorality. It carries the divine idea of internal integrity. Therefore, carefully ask yourself this question: Am I thinking about things that are pure and holy?

Whatever is lovely

This is now deep and didactic. It means attractive, winsome, or beautiful. It pictures things that call forth fine feelings of love, and warmth that springs deep from the heart. Always ask yourself: Is my mind filled with beauty?

Whatever is of good repute

The general sense of the word is ‘admirable’, but its literal meaning is ‘fair speaking’. In other words, this is the question that lingers: Are these thoughts fit for God’s hearing?

Anything of excellence and worthy of praise.

These last two thoughts are a summary of anything that carries moral excellence, motivates us to godly behavior, or encourages believers to walk and work with God Almighty in close proximity.

Get your thoughts right; then the emotions, behaviors, and consequences will follow.

In his heroic book titled Good to Great in God’s Eyes, Chip Ingram, suggests some of the sources of great thoughts as: gaining spiritual insights, meditating on God’s Word, and taking time to notice the beauty that is all around us. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life consists of what a man is thinking about all day.”

 Lastly, John Stott in his commentary on the book of Galatians aptly put it, “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

 © Victor Ochieng’

 The writer is an editor, author, and peripatetic speaker. vochieng.90@gmail.com. 0704420232

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