Setting Our Minds on the Right Things

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Can you rejoice and cry tears of sorrow at the same time? Yes! Because rejoicing in the Lord is not necessarily a feeling, but it is a choice no matter how one feels at the moment. It is a choice to take joy in the Lord and in his sovereignty over our lives regardless of what is going on in our lives. It is a choice to recognize and to take joy (delight) in his grace even in very difficult circumstances. So tears can stream down our cheeks while a smile is on our face because even through the tears we can take delight in our Lord.

The word translated here as “reasonableness” may also be translated as “gentleness,” but the meaning is still the same. For it means to be fair, equitable, impartial and just, as well as to have sound judgment. And reasonable has with it being sensible, rational and evenhanded. And being fair means in accordance with the rules or standards. And it also means to be honest and free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. So we should treat others sensibly, with fairness, in honesty, and free from partiality.

And we who trust Jesus with our lives are not to be anxious (worried, fearful) about anything. Now this is not saying that there are not going to be things, people, and situations in our lives which are troublesome, or dangerous, or without warrant of concern. There certainly will be. But we are to turn these situations and people and things back over to the Lord in prayer, and we are to trust in God’s sovereignty over our lives and believe that God is absolutely in control over all things and that he has a plan.

But we can also pray for help, guidance, wisdom, and strength to endure unjust suffering and the trials of this life. And we can pray for our persecutors and for those who reject us without cause. We can pray and ask the Lord to teach us what we need to learn through our difficulties, and that he would continue to mold us into his likeness. And we can pray that we will have Christlike attitudes about other people and our difficult circumstances. And then we need to let the Lord change us into who he wants us to be.

When we refuse to be afraid and anxious over our difficult circumstances, and when we choose to trust Jesus Christ in all things, instead, and to humble ourselves before him, and to listen to him, and to grow and to learn from what we are experiencing, the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and we will be able to rest in knowing that God is absolutely in control over all things and that he is working all things for good for us who love (obey) him.

Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, 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.”

These are the kinds of things we are to let our minds dwell upon rather than having our minds be occupied with fear and with the mindset and things of this sinful world. And the first thing mentioned is what is true (honest, real, not fake, not deceptive). But just because it is true doesn’t mean it is something we should be thinking about. So yes, let our minds dwell on what is honest and trustworthy and not on lies and deceptions, but let them also be things which are pure and honorable and wholesome and not sordid.

So, what is honorable? It is what is honest, moral, ethical, and righteous, and it is a person’s character which is not tarnished or sullied by deceit. But the word in the Greek also means grave, serious, and dignified. And it means to be reverent. It is also characterized by integrity which has to do with being honest and having strong moral principles and moral uprightness. And a person with integrity is not fake, but he is who he says he is no matter who he is with or whatever the circumstances may be.

And our minds are to think on what is pure. And pure means to not be mixed with other things. It means to not be adulterated. Like the pure word of God is what the Scriptures teach in their context and the true intended meaning of them and not what has been altered and twisted to appease human flesh. But pure also means to be holy, i.e. unlike and different and separate from the world of sin because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. For it means to not be mixed with sin and lies and corruption, too.

Basically, this goes along with the passage of Scripture which teaches us to set our minds on things above and not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2), and with the passage which teaches that we are not to set our minds on the things of our sinful flesh but we are to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. For, to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:1-8).

The Apostle Paul was a godly man, a man of integrity, who walked the walk and who did not just talk it. And he set the proper example for the Christians to follow as to how they ought to walk to be pleasing to God. He was not a man “struggling” with (regularly giving in to) sin, as some suppose, for if he was he could not have done and said the things that he did and said, especially regarding that we should follow his example in practice in our own lives. Thus, we are to practice godliness and integrity and holy living.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

The Sands of Time are Sinking
a.k.a. Immanuel’s Land

by Anne R. Cousin, 1857

The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—
The fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted
More deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil is seen:
It were a well spent journey,
Though seven deaths lay between:
The Lamb with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory—glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my king of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.

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