“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
We must be encouraged daily to take captive our thoughts in obedience to Christ. The natural mind is prone to wander and to entertain thoughts, ideas, and imaginations which would tend against the holiness and righteousness of God. Therefore, as Paul concludes his letter to the Church at Philippi, he entreats them towards a kind of thinking, a meditating on the things of God, things which are true, and noble, and just. Things which are pure and praiseworthy. Things which are lovely and of good report that even the smallest inkling a believer might have, has the potential to be pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. Take this verse to heart and meditate on these things.
“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.”
~ Psalm 86:11-12
There are many spiritual benefits to growing in grace. Here the Psalmist petitions Jehovah in this prayer to teach him in the way of the Lord. The Psalm’s author desires to learn, to grow, and be fed from the bounty of his Master’s table in the ways of God. The benefits and blessings of learning the Lord’s ways are manifold in these verses.
In this passage, the word “teach” in the original literally means “to point or shoot” in a particular direction. The Psalmist aspires to be nudged or even pushed in the direction of the ways of the Lord that he might walk, or live, in God’s truth. He is seeking the blessings of the narrow path of God’s righteous ways that his words and deeds might align with that of his Lord’s will.
More in particular, David longs for a uniting or joining of his heart with the Lord that he might revere God’s name; that his heart would be inclined to worship, honor and obey the Lord. Through the Lord’s teaching of David, springs forth praise for God and ultimately the glorifying of the name of David’s covenant-keeping God.
Believers should not see their Christian education as merely a way to gain head-knowledge. God’s instruction to us is always moral in nature. It is intended to “push” the believer towards holy living, in being more Christ-like. David understood his prayer for God to teach him His ways as a means to an end. The end being to glorify God’s name forevermore.
Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, may my growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ cause me to forever break out in worship and praise of His glorious name. In Jesus’ name, amen.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
~ John 1:1-14
Prayer Life Pause: Father, help me to receive and embrace Christ as my Light that He might shine through me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of the mind with His truth, the purifying of the imagination by His beauty, the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to His purpose.
~ William Temple (1881-1944)
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel~ Colossians 1:3-5 (NKJV)
Paul continues his greeting to the Christians at Colossae by acknowledging his thanks for God’s sovereign work of salvation and His precious gift of faith in Christ Jesus that has spread among them. The Apostle, verse 4, especially recognizes these believers for their love for all the saints. Their affection for fellow disciples of the Lord Jesus appears to have been well-known for Paul and Timothy to have heard of it from afar. Oh that more true Christians today would have their reputation for love precede them in their dealings with others!
And yet though these faithful Colossians were known for their exceeding earthly good, verse 5, Paul commends them for keeping their hope and gaze fixed upon the marvelous glory which was laid up and awaited them in heaven itself. For heaven, the place of unfettered communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, is truly the eternal prize and most precious blessing of those who trust in Him! Believers are but pilgrims and strangers here on earth. We know this is not our home, we are but passing through. And like the Colossians, we lay our everlasting hope above.
Finally, at the end of verse 5, we find the cornerstone and foundation for the faith, love and hope of the saints dwelling in Colossae, it is the “the word of truth of the gospel” which they had heard, believed and embraced. Wherever true Christianity will be found, it will be accompanied by the words of truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There will be sound doctrine and godly teaching which humbles man and exalts Christ! Though without the words of truth as they pertain to the Gospel, a form of religion might be found, it will most assuredly lack the essential, saving, and effectual substance that is the fruit of the glorious words of truth.
A vibrant living faith is rooted in sound doctrine and godly Scriptural teaching. The blessings of a deep faith in Christ, an abiding love for God and others and the secure hope of your place in heaven are a consequence of being washed in the words of truth. Paul praises these qualities among the believers at Colossae. The Apostle thanks God, our Father, for these beautiful spiritual favors present among these saints. May we too seek the characteristics of faith, hope and love in our lives and thank God when He is pleased to grant them to us as well.
“I am… the Truth”~ John 14:6
The influence of a Modern, and more recently, a Post Modern worldview places a premium on the relative nature of truth. According to those who embrace Post Modernism, truth is largely a particular construct of the individual based on their immediate circumstances. So that, what may be true one moment and in one context, may cease being true in the next. Both Modernism and Post Modernism came about as a result of the Enlightenment and was a product of the 17th & 18th century Age of Reason. Consequently, this shift from objective to subjective truth has adversely effected the faith of many Christians and has lead to a rapid decline in the belief of moral absolutes and an objective standard for truth.
For example, men like Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) who was an ordained Episcopal priest, theologian, educator, and author developed a concept known as “situational ethics” whereby the ethical nature of an act gives more consideration to such things as private ideals, individualistic values, and personal interests over and above transcendent, absolute, moral standards. Another 20th century theologian, Lutheran professor Karl Bultmann (1884-1976) promoted the philosophy of existentialism, again advocating for a strong emphasis on the immediacy of how one’s own experiences shape their beliefs about life, faith, and truth.
As a result, this moral relativism has spread, not only throughout society at large, but it has sadly taken root in the Church. We judge truth rather than truth judging us. There is a battle for defining truth. Many Christians now look more to their own personal experience for what they believe or “feel” is true rather than trusting the objective standard of Holy Scripture. Yet, it is in the Bible where we read Jesus’ powerful testimony about Himself – He is the Truth! Truth is not found in private meditation or personal reflection, truth is found in Jesus Christ alone. Christians ought not to look inward for truth, but outward and upward. Look to Jesus. That which is truth will always accord with what God and His Son has revealed to us, not what we can find delving into the depravity of our own sin-darkened hearts.
Therefore, if we find ourselves trusting too much in the “wisdom of men” or in “leaning on our own understanding”, let us repent and remember: truth is in a person, that person just isn’t ourself – it is the Lord Jesus Christ. The One who declared two thousand years ago:
“I am… the Truth”.
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal truthfully are His delight. ~ Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV)
Christians should be known for their honesty. We ought to be a trustworthy people. In a day and age where a person’s word doesn’t mean much, where lying lips are too often the norm, the believer’s truthful dealings with his fellow man can stand out as a refreshing testimony for Christ. Delight your Lord dear friend, by dealing sincerely and truthfully in all that you do.