“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.”
After listing nine areas around which Christians should structure their thinking, Paul now commanded Euodia and Syntyche to “meditate on these things.”
“meditate on these things”
The nine objects of thought in verse eight form the attitude. If we yield to constant negative thinking, our attitude will form a direction different from God’s will. If we “meditate” on these nine areas, they will displace negative thinking.
The word “meditate” means to reckon, rightly estimate, and take account in a practical way. The idea is to give structure to the thought life: “Give continuous attention to the things listed above. Occupy your mind with the above catalog. Focus your attention on the charter of thought God sanctions.” God wants us to account for our thought life.
The greatest area of sin in our lives is not overt sin but the thought life. “Meditation” controls the thought life:
“Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Ps 1:1,2)
The word “meditate” in this psalm means to chew the cud. The idea is to ruminate about the Word of God. David likens himself to a ruminating cow. He takes a Scripture and ruminates over and over it until he can appropriate the Word to his life.
2 Corinthians 10:5 is a verse I have used more than any other to deal with wrong thoughts:
“Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Meditate on our wonderful Lord. Do not give your mind to cruel, ugly, and hateful things. If all we read is the newspaper—which is filled with murder, rape, riot, graft, robbery, conflict, and accidents—we will not structure our minds around God. If that is all we read, we fill our minds with misery.
We need to ride herd on our head. We dare not think just about anything we please. We dare not put our minds in neutral and let the world push it around. Evil thoughts waste our spiritual energies, but so do wool-gathering and daydreaming. We might dream about winning the lottery. We may dream that we will marry a tall, dark, and handsome man with money and muscles. We will probably marry a short, skinny man with warts who will grow up to be fat and bald with ulcers!! Lasso every thought unto the obedience of Christ. The more we store the Word of God in our hearts, the less room there is for the useless and vulgar.
If we put a drop of arsenic into a glass of water, the water will not dilute the arsenic. The arsenic poisons the water. Resentment poisons the spiritual life. The Word of God will displace the bitterness.
God wants us to sit in judgment on every thought that comes into our minds.
God wants us to sit in judgment on every thought that comes into our minds. If it does not pass the test of verse 8, we should reject it.
Do you have trouble with your thoughts? There are six legitimate categories about which the child of God can think. The mind will always fix itself on something. The real issue is what we will set our minds upon. If we think negatively about someone long enough, we will reach the point where we develop a sinful attitude. An attitude is harder to control than a single thought. God wants us to develop godly attitudes by habitual meditation upon God’s Word.