Phil 4:8 (NKJV) 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.
Paul admonishes us in Philippians 4:8 to meditate on “whatever things are true.”
The Greek word used in this verse is alethes and is defined as “2. loving the truth, speaking the truth, truthful,” which seems to me is very directed around my words – those words I think and those I speak. Hopefully they are always in that order (think then speak) and hopefully some of the words I think don’t ever make it to the “spoken” category!
I’m reminded of the words of Jesus…
Luke 6:45 (NKJV)
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Webster’s Dictionary defines “true” as:
So what’s in my heart? If I take a peek inside, do I find those characteristics that line up with Webster’s definition of steadfast, loyal, honest, just, ideal, essential, and consistent? Does that describe what’s going on in my heart?
Are the words I speak – I’m supposed meditate on them first – in accordance with the actual state of affairs?
Do I make any assumptions? Am I speaking from first hand knowledge and not “something I heard” or am I filling in the blanks as I go?
Can I factually verify what I say (and meditate on)?
In Joshua 22:10-34 the tribes of Israel were really quick to judge the tribes of Ruben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh for building an altar. Israel didn’t get the facts first. They thought those two and a half tribes were building the altar in order to sacrifice there and the rest of Israel took up an offense because the LORD had strictly commanded ALL of Israel to worship where He had established the tabernacle.
In reality, the tribes of Ruben, Gad and half-tribe of Manasseh, which were separated from the rest of Israel by the Jordan, didn’t want future generations to be accused of not being part of Israel, so they built an altar in that place as a remembrance – a memorial – a tribute to their lineage and heritage for future generations.
It’s so important for me to “get the facts” before I make assumptions, before I take up an offense – even a holy offense.
Usually, when I take up an offense, even a holy offense, it is based and rooted in some sort of selfish motive, ultimately. It may take me a little digging to uncover that motive, but most of the time Father reveals the wickedness in my own heart as only He can (Jer 17:9), even when I think it’s justified. I often don’t really have to look very hard at all to see how I personally benefit from my perceived resolution of the offense I’ve taken up.
Even notice the phrase, “… take up an offense…”. No one can put and offense on me; no one can give me an offense; I have to take it. I have to pick it up. I have to carry it. “I… I… I…” – that is an amazing indicator of a selfish, prideful attitude somewhere in the mix.
“… whatever things are true…” That’s a pretty good filter for what I choose to meditate on today.
…Running After Papa (and renewing my mind)