There is a scripture from the newer testament in the Bible that I have come back to over and over throughout my life. It is an encouraging portion of a letter Paul wrote to the people who were following Jesus in Philippi. These folks must have had anxiety a lot like we have anxiety today. And Paul writes about a solution to their anxiety that I think is still completely on point for us today over 2,000 years after the letter was penned.
Everyone in our culture is touched by anxiety in some way and now that we’re in a global pandemic we have a shared anxiety that is completely unavoidable (at least now every human on the planet has something in common now).
I’m writing a series on this scripture (Philippians 4:6-9) unpacking it over a few weeks. I hope it speaks to you in some way and gives you maybe just the right word at just the right time. I have often focused on the first two verses, even have them memorized. What I have yet to memorize or focus more on is verses 8 and 9. And actually these are the verses that I should have spent more time on because they are all about setting/focusing our mind on good, positive things.
We live in a time where negativity is a disease in our culture. Our country (and world) has become entrenched in cynicism and negativity that have created division and kept it alive. The following verses are all about setting our focus on “whatever things” are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. These are 8 areas we can choose to focus on and the promised result will be PEACE. Maybe not world peace but peace within our souls that would actually have a positive impact on world peace.
Future blogs will unpack these 8 areas and what they mean for us today. Feel free to send me your thoughts about this scripture as that will certainly help me deliver it back to everyone with a better perspective. I think the western Christian church has avoided meditation because of fear of the unknown. We choose and develop rituals because they feel safer. Meditation can feel a bit too esoteric or unable to control like many other rituals. I was never taught or encouraged to meditate and now there are so many studies that show meditation to be good for our brains and overall mental and physical health. I believe meditation is a tool given to us by God and we can learn to use it more. I know I want to learn more about it and I hope you do too. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more. And please, please share my blog with others and encourage your friends to join this community. The link to share with your friends is https://mailchi.mp/b3b2f5ce211f/newroadsmarty
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
8 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. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.