Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What to Think

Devotion: Philippians 4:8-9

One of the dangers of confronting sin is that it becomes the center of our thought. As a pastor, both personally and professionally, I have seen the danger of focusing on sin by either trying to excuse sin (while the Bible may say "No" to X, when I do X, it is not a violation of God's revealed will) for whatever reason or concentrating so thoroughly on the turning away from sin that the more important part of repentance, the turn to God is forgotten.
Whether one glories in sin by indulging the flesh or focuses on sin by seeking its eradication, the result is the same--sin is the center. This simply will not do for the sinner redeemed by Christ.
"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." -Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
In contrast to the centrality of sin, the Apostle Paul told the Philippians to think on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable, adding excellence and praiseworthiness. Further, as we saw in an earlier post, the Apostle puts himself forward as a positive example. What is being commended is not merely positive thoughts for hard times, but rather a rewiring of the brain as a practice. We concentrate not on sin (in any way), but rather on the one who is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy, i.e. our Triune God.
Joy and peace come when we receive what we desire and we tend to focus on the object of our desire with almost singular attention. The call, then is to place the focus on God in whom we delight and find that His peace washes over us. Who can you encourage today? What sin can you confront and turn back to your focus upon God?

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