Monday, June 6, 2011
This happens to me, too. It started a couple of weeks ago over on At the Well, a blog I read regularly. I used to be quite good about memorizing the Bible but got rebellious in my early 20s, and over the past two years, I have recommitted myself to this discipline. The memorization verse a couple of weeks ago was Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." A good reminder, and certainly a verse I should have in my heart and mind. And so I memorized it.
And then the conviction began. Rote memorization is one thing, but to truly absorb Scripture, one must take it deep into the heart, ponder it and live it. I meandered along comfortably for a bit and then a friend from home sent me an email in which she talked about contentment and she quoted this verse. Seeing the passage from Philippians again, I viewed it with new eyes -and a guilty conscience.
I try my best to think on those things that are right, pure, excellent and praiseworthy, but I also get mired down in the sad, sordid and petty of life. At my best I am sinful at best, after all. Sometimes I even get so mired down that I forget to think on those things the Bible tells us we should remember. I so easily go out to run errands and get so wrapped up in frustration over sitting in traffic in a hot car on a very humid day that I forget to think about things such as what a blessing it is that I even have the means to be out in a car buying groceries. Or, I hear others gossiping about the misadventures of another and I get so wrapped up in that tale of adultery, heartbreak, and the general tearing down of someone rather than thinking on subjects that would be much more praiseworthy and liable to build others up.
If I take this verse from Philippians to heart and compare it against my own behavior, then I have a reminder from God of what a sinner I am sometimes and that's a thought I find very sobering. Today, I saw that this week's Titus 2 project is to work on our thought lives and try to think on things that will build us up and make us more Christlike. And what passage is quoted in this week's assignment? You guessed it! Philippians 4:8. I'm getting these hints and this verse has been placed very strongly on my heart.
It has long been my passive desire to be more Christlike in my thinking, and to concentrate on those things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Now I feel resolved to be more deliberate about it and to fix my mind intensely on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, just as the Bible commands us to do.
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