Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is:
“Whatever, Dad …”
My teenage voice echoes in my head every time I hear the word, ‘whatever.’ I said it so many times in those seven years of my teenage life that my Dad eventually started to call me, “Whatever.” It became a family joke. The first time one of my children say it to me will be gut-breakingly funny! Paybacks always come that way …or so I’m told. Whatever.
This month’s verse is followed by a string of ‘whatever’s.’ Let’s take a look at the second half of Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” Philippians 4:8b (NIV)
Determining “whatever” is a common challenge, but the author of this verse enlightens the principles we should be steering our thoughts towards. Paul knew that whatever “people allow to occupy their minds will sooner or later determine their speech and action. ” NIV Notes.
“Whatever is true…” In the original Greek text, ‘true’ is the Greek word, ‘alethes.‘ It means “loving the truth, speaking the truth, truthful.” More than simply honest inclinations, we are called to be an outstretched arm of Truth, Himself.
“Whatever is noble…” Other translations use, ‘honorable.’ God’s character holds the true definition of what is honorable. God is good, all of the time. His timing is perfect, and He is fair and just. He is Love …and Honorable.
“Whatever is right…” Strong’s Concordance defines “dikaios“(the Greek word for ‘right’) as “a way of thinking, feeling, and acting that is wholly conformed to the will of God.” Jesus was the only one worthy to walk out that definition. When we want to think about things that are right, we can look to the way that He lived His earthly life.
“Whatever is pure…” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary says that innocence is“not be limited to sexual purity,” but that we should “keep away from any involvement in the sins of others.” Purity is self-restraint and resisting peer pressure.
“Whatever is lovely…” “Just give me more of Jesus,” an author said when asked what new writers should base their content off of. What is more lovely than Grace? Grace that died on a cross for us before we knew Him. When we know Jesus, we begin to see reflections of His loveliness in each person we meet.
“Whatever is good…” God is good, all the time. To meditate on goodness is to think of Him.
“Whatever is excellent or praiseworthy…” The best way to think about excellent and praiseworthy things is to praise Him. Worship in song or in still admiration of the sun rising puts God’s glory on display. The primary task of humankind is to give this praise to God (Phil 4:8) and not oneself- Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary
“Whatever” is filling statement. It leaves no room for dispute and shuts the conversation down. It can be an open invitation to listen, or a closed door for consideration. Our minds fill up with God’s Words when we are listening to ‘whatever’ He says. Others benefit from Jesus’ love when our arms are outstretched with ‘whatever’ He wills for our lives.
When we meditate in conversation with God, He fills our thoughts with ‘whatever.’
The Voice translation uses the word ‘meditate,’ which lends more depth to the sentiments we consider thinking about. To meditate is “we witness the “beauty and truth” that God instructs us to “fill our minds with” in this month’s verse.
Father, Praise You for teaching us so much through one word. Thank You for so clearly defining what we are to think about, speak of, and listen for. Forgive us for the times we don’t hear Your voice because we aren’t listening. Bless our thought-life to reflect Your love. May the Spirit that Jesus died to grant us access to be ever-present in our conversations with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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