Today's Word for Today

Monday 26 September

‘If anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.’ Philippians 4:8 NIV

‘Whatever’

To instruct us about how to feed our minds, the apostle Paul writes: ‘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.’ John Ortberg writes: ‘The striking word in that command is whatever. Our minds are being shaped all the time, but we have great freedom to pursue minds that flourish. As a bee that can find nectar in all kinds of flowers, we are now free – even commanded – to feed our mind on noble thoughts wherever we find them. The Bible itself commands us to look beyond just the Bible to feed our minds. Let us meditate for a moment on that phrase “whatever is lovely”. Think of something that is “lovely” to you. A sunset. A favourite novel…The face of someone you love. Music that makes you dance. Let your mind dwell there for a moment. Give it directed mental focus. You just obeyed the Bible. That “counts”. You just opened your mind a bit to the flow of the Holy Spirit…The Holy Spirit’s goal is not to get you really good at suppressing angry behaviour. It is for you to have a mind characterised by an ever-increasing flow of Spirit-guided, truth-based, life-producing thoughts and feelings. When we read about what is noble, when we see something praiseworthy, we experience what psychologist Jonathan Haidt called “elevation”. We actually feel a slight expansion in our chest; we feel lighter in our bodies. Our emotions are inspired, and we want to become more excellent ourselves. That counts as obedience to Scripture. That is spiritual.’