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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Practice the truth of the gospel in your daily life.
We are coming to the end of an incredible letter, written to a community of people, who are being encouraged by a man in prison, to choose joy- to keep themselves aligned with the good news of the gospel and to stay in unity. Philippians is a book of great encouragement, tenderness and joy, and as Paul concludes his letter I feel like whatever he chooses to say here is of utmost importance. And what does Paul encourage these people to do?
To PRACTICE their faith. To allow the gospel to take over every area of their lives, including their minds, and practice what it means to be a blood-bought son or daughter of the Most High.
Practice is a weird word here- but if you think about it, it makes complete sense. We have to practice things that we don't normally know how to do. Before you became a licensed driver, you had to practice with mom and dad. Before becoming an incredible athlete, you must practice, again and again. Paul is reminding us that we will not automatically know what it means to live into the reality of the gospel. So we have to practice. We have to give ourselves time to practice our new identities as children of God.
Do you know what it looks like to practice being a child of God? Do you know what it means to direct your very mind to the things of the gospel instead of the things of the world?
It means that we believe we are loved. It means that we walk in hope. It means that we endure with joy. It means that we trust.It means that we fight for unity. It means that we seek eternal things instead of earthly. It means that we guard our hearts. It means that we rest in the accomplished work at the cross. It means that we enjoy a relationship with our Heavenly Father. What would it look like for you to think thoughts that are saturated in the gospel? I bet those thoughts would be more true, noble, pure, lovely, praise-worthy, excellent and way less hopeless, full of deceit, despairing and self-centered. What would it look for you to practice the truth of the gospel in your everyday life? I bet it your whole life would be filled with a lot more peace. Because the gospel is good news. The gospel puts Jesus on the throne. The gospel sets us free.
So my friends, let's allow our minds to be changed by the good news of the gospel. Let's practice our faith by believing that we are deeply loved and known and freed from sin and shame. And let's experience, together, the peace of God being WITH us.
How would your thoughts change if they were saturated in the good news of the gospel? What is one way you can practice your faith today?