Philippians 4:8, our verse for the month, is in a small paragraph with just one other verse. But at first glance, they seem a little choppy and unrelated. However, if we look closer at the entire paragraph we begin to see the connection between the two ideas mentioned:
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. 9 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.
In verse 8, Paul is encouraging his readers to have a God-focused thought life. But, verse 9 seems to just say, “Follow my example.” Both are nice concepts, but how are they related? One clue is that he begins with another “whatever”. All of the “whatevers” in the first verse are the things we should be filling our minds with. However, this final “whatever” takes us to another level. It moves past the life of the mind and out into our practice - how we live our lives. He is saying, “don’t just sit there thinking about all of these lovely, pure, excellent things, but live them out.” He is saying, “look to my own example, and live in truthful, noble, right ways - the ways you have seen me live.” Wonderfully, when we live in these ways the promise at the last rings true. The “God of peace IS with us.” He is manifest in our lives, inhabiting not just our minds, but our actions as well.
Want to go deeper? Learn more about Philippians 4:8 here.