Wednesday, July 3, 2013

a study in Philippians 4: whatever is excellent or praiseworthy (part 10)

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. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Whatever is excellent or praiseworthy...

Yesterday, I was praying over what God wanted me to write about in today's blog, and I began thinking about my Christian life, and how, as a devoted woman, I am to be a living sacrifice to God. I considered the verses in 1 Corinthians 6 where scripture refers to my body as a "temple" of the Holy Spirit. I thought of how we, as Christians, do not belong to ourselves, but rather belong to Jesus who quite literally bought us with His own shed blood while dying on the cross.

I kept thinking about the word "temple"... and how the biblical temple before Christ's death represented the earthly dwelling place and home of God’s presence. You see, during the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in Jerusalem was the hub of all Jewish religious life. However, when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn and God moved out - never again to dwell in a temple made by human hands, but rather to live in the hearts of those who believe in His only Son.

While considering all this, I began thinking about Paul's charge to us in Philippians 4... to think about whatever is excellent and praiseworthy. How in this, he calls every Christian to seek the best in all situations and circumstances... to be positive and encouraging while motivating others with the eternal hope we have set before us. And it dawned on me that each of us (each believer redeemed by Jesus Christ) should be a joyful, warm "home" to others. Our hearts should be welcoming, comforting and uplifting - as one's own house should feel to a person. Yes, as living sacrifices, we should strive to present ourselves as a walking/talking retreat that houses the very presence of God within us and invites others to come inside and experience His love and peace... His gentle, quiet and nurturing Spirit... His perfect, honest, uplifting truths.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

To be a people focused on whatever is excellent and praiseworthy, we must be willing to exemplify the unfathomable love and eternal blessing of the Almighty God who abides within us. We must invite everyone we meet to come in and be restored... to enjoy the beauty of His exquisite kingdom... to feast upon the bounty of His rich table... to bathe in the soothing pools of His still and quiet waters. His magnificence demands all attention and adoration. His home is a house always clean and tidy... always relaxed and snuggly... always holy, holy, holy.

Ladies, I encourage you to consider how welcoming and open your temple door is to love the Lord God and others with everything you've got. I further encourage you to consider how true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable you have furnished your inner surroundings. Is your house a place that is aesthetically pleasing to the King? Is it residentially sound - standing firm and allowing God's goodness and grace to be pillars clearly seen by all who enter... or perhaps even to those who may walk by and poke their noses against a window? Are you one whose spiritual foundation is as appealing as a beloved friend with extended, open arms? One who nurtures and nourishes? One who respects and is thankful? One who sees hope, knows joy, lives free, builds up? I encourage you to forever pray, assess, and think over these things. Ask God to build His new construction within. Trust and obey His Word. Invite the Savior home to live, and be willing to always cater to His party and plan.

Yes, this is the day to become God's living temple! This is the day to showcase His excellence and praise His wonderful Name! This is the day to invite others into His happy, holy home! After all, home is where the heart is, right?

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:1-5)

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)



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