Monday, July 1, 2013

a study in Philippians 4: whatever is lovely (part 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. 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 lovely...

I love the word "lovely". Just like the word "grace" it sounds so classy, doesn't it? I love how it encourages the idea of special endearment and at the same time honors true beauty. Scripture often uses the word "lovely" whenever it portrays someone who is pleasing to the eye. So here, Paul is encouraging the church at Philippi to think about whatever is delightful and pleasing in the eyes of God? Of course, this is especially important to us as Christian women because we all want to be thought of as lovely and beautiful in the Savior's sight.

But what does God view as pleasing and beautiful? The answer is laid out in Romans chapter 12:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

Yes, God sees our worship and obedience as lovely. He views our genuine sacrifice as a holy, pleasing, and proper offering. As such, we are considered beautiful to the King of kings when we joyfully demonstrate on the outside our exclusive devotion to Jesus on the inside. So, what does loveliness entail? Read on in Romans 12...

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Ladies, to be lovely to God, we must receive and worship His only Son, Jesus Christ. For His Way uses our worship to overcome evil with good. That's incredible, isn't it? We are actually called to productively overcome evil with His good! So, true beauty is demonstrated through our living sacrifice, and (as we learned earlier in this series) sacrifice and obedience to God will always lead us into righteousness. Not only are those who believe saved and becoming new creatures in Jesus Name, but when we choose to submit every word and every deed over to the Savior, we become part of His eternal, loving solution. God literally uses us to display His love in action. What an honor, right? For the kingdom of God is a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, "because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:18b-19)

Throughout the Bible, we see this quality of loveliness in those who remain pure and closely aligned with God - those who understand how important His mercies should be viewed and sought after. You see, Jesus has freely given everything to us that we don’t deserve: love, grace, peace, joy, faith, comfort, hope, wisdom, patience, strength, security, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, intercession, freedom, etc. Those who know and accept His truths can't help but acknowledge and share His incredible love with others. We can't help but worship with our very lives. For His worship is what we were always intended to do. This is why man was created by God and for God. As such, to be seen lovely in our Creator's eyes must include Christ's merciful restoration so that we may be useful in fulfilling our kingdom purpose. With His beauty and grace, we are compelled to praise and worship Jesus' Name while outwardly reflecting His perfection. How cool is that?!!!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Can you hear Paul's call to first think about rejoicing in the Lord always and then second to demonstrate His lovely Ways through our sacrificial worship? For God's mercies are new every morning! So, let's live for Jesus rather than for ourselves! Let's live as part of God's perfect, everlasting solution rather than waste moments feeding a selfish agenda. This is the time to renew our minds in His Word and share the truth of a noble, righteous Redeemer. This is the day we must run away from sin and abide purely in our Master's eyes. Yes, loveliness is precious to God because it demonstrates true, visible love in real, human time. So, let's become sincerely lovely and hate evil. Lets cling to what is good. Let's honor others and keep our spiritual fervor as we surrender ourselves and become super models of His gorgeous, gentle grace! For our God reigns eternally supreme!

This is the day to think about such things! WOO HOO!

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)



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