Rev. Dr. Nathan M. Butler, Sr. RCG Community Church

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Php 4:8 NIV

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 favorite 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 behavior. It is for you to have a mind characterized 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.”