What Christians Should Dwell Upon

Posted on March 30, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Cynical Times
These are nasty and cynical days in which we live, and it is almost impossible not to get caught up in the nasty and cynical affairs which make it so. Politics is nasty and cynical. The media is nasty and cynical. People can often be nasty and cynical.

And of course sickness, weak economies, and rising unemployment numbers – all repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic – add to the nasty and cynical state of our minds.

As Christians, however, is this what God has called us to? Are we to join the unsaved world in wallowing in nastiness and cynicism? Of course not. Romans 12:2 tells us: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” So yes, we are to be concerned by what happens in this world, but not to lose our minds over it as those who do not know Christ.

Of course, this is a negative admonition – something we should not do. What about something positive? In these nasty and cynical days, does the Bible give us direction in how we should occupy our minds?

It indeed does!

What to Dwell On
The apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8 instructs us: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

The Greek for “dwell” is logizomai – an oft-used New Testament word which means “to reckon,” “to count,” “to compute,” or “to calculate.” Implied here is not something to which we toss a few seconds of thought, but those things we take more to heart; those things which occupy greater space in our brains.

Of course, we can choose to logizomai on politics and disease, but God would rather we not. We can think about them, deal with them, and react to them, but we are to put them into the perspective of being blood-bought children of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to “be anxious for nothing,” but “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (v. 6).

Instead, we are to logizomai upon those things which are true, honorable, right, excellent, and worthy of praise. Notice that Paul doesn’t tell us what these things are, but as Christians, we should be able to determine these things with our “spiritual minds.”

What fills the “true, honorable, right, excellent, and worthy to be praised” bill? For one, how about the Bible? We should be filling our minds with God’s Word. And how about God-honoring Christian music? My vote’s on that one. Perhaps some of the great classic literature and music the world has produced over the centuries such as a Shakespeare sonnet or a Beethoven sonata? What about life-affirming movies from the past 100 years? Chariots of Fire and Ben-Hur are way up on my list. And, of course, there is far more which believers regard as true, honorable, right, excellent, and worthy to be praised. (Feel free to list any you have in the comments.)

Philippians 4:8 should be a particularly dear verse to believers as it “gives us permission” to not bury our minds in the negative. There is much good and beauty in this world God so loves, and He would have us dwell on these. May His Word dwell richly within you (Colossians 3:16) as you navigate these dark and difficult days in which we live!