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. Philippians 4:8
We’re given at least eight different kinds of thoughts on which to fix our minds as alternatives to the stinking kind of thinking to which many of us are accustomed. Last time we talked about the “whatever is true.” Next Paul lists “whatever is noble,” by which he refers to things or people that are honorable, things that own a certain dignity.
This world is full of outright dishonorable things toward which our lower selves are attracted, like the ocean tides to the moon. Then there are those things that, while they may not qualify as utterly shameful, don’t quite fit the description of honorable. They’re neither dignified nor ignoble, but generally speaking lack any life-giving quality.
Filling our thoughts on things honorable may sound stilted and predictable, but how many utterly trivial, shallow, and nonsensical matters use up our brain cells everyday? “There’s a time to weep and a time to laugh.” We could stand to make a little more room for thoughts more honorable.
I mean how many YouTube videos of cats playing pingpong can you watch in a row without your brain going to mulch? Or how profound can your thoughts be during an eight-hour video game marathon?
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 1 Corinthians 14:20
How inane are the things that we permit through the portals of our minds to take up valuable space. I know this sounds like the ranting of an old man stuck in another time. At best this is the musing of someone who notices the gradual shallowing of our culture.
Oh how the thought of God attracts
And draws the heart from earth,
And sickens it of passing shows
And dissipating mirth!
‘Tis not enough to save our souls,
To shun the eternal fires;
The thought of God will rouse the heart
To more sublime desires. (From The Way of Perfection by Frederick W. Faber)
The only other two times this Greek term for “noble” is used it the Bible it refers to people who are “worthy of respect.” Maybe a good place to begin cultivating noble thoughts would be to bring to mind a person or two for whom you have great respect, and why. Of course, begin with Jesus, the noblest of all humans. Then search your mind for others who embody some of the same qualities and meditate on what it is that makes them so honorable.
So, take a few minutes right now and soak in one or more things that are noble and see if it doesn’t right your flight for the rest of the day.
Stay tuned for “Ruminating on What’s Right”