For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
December is finally here. The familiar chill of the season is back in the air. I'm still waiting for the snow though; waiting until the streets are flooded with the glorious white glow of a winter's day. I'm not used to waiting this long.
I've found myself very inspired lately by the actions of the people around me. I don't know if people are really being more active around me, or if I've just become more perceptive to it, but in any case, it's gotten to a point where I can no longer avoid becoming these people to some extent. When you read about or hear of people who live more purposed or meaningful lives, it can be inspiring just to get that sense that there actually is a better way to live. But to physically see these people around you; to interact with them, even to feel loved by them...that's another thing entirely. It's no longer just inspiring. I'm compelled to become someone worthy of their influence.
So I guess that's what the scripture is doing up there. It's Phillipians 4, by the way. Paul wrote it to his brothers in Philippi when they were watching him take all kinds of torture and abuse for what he was doing. The letter was telling them that they didn't need to worry about him; that there's gratitude to be found in any situation ("Rejoice always, give thanks in everything"), and this little passage was some insight into what they could dwell on in order to be actively representing Christ. Which is essentially where I stand right now. So thank you, Paul.
I'm going to have to find a way to keep these thoughts in my mind. Each of the bolded words can be individually dissected for meaning and meditated on for understanding, and I think this is what I have to do. And the better I get at finding and recognizing each word, the more I will take on at a time.
But here's the thing: not only am I learning to recognize these forms of excellence in the world around me, but in recognizing them I am dedicating myself to taking inspired action in their wake. If I see something worthy of reverence, instead of just accepting it or appreciating it, I will make sure whoever is responsible knows that their efforts aren't going unrecognized. If I see something that is lovely, or lovable (that is, 'able to be loved'), I will train myself to see this as an open door. This is where I bring love.
I guess it looks alright on paper, but I feel like there's some key element of practicality that's still missing from my goal.
I suppose I'll find that practicality in the same place I found the drive to do this in the first place.
Those I sing alongside. His excellent harmonies.