All month long, we've looked at Philippians 4:8:
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.
In my opinion, Paul saved the best for last. Since I was a teenager, I've taken various forms of the Spiritual Gifts test, and the gift on my list that finishes first every single time is encouragement (also called exhortation).
Every time I meet someone for coffee, when I lead Bible study, when I teach our church kids, when interacting with people online, in meetings, and when I type out words on my laptop, I want people to walk away knowing they are doing praiseworthy things. Indeed, they are praiseworthy because they are children of God.
To the single parent who is doing the work of two people;
To the pastor who preached an entire sermon, but keeps getting emails about that one statement people took offense to;
To the woman who didn't get her Bible study homework finished (again);
To the writer who received another rejection letter yesterday;
To the child who wasn't sure they wanted to attend Sunday School that early on a Sunday morning;
To the friend who feels like she's not doing enough for her family;
Our enemy delights in making us feel like we're not doing one thing that is praiseworthy. That's not what I see though. I know it's not how God sees things either. Listen to what Paul writes to the church in Galatia.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. Galatians 3:27
Do we have a long way to go? Sure, we all do. Sanctification will continue our entire lives. But when God looks at you, he sees someone praiseworthy, because he sees you clothed in his son.
As we interact with one another, keep that in mind. We need to be teachable, always asking God to make us more Christlike, but when God looks at you, he sees you clothed in his son.
How would we live differently if we looked at one another, ourselves, and dwelled on what was praiseworthy? It doesn't mean we never point out things that might need attention. But if our focus, the place where we let our minds dwell, was on praiseworthy things, how would things be different? What if we really got this? Can we live as if we know God finds our attempts to live godly lives as praiseworthy? Would living this way change your marriage? How about the effect living this way would have on our parenting skills? What about in your workplace?
The Holy Spirit is good at his job, and he'll do the convicting. Let's take the advice Paul offers in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica:
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11
If we choose to dwell on things worthy of praise, before we know it, people might start living into that truth in mighty ways.
This is the final post in my October series, #dwellonthesethings. Here are links to the previous articles: