The Apostle Paul wrote this letter we now call a book from a prison in Rome. He wrote it to the believers in Philippi. He was encouraging those believers to watch for false teachers, to choose joy in all situations and how to live in the midst of persecution.
The words we’re focused on today come right after Paul’s words about having God’s peace that surpasses human understanding.
Significant to note is that he declares again that he is writing to his brothers and sisters. Other believers. This is not something we can expect from those who are lost. They don’t understand (1 Corinthians 2:14).
He also declares this is “one final thing.” He is winding up his letter, but wants to be sure he gets this message across.
The Philippians were Roman citizens, but that didn’t stop the persecution for those who chose Jesus as Sovereign. They lived in very tumultuous times. Life could be terrifying. Then there were those who came into the church as leaders, but their teaching was false, filled with lies.
Paul didn’t say don’t be afraid. He didn’t say run for the hills. He didn’t say fight back. He told them where to fix their eyes. He told them upon what to think. He knew that when our eyes and mind are focused correctly, our heart is as well and we don’t fear the threats of the world and we see the false teachers as they are.
This seems so relevant to today, don’t you think?
With protests and riots and disagreements every day, when believers are called names, the nicest being “stupid,” when social media is filled with vitriol-filled rants about the roots of who we are, it’s very difficult to keep one’s thoughts straight. Our hearts vacillate between hurt and anger.
These words of Paul tell us in our here and now to fix our thoughts somewhere else.
That word “fix” doesn’t mean repair in its use here. It means to make firm or stable, to give a permanent form to.
When we choose to fix our thoughts someplace, we are creating a permanence for our minds and our hearts. Believer, do we want that permanence to be on the vitriol or on the Savior?
No, this doesn’t mean we’re to become Pollyannas, either. It means we see what’s out there, we recognize the danger, the hurt, the anger, and we choose to place it squarely in God’s hands (as if we ever held them in ours) and move our focus to the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
We can look at and observe what is going on in the world. We might even join the conversation – only if we can keep our words and attitude Christlike. BUT, our focus must be on the things Paul described.
Follower of Jesus, hear me well, if you’ve jumped into the fray of politics and protests with both feet, giving as good as you get, you might need to confess and repent of that. That’s between you and the Holy Spirit. May He show you what you need to do. If He says to change, it’s so good to know that when we confess our sins, God hears and forgives and cleans us up from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9.)
There is only One who is completely
That means our focus must always be fixed on Him. We don’t run from the world, we don’t hide, but with our focus on Him, we live in such a way that the world asks how on earth we can do that (1 Peter 3:15). Then we get to tell them about our Savior, our King.
Time to zoom our mind-lens in on Jesus today, huh?
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
© 2019 Faye Stoeffler Bryant