Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I never cease to be amazed at how I can read a verse that I’ve read many times and all of a sudden I see something that I’ve never seen before. This week I was reading in Mark 4, where we have the story of the woman with the alabaster box. She was reprimanded for wasting so much money on costly perfume, but Jesus commended her and said that what she had done would be told wherever the Gospel was preached.
What the critics were saying was correct. That money could have been used to feed the poor. But instead of agreeing with the critics Jesus saw the good thing that the woman had done. For myself I see that this is a place where I need to work. I am often like the critics who are quick to point out what is wrong with this or that.
In the second chapter of Mark there is another story, which I may have mentioned at another time. Jesus is teaching in a house and some people come carrying a crippled man on a bed to Jesus, but when they get to him there is no way to get into the house where he is. So they climb up on the roof with their friend on his bed and break through the roof to let him down on his bed through the hole that they have made.
In verse 5 it says an amazing thing “When Jesus saw their faith…”; Now try to imagine that this was your house and a bunch of guys have just broken through your roof to let someone down on a bed. What would you see? I would probably not see faith. But that is what God desires that we see.
As I was looking at this and seeing how I need to grow much more I thought about the verse in Galatians 5:24;
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
As I was looking around there I saw the list of the works of the flesh and I noticed that in the midst of things that nearly everyone would agree on are things like hostility, quarreling, outbursts of anger, dissensions and divisions. As I thought about these things it dawned on me how easily I become angry and raise my voice because I am irritated. I saw how I want to separate from others because they don’t see things as clearly or correctly as I do.
And so I see once again that there is work for me to do. I must work to have the exhortation of Philippians 4:8 living in my mind until it becomes living in my life. Whenever I see where I fall short I rejoice because God has shown me confidence to open more of the way of salvation to me so that I can be conformed to the image of Jesus.
Let us each learn more faithfulness.