In Perfect Peace
“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, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
When was the last time you were able to take a moment out of your day to sit down in a quiet, peaceful place surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation and just breathe easy and let your body, your soul, mind and heart feast on the music of nature and God’s rhythm of life?
About a year ago I had such a time as this and it brought the greatest senses of refreshing and renewal to my soul and body that I had experienced in many years. Over 7 days I was able to unplug form the world’s noises and just contemplate the awesome majesty of God’s overwhelming creative glory, the sea by day and the dazzling shimmer of heavenly bodies by night, unhindered by the wash of city lights that hide the splendor of the stars.
In those moments of quiet reflection I was able to tap into an amazing force of deep awareness of God’s love and kindness, of His all surpassing greatness and the power of His omnipresent Spirit by thinking on the things He has told us makes for perfect peace.
Peace comes from God, and God’s presence always brings place. We can be immersed in perfect peace when we keep our minds stayed, fixed, focused, intentionally directed toward Him. In the same way as we think (with our minds) on these things we welcome, call, invoke, invite, reach out to embrace and be enveloped by God’s peace.
Whatsoever things are true — Embracing and contemplating truth is first, because all other things of life rest on that foundation. Jesus said,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32
Truth is found in God’s Word. So thinking on things that are true is to think on the Word of God.
Whatsoever things are honest – Honesty is closely allied with truth. It is an outgrowth of truth. Honesty is mostly referenced in the scriptures of the actions of men and women in relating to others, whether in commerce or in teaching, in teaching, in witness, in objective report, indeed in our way of life. To be honest is to be true to the truth, to the measure of span, the weight of gold, the purity of a diamond (precious stones), the testimony of a witness or the representation of Jesus to the world.
Whatsoever things are just – Justice is fundamental to the nature of God. It, like honesty, is also closely associated with truth. Sometimes the words are used interchangeably, a just weight, a just measure, just balances [Lev. 19:36]. Just is also a noun. The Just shall live by faith. We who are Christ’s are the just. The just are those who have been justified freely by God’s grace. [Romans 3:28] Things that are just are things that are true to their design and purpose, things that are without alloy or imperfection. God is just because His judgments are true and consistent, unchanging and one with His nature. Things tat are just are things and people consistent with the way, the will, the purpose and and the person of God.
Whatsoever things are pure — By now you have probably begun to see a pattern. Things that are pure, like things that are true, honest and just, are things that are untainted, free from all impurity, free from alloy or imperfection. Purity, Honesty, Justice and Truth are all qualities of pure things. The terms may be applied across the spectrum of meanings found in each one of them. Purity has no mixed inclusion in its make up. Pure water, pure silk, pure gold, pure oil and a pure heart are a few examples.
The Word of God is pure.
“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Psalm 12:6
Pure things don’t fail under pressure or change in the midst of the heat.
Whatsoever things are lovely
— these include the beauty of God’s creation, the excellence of character mixed with grace and charm, attractive, compelling, awe inspiring as an expression of God’s infinite beauty form the simplest to the grand and majestic. To be lovely is be delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace.
“How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! Psalm 84:1
Whatsoever things are of good report— Good report and good reputation go hand in hand, because each is the measure of accomplishment, sacrifice, production, achievement and historic significance for the greater good of all. Things of good report are first and foremost the works of God. They are also the sacrifices of true heroes, the discovery through arduous and faithful pursuit of truth despite persecution, intimidation, resistance and the works of darkness to prevent it. [See Hebrews 11] Things that are of good report are things wherein righteousness triumphs over wickedness and evil, over injustice and the madness of hate, over wonton anarchy and senseless violence and destruction. Good report is the wisdom from above.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17
If there be any virtue, any praise— Truth, purity of heart and motive, nobility of cause, humility, graciousness of attitude, unselfish distribution of resources to protect and defend the poor, to show compassion to the needy, all these are evidence of virtue. Honesty, integrity, sacrifice, obedience to God and His Word, forgiveness, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, brotherly kindness, edification, comfort, faith and love are all virtuous and praiseworthy.
As we choose daily and moment-by-moment to think on these things, we open our hearts to be kept in perfect peace. Take a moment to breathe deeply and rest in the presence of the Lord with you.