Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
This week I had a discussion with a friend and they were talking about how they desired to speak in a way that people would receive them. Like me, they feel like people do not receive them because they come off too harsh (just blunt). Their heart (and mine) is to say these things out of love and to point others towards Christ. There is no ill intent, just to make it plain.
Here is what I stated, and what I have to put in front of myself, we are all responsible for how we receive. Why is Paul making these statements on how to think? Paul has sent harsh letters of rebuke. He has sent letters of encouragement. He wrote the most quoted verses on love. Preceding the verses above he talks to the church about being anxious and worrying. He encourages them to live a life of thanksgiving to God. He tells us that we need to guard our hearts.
God created us with the personality that we have. When we draw close to Him we should grow in integrity and character. My character (moral nature) will align with His. My personality, the parts that make me unique to me, He loves. I do not need to try to be like someone else.
A few years ago I was going through a hard time with someone in the work place. I had led a meeting with our group about seeing value in each other, using the above verse. A couple of weeks later tension rose up again and one of the employees confronted me that she just did not like me. I asked her if she could see me through Philippians 4:8 and her response was that she could not. Being a Christians non-profit, this was not a good environment and I should have put in my notice, but I loved the organization. At that moment I realized that because of my personality she did not like me. Nothing I did was wrong. Now I could have done one of two things, I could beat myself up and sulk about not being a likable person or I could walk in confidence and knowing who I am in Christ and that the love walk means that although they may not like me I have value and so do they. I would like to say that I did the later, but the next six months were miserable there.
This is what I told my friend the other day, and what I wish someone would have said to me, are you speaking out of genuine love and and a desire to see them grow? If yes, then it is up to the one receiving to think on what is true, what is of value and what brings peace (especially if they are a brother and sister in Christ). We should be thinking of each other with the expectation that we want to see each other grow. We should challenge and encourage each other. It is the challenging part that we may not like, but we really do need.
Paul was not always liked, but he was what the people needed. You are too. You make an impact because of Christ in you. I am thankful for you and that God created you just the way you are.
Father, I thank you for creating me just the way that I am. I thank you that you put people in my life to challenge me and to encourage me to grow. I am rooted and grounded in the love of your Son, Jesus. I choose today to see the statements made to me, that encourage me to grow, as true, as honorable and worthy of respect I choose to confirm them by your word. I choose to see my bothers and sisters in Christ as pure and wholesome I choose to think on whatever is lovely and brings peace. Those that you have placed in my life are admirable and of good repute. There is excellence, there are areas worthy of praise and I will think continually on these things. You have implanted love in my heart and I thank you for opportunities to implant them into others.