The practice of meditating on the Word will be most beneficial for right thinking, because when you are meditating on the scriptures your mind is occupied with right thoughts. And the scriptures will also guide you in what else to think about in the world besides the scriptures. One of the passages that specifically tell us that is Philippians 4:8. Here Paul outlines for us seven things we should think about; or I think we could also look at it as seven qualities or virtues we should seek out and think about in different things in the world, such as in people, books, movies, and institutions.
But we are not to just casually think over them; the word translated “think on” or “meditate on” (logizesthe), suggests more than just thinking. The word actually means to take inventory, to reason, to reckon, and to esteem. Adam Clark suggests that…
I suppose we could say that each person thinks on the things that he does each day. We think about what we do, or what we plan to do, or what we hope to do. And along the way we are forced to think on the decisions we will make; will I do this or that?
For those of you who have a job, you are forced to think about what you do in your job. And for you who work around machinery, you’re thinking process had better be clear. And for you scientists, we all hope that your decisions are well thought through.
And for all you who are not working, and retired, you are freer to think what you want. You are not so restricted; that is, no one is telling you what to do, how to think. That is where I am. I do a few painting jobs, and so I have to think about how best to paint and please my customers. Yet I do have more time off, and so I can choose what I want to do and what to think on. And of course, that carries with it a greater responsibility. I am accountable to God as to what I think on.
That leads me to what immediately came to my mind when I began this post. That God has told us in His word what He wants us to mainly think on, or to set our mind on. I thought of two verses. First, in Colossians 3:2 it says, “Set your mind on things above, not on the earth.” Of course, God knows that we have many things we have to think about in our day-to-day living; but He was referring to what is more serious—having to do with our values. We are to have holy thoughts that are of His will and purpose. Our thoughts are to be free from sin and corruption, which God despises. We see that in verse 5. Our thoughts are to be free from fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness.
A second verse is Philippians 4:8. Here is a list of things God wants us to meditate on: things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Here it seems that God is telling us that we have a responsibility to choose what we read and hear and to dwell on; only those things that are good and pleasing to Him—things on this list. I think there are many things in this world that are worthy to think on, but it is up to us to find them. What movies do we see? What kind of books do we read? What kind of people do you hang out with?
Here’s one for me. What radio programs do I listen to as I work? I think I am guilty of listening to too much political junk. And I have been reminded lately that there are some very good bible-based programs on at the same time. So, I must make better choices.
As far as weighing all the things I think about during the day, it’s one thing to make myself aware of what’s going on in the world, yet another thing to take responsibility for what I set my mind on (Col. 3:2-5). And now that I am thinking about it, if we set our mind on things above, then and only then will we have a clean mind to be able to think clearly about governmental things, political things, world view things, etc. I think we can see how many who have been in Congress so long have corrupt minds. I think everyone in any government position ought to have term limits.
If a Christian gets away from meditating on the word of God and the glories to come, and if he or she becomes too involved with the way of the world and with government things, he can become very depressed and burdened down. On the other hand, if you feel called to serve in government or in any community position, I think that is a wonderful calling. But, like Daniel, who was a gifted servant in that area, he knew that he had to spend much time in prayer every day. He had his priorities straight.
We live in an evil time and in an evil world. Like Daniel, we must keep ourselves in prayer before God. And we must, as Paul has written, set out mind on things above. It is up to us to saturate our mind in the word of God and meditate on the word day and night (Josh. 1:8). Let His word be your guide at all times. I love Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” And in Psalm 119:97 it says, “oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Again, in verse 103 it says, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”