Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
I heard a lecture the other day about this. The speaker asked the crowd if they wanted to live in joy. Everyone said, “Yes,” and he proceeded to recite this verse.
He explained to the crowd that God has given us what to think about, he’s given us what to pray about, and lastly, he has been very clear about what we must practice. One of the first places most of us give away our peace is with other people. We think things, say things, and practice things that go against what is truly in our hearts, we give away our joy and peace.
To live in joy and conserve the peace in us, we must begin to change this. The next time you are in a tough spot and you’re going to give out some harsh words, remember this, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.” He has spoken of the thinking that will save us. He has given us the thoughts to think. He has given us the prayers to pray. He has told us how to practice his love.
Next time you are upset, ask yourself if what you are about to think and say will fall under these filters. If it does not, stop. Think, pray, and then practice what he has asked instead. Shape your words and actions to be true, to be noble, to be pure, to be lovely and admirable. This is how you live in joy. This is how we keep our peace. This is how you practice God.