Nick Poindexter

My style's like a chemical spill

Tag: Philippians

What You Seek You Will Find

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
-Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

Do you consider yourself a negative person? One who habitually leans toward the “glass half empty” side of things? If so, I have another question… What are you looking for? Let me give you an example scenario…

Are you always nasty and argumentative with your spouse? If you are looking for reasons to be angry toward your husband or wife, you will find them. Annoying habits and traits will rise to the surface. You will jump at any opportunity to be critical of a mistake or error. You will dissect every word they say, giving you justification for your hostility. When it comes down to it, what they do will never be good enough.

The reasoning is simple: what you seek you will find.

In other words, if you want reasons to be pessimistic throughout your life, you won’t have to look very far. And the converse is true. If you want reasons to be optimistic, they will turn up everywhere as well.

And what we input into our minds, whether positive or negative, has a direct influence on our words and actions. Our thoughts do matter.

That’s why Paul’s instructions here to the church of Philippi are of utmost importance. He gives a list of 7 qualities and charges the reader to “think about these things.” Paul’s suggestion is not to search for the bad in anything and everything, but rather to focus on the things that are worth our attention in the first place… Things of honor and excellence.

We are challenged to think God thoughts.

That’s not saying it’s a simple process. That way of thinking is not an instinctive response in my opinion, so we must re-program our mind to discover what is good and pure. It takes time, but as we pursue the qualities that Paul mentions it will change our natural outlook on life, people and even God himself.

So what if instead of ragging on your husband, you turned your attention to the commendable things he does? And what if instead of bad-mouthing your wife, you zero in on the praiseworthy efforts she makes? You know what would happen… Your perspective and attitude would change.

And that’s the point. What you fill your mind with will eventually spew out. So make sure the overflow is of things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. Those things are present, as they have always been, I promise you.

You control the destination of your mind. The question, once again, is what are you looking for?

Because what you seek you will find.

Consider Them Skubala

If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.  But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
-Philippians 3:5-9 (NIV)

Near the end of Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi, he calls out those who were teaching that you still must follow the Old Testament laws to be saved, particularly the custom of circumcision. Their beliefs were rooted in pride however, as they couldn’t come to terms with the fact that all of their law-following was now for naught and that everyone who believes in Jesus as Christ was now equal in the eyes of God.

Paul quickly puts them in their place as he shares that if anyone had a reason to brag about what they had done, it was him. He was circumcised as a baby, from a prestigious tribe, a strict law teacher, a passionate persecutor of Christianity, and a devout follower of all the law. To Jews, his credentials were flawless.

But then Paul drops the bomb. He declares that all those “accomplishments” are worthless when compared to knowing Jesus. Specifically, he says they are “rubbish”.

However, many Biblical scholars believe that a word like “rubbish” sugarcoats the real, intended meaning. The original Greek word used is skubala, which would have been considered offensive and vulgar. That is why some translations instead use slightly more disturbing words like “dung” (KJV), “dog dung” (MSG) or even “turds” (WYC)!

Why the shocking language from Paul? His point was that, in the end, all his successes didn’t matter. Compared to Christ, they were nothing more than filth and waste.

Not to be gross, but when babies poop, you immediately change their diaper. When you step in some dog dung, you immediately clean and wash your shoe. When you do a #2, you immediately wipe and flush it away. Clearly, excrement isn’t something you brag about… Rather, it’s something you avoid. It’s completely disgusting. There is absolutely nothing commendable about it! Matter of fact… The bigger the pile, the more it stinks.

It doesn’t matter who your family is, what church you attend, how “good” or “religious” of a person you are, or the massive distinction and status you’ve built. Consider them skubala.

It’s Jesus plus nothing.

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