Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. -Philippians’s 4:8-9
I have seen this scripture and ones like it taken out of context more times than I care to remember. It seems that some people like to highlight the part of God working things together while neglecting the fact that we have a part to play in this all. You hear this sentiment reflected in comments like, “If God wants it to happen it will”. That is just outright wrong! God is patient, not wanting any to perish without the knowledge of his Son, but it happens every day. Every day, people around us die and go to hell without accepting Jesus as Lord! Does that mean that God didn’t want them to have eternal life in the Son? Of course not, but they had a part to this equation that they did not fulfill.
Not all the work of our hands can be characterized as striving. God has called us to stand up and be counted as those that fill our minds with the best, not the worst, with the beautiful not the ugly. He has asked us to put into practice what we have learned! Why? Because it gives him the opportunity to then come along side and make all these things work together for the good. Don’t think for a moment that we can just sit around like slugs, living our lives without giving Him his due and still expect to be blessed and increased!
Father God, I want ALL that you have for me. Yet I realize there are things you have called me to do so that you can come along side. Help me to choose the noble and reject the ugly. I need you and the strength you provide for all this to come to pass… AMEN