Philippians (14): Practicing Mental Renovation

Date: 10/28/2012
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Mind
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Philippians (14): Practicing Mental Renovation

Philippians 4:8 (my trans.) - Last of these [encouragements], beloved, [in such problems] envision whatever is true, what is honest, whatever is right, what is pure, whatever is lovely, what is admirable, [see in this] what is excellent and glorious.

The Process of Mental Renovation -  In ch. 4:2-9, Paul is counseling the Phil. on the steps and actions which result in peace (v7,9), a repeated theme (2Th 3:16, 2Cor 13:11, Eph 4:3, 1Th 5:13). The series of actions urged to bring about peace (v7) are to: a) be glad v4, b) be gentle v5, c) be prayerful v6, and d) be hopeful even in conflict v8.

The Power of Mental Renovation - Just as he calls for exchanging worry for specific prayers (v6), he provides another exercise for mental renovation: Be hopeful. In conflicts and times problem, our minds are tempted toward spiraling into thinking the worst of everything and everyone. St. Paul calls us to actively and positively “logizomai” (account, impute, reckon, “see” or envision 1Co. 13:!1) by envisioning the true, good and beautiful in difficult situations.

The Progression of Mental Renovation - We are urge in v8  to progress on a mental/imaginative path. We are to think about what is first true, then honest, right, pure, lovely, admirable and to “see” any excellencies and glories. It starts with truth, but ends with glory. Thus it begins with accepting reality (truth) and concludes with worship (giving glory). These can be categorized as three sets of two related qualities which culminate in two related superlatives. The first two relate to Truth (true-honest), the next two relate to Good (right-pure) and the final two relate to Beauty (lovely-admirable). These six reduce to the familiar classical virtues of true-good-beautiful which are all glorious-excellencies, high virtues.

The Practice of Mental Renovation - Think of a problem and begin using these tools and forms. “I am having trouble with [situation or person] because [problem]. I am praying about this with gratitude for my/our salvation, knowing God’s exceeding power to bring change and seeing many mercies in the situation. As I think through this problem. I am disciplining my mind to envision the glorious excellencies of what is true, good and beautiful in this.”

Worksheet for Problems/Conflicts
Truths about this situation: _________________________
Outcomes of truth this situation reveals: ______________
Goodnesses about this situation: _________________________
Outcomes of goodness this situation reveals: ________________
The Beautiful in/about this situation: _________________________
Outcomes of beauty this situation reveals: _____________________

1) I accept the Truth - It is true that ________and I honestly see that _____________.
2) I reckon the Good  - It is good and right that _________ and there is purity in that ___________.

3) I perceive the Beauty - It is lovely and I love that _____________ and it is admirable that ______________.

4) Therefore, I can see it is and may become more glorious that ______________ and to You belongs the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more