Our Christian life should be lived with some eagerness to please our Lord; some fervor and zeal. That eagerness and fervor should be accompanied by some intentional activity. Titus 2:14 says we should be “looking forward for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (NKJV). The New International Version translates those last words, “eager to do what is good.”
Following Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:8 provides us one intentional activity to inform and encourage our “eagerness to do what is good.” Paul implores us to think about these things: whatever things are true . . . noble . . . just . . . pure . . . lovely . . . of good report . . . and any virtue . . . and anything praiseworthy.
In my September 23rd blog, titled “Context Matters”, I suggested that Philippians 4:8 is an exercise involving these aspects of the Christian life:
- Practicing contentment
- Practicing gratefulness
- Counting our blessings
- Honing our core values
- Contemplating righteousness
- Anticipating eternity
Contemplating righteousness is that 5th aspect in the list. How often do we thoughtfully and keenly consider what is good, right, and righteous? If we do not ever take time to have deep thoughts about what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy, how can we honestly profess to being “eager to do what is good?” Vance Havner, a well-known 20th century preacher, said, “It is high time we learned that in this nerve-wrecking, maddening modern rush, we have let the spirit of the times rob us utterly of meditation, devotion, rest, the passive side of our Christian experience without which we cannot be truly active to the glory of God.”
Havner’s words are even more needed for Christians in this 21st century. We must not let the day rob us of private devotion, contemplation, and meditation. When we do, our Christian action, attitude and commitment to do what is good, suffers. Our Lord Jesus commanded, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).” We stoke the fires of fervor and zeal to do good when we engage our hearts and minds in contemplating righteousness.
From the privacy of our prayer rooms, where God’s Spirit and Word lead us to understand what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy, the Christian emerges with a brighter light. We step out into a world that needs to see God at work in the lives of his followers, doing what we have contemplated in private, “eager to do what is good.”