Whatever Is Honorable – Think About These Things
Whatever is honorable? That doesn’t seem to be a word that many understand. So, how do you think about things that are honorable?
For the citizen of Heaven, life on this earth is a battle. Our sin-cursed nature constantly tries to grab us away from victorious living. But we do not always notice the hostile attempts as we are silently lulled into a comfort zone that counterfeits peace. We long for a battle-free zone and therefore rejoice at any hope of rest. But we must be ever vigilant but not discouraged.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.1 Peter 5:8–9 NLT
As we concentrate on our thinking as directed by Philippians 4:8, we may believe that our focused efforts can all be summed up in thinking “whatever is true.” Undoubtedly, that is an overarching theme; however, Paul adds to the thinking list “whatever is honorable” (NLT, NASB, ESV), which is also translated as “whatever is noble” (NIV, NKJV, NIrV), “whatsoever things are honest” (KJV).
How Do You Define Honorable?
In our American culture, the concept of the Greek lemma semnos is challenging to grasp. After all, one who is “serious, grave, dignified, majestic, respectable”1 is often mocked. As we shout tolerance for all, is it acceptable to label someone as “not deserving blame or criticism” as the dictionary defines honorable? How does the person on the street define honorable? Are they consistent with their speech and actions when it comes to defining noble? Is there a standard of honesty? The tide has turned, and our understanding of semnos is dim.
So how do we think “whatever is honorable” when the circumstance leaves us floundering? How can we clearly see what is noble when the cultural context disdains such behavior? When we focus our lens of truth on viewing what is honorable, we must acknowledge that God sets the standard. We can see a noble lifestyle exemplified in the life of Christ. Only as we follow in His footsteps can we think and choose to demonstrate His honorable character. The models of society cannot enlighten the path to what is respectable. Because He is the epitome of majesty, it is only by keeping our eyes fixed on Him that we may keep our minds set on “whatever is honorable.”
God’s Perspective Changes What Is Dishonorable
We must view situations from God’s perspective. In the wake of every dishonorable circumstance is the prospect of God sovereignly redeeming us from the harmful effects. The evil intent of Satan working upon us through people’s sinful actions provides an opportunity to know Christ more profoundly. Painful situations allow us to connect with Jesus most desperately as He redeems us from our difficulties. This sovereign grace asserts that the impetus for our most productive ministry arises from the foundation of our most significant pain. God strategically works in our hearts to prune away all that hinders the branch from being the most productive.
Because Jesus is the epitome of majesty, it is only by keeping our focus on Him that we may keep our minds fixed on “whatever is honorable.”
Prayer Pattern to Think About Whatever Is Honorable
Lord, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, help me throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let me run with perseverance the race marked out for me, fixing my eyes on You, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before You, You endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Remind me that You endured such opposition from sinners, so that I will not grow weary and lose heart.based on Hebrews 12:1–3
This blog post is part of a series on Philippians 4:8. Dig into each description to determine how to think about these things from God’s perspective.
- Think About These Things from God’s Perspective
- Whatever Is True – Think About These Things
- Whatever Is Right – Think About These Things
- Whatever Is Pure – Think About These Things
- Whatever Is Lovely – Think About These Things
- Whatever Is Admirable – Think About These Things
- Whatever Is Excellent – Think About These Things
- Whatever Is Praiseworthy – Think About These Things
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1 Ceslas Spicq and James D. Ernest, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), 244.