Paul’s words in the fourth chapter of Philippians, verse eight are
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Fernando Ortega excerpts a portion of that litany of goods and he also quotes from the Book of Psalms, chapter 19, verse 14, with the title and refrain in his song, “Let the Words of My Mouth.”
These remarkable words, from both places in Scripture, one Old Testament, the other New, are even more amazing and beautiful when set to this beautiful melody. Please, even if you stop reading right now, listen to the song.
I first heard this song months ago on Pandora. I asked Alexa who the artist was and she dutifully responded with the artists name, as well as with the name of the song. I wrote it down so I could look for it later. It took me probably a year to finally hear it again, once again on Pandora on our Alexa, and then Google search for the Youtube video. The link is below.
It is a wonderful praise song, and also a great meditation song. So let’s meditate on what Fernando and the authors in Scripture were focusing on with their words. In Psalms, we find a prayer, “Let the words of my mouth be pleasing to You.” That’s a plea that God will find our words worthy of Him. Of course, as mere human beings, we would fall short when addressing the Perfect and Complete God, but because the author yearns to speak in ways that are pleasing to God, the prayer is answered. Not unlike a loving parent who thinks any babbling sound the baby makes or first incompressible words the baby utters are the most amazing noises ever to be orally produced by a person in the history of personhood, so God delights in our utterances, our feeble attempts at grandiose words, or just our inadequate prayers because we are mortal and imperfect beings. God does not care if we fall short of the mark with the quality of our words spoken in praise of Him. He loves it all because He loves us with an unquantifiable, unconditional, unfathomable love. The very fact that we would ask that our words be pleasing to God make them pleasing to God. He knows our hearts, our intent, our desire. Though we can never adequately express what we want to tell God, He knows. The trying is the doing in our Father’s eyes.
The list of the things we should “think on,” contemplate, meditate on, focus our interest and thoughts on, is another tall order. It’s really about prioritizing our lives, spiritual and material. Paul is trying to encourage everyone he’s addressing to live the life that is worthy of the Sacrifice of Jesus. Why think about things that will lead us to destructive behavior or unhealthy, even sinful acts? We don’t need any help in that arena! Think on good things, which all come from God. The true, the lovely, the right, the pure – these all come from God and in that light can only illuminate our minds and hearts till they shine so brightly, they attract others’ attention. And then we’re not just placing ourselves in God’s presence, we’re bringing others to Him, as well.
Listen to this song and make it your prayer. When dwelling on the good that God gives us, we will find we are more peaceful, less anxious, more positive, less critical. And then those moments when we see flaws in others will be times to pray for them and not to critique or mock them. We can shine brightly with the hearts and minds God graces us with, filled with truth, goodness, and beauty. In a word, filled with love.