"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8
To think on whatever is Right seems to be some kind of trick. It seems to force me to think about what is wrong first. Of course, Scripture offers us commands, examples, and descriptions of the Righteousness of God, and in those we can surely find some peace knowing He is Right.
But, in our daily lives, when what we thought was approved by God falls short of Righteousness, it's hard to know where to dwell.
It was especially difficult when the marriage I had thought was approved by God, quaked at the foundation, splitting in two. Half remained in Christ, and the other half chipped away to nothingness. The only thing that had me hold on is this very truth:
The approval of God is not dependent on how we mess up.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1John 2:1,2
Whatever is Right outlasts longer than when we fall short. When I dug through the rubble and remember that God had approved my marriage from the very beginning, I could rest firm in that foundation of Rightness, and find relief from the broken pieces.
Other definitions for the word, Right are: Just in the eyes of God; Correct; Righteous.
Dwelling on whatever is Right does not mean you have to be a Biblical scholar, though. I think there is something to be said for seeing His Righteousness in the ordinary things around us.
Dwelling on whatever is Right can mean looking for God's Righteousness sprouting up in the midst of brokenness and devastation. If I can look past the breaking places of my marriage, and dwell on whatever is Right--the kindness, the love, the forbearance, the faithfulness--then I am assured that God is still here fully, even if only half of this marriage declares it to be so.
"Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And your law is truth.
Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
Yet Your commandments are my delight.
Your testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live." -Psalm 119:142-144
That's the wonderful thing about God's righteousness. It brings delight. It overwhelms the cracks and breaks, and declares all things for His Glory (even if some things deny it).
Looking at all that's wrong is easy to do, but when we seek out whatever is Right, we find God. Jesus is our righteousness. And there is everything Right about that.
Have you found God's approval in a difficult season? How were you able to see past the wrong to the right?
**NOTE: I am putting the Whatever Is series on pause, and hope to pick up the rest of the devotionals in the near future! If you are subscribed to this website, you will receive notification of the next installment. Please let me know if you are subscribed but have not been receiving email notifications. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! **