Follow The Sign Posts

Jon Burgess


“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


The Apostle Paul is speaking to a primarily Greek culture. You can imagine he really had their attention when this letter was read to the Philippian Church and they heard the word "virtue" included in this list of what should consume our thought life. We read the word virtue in our English language and think nothing of it. "Virtue" totally sums up whatever is true, venerable, just, pure, etc. However some study revealed that this was the only time Paul used this word in his letters. This was a word with overtly pagan roots used in a spell among Greeks. It was a word in their culture that was meant to call people to a higher level of living and away from their baser nature. Was Paul saying we should use pagan spells? Of course not. He was redeeming the culture by using language they all knew. He was saying that when we take the best and most noble aspects of morality in secular culture we can follow it back to its source which is not paganism, but God Himself. Virtue starts in Christ. It was just hijacked by paganism along the way. No matter how many times a spell of virtue is repeated it won't bring the transformation the heart seeks. Only Jesus can bring the freedom and virtue the heart longs to exhibit. What I'm learning from Paul here: "look at your culture and see the praiseworthy and commendable actions and you will find a road back to the One who made you. Think, meditate, examine these good things honestly and follow the sign posts back to the Savior."


Why is this? How can something that isn't Christian lead you to finding Christ? Why would Paul encourage us to think on these things? King Solomon put it this way, "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of Gods work from beginning to end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The beauty of art, music, prose, and creation itself become sign posts back to the source if we are willing to think it through. The humanist view would have us believe that we are the source of all that's good in this world. That answer, however, leaves those who are honest with a hallow feeling. James 1:17 makes it clear, "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." Just as a freeway sign saying "Honolulu next exit" doesn't mean I'm actually in Honolulu, these signs God has placed around us are leading us back to Him. I could stop at the Highway Sign and declare "I'm home", but I would be wrong. To stop at art, music, prose is to stop at the sign post. To "think on these things" is to follow the sign posts to the source of our salvation. It's how Paul could boldly walk into Athens Greece in Acts 17 and declare to a very pagan culture very dedicated to false worship that he knew personally the name of their "unknown God" (vs 23). He would then go on to quote a famous pagan poet they would all be familiar with "For in him we live and move and have our bring. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring" (vs 28). What's Paul doing? He's pointing out the sign posts in their own culture that explain the ache of eternity in their hearts. He's telling them, "think on these things" and they will inevitably lead you back to the One who made you. Jesus put it this way, "seek and you will find."


I'm so thankful for the Fathers love this morning. It's my anniversary and You made sure that didn't miss the one You had for me though I was all over the road. I think about all the ways over the years You called me to think on that which was noble, just, pure, lovely and virtuous so I could steer clear of the pitfalls and fall in love with Cyndi. Even more so Your extravagant love for us and all mankind puts sign posts and markers all over to call us back to Yourself. Thank you for Pastor Wayne and New Hope that have formed a Christian culture engaging a wayward culture by redeeming the culture through Christ! There are sign posts all around pointing people back to You!

Devotions for June 15

1 Kings 16
2 Chronicles 15,16
Colossians 1

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