“We all meditate, whether intentionally or not,” I heard someone say. Whatever you allow to enter your head and allow to linger will eventually become a part of your thinking, feeling and being.
Perhaps this is why King Solomon warns us to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). If you let in trash and corruption, it’s likely that the same type of stuff will flow out of you. Remy the rat puts it well in the film “Ratatouille”: “If you are what you eat, I only want to eat the good stuff!”
The hard part is…determining what is good and what is not good!
The Apostle Paul became one of the greatest preachers of the Gospel after having a revelation of Jesus Christ. He planted churches and stayed for years at a time in various places, teaching new believers, often working as a tent-maker. In his letters (known as Epistles) he encouraged churches he had been at and cleared up confusion about Christian life and conduct. Here he exhorts the Christians in Philippi to think about things that are true, noble, just or honourable, pure, of good report, things that are virtuous and worthy of praise.
The world was a bit of a dangerous and evil place back then, and even though we don’t live under the Roman Empire anymore, there are still things going on in the world that are horrific, and which don’t please God. The New Testament teaches that Christians should not participate in sinful acts, perversion or greed.
Earlier in this letter (Phil 2:15), Paul tells us to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people”.
James says a similar thing in his letter. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
Not an easy thing in our generation, where we are constantly bombarded with information – good and bad – clamouring for our attention.
Our heads buried in our phones, and the demand for every task to be done “instant”ly, causes us to miss out on the purity and beauty that God has placed all around us. We need greater discernment to understand what is good, valuable and truly worth our time and attention.
I’ve chosen to use aspects of springtime to visually communicate the words: trying to evoke the cleansing smell of blossoms, the opening up to sunshine and green things, to help create an atmosphere of warmth and homeliness, to remind people of their childhood perhaps, discovering the beauties of nature for the first time.
It was important for me to put the bird in. I feel birds are telling us something that God wants us to know, if we take care to listen.
There is a lot more I could say about this painting, but I think it’s best to leave it open…
The last thing that I’ll say is that for me, innocence is better than cynicism and this is why I feel it is important to have this Bible verse illustrated and in a place where my family can see it. The photo above shows it in the corner of our dining room, where it will stay until it gets sold.
“Whatever is true….” Philippians 4:8 Bible verse painting, watercolour on paper, beautifully framed
Price includes postage.