I am no woodworking pro. People who know me know that I make Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor look like Bob Villa. One thing I do know, however, is that the best way to make sure something is square is to use a carpenter’s square to check your work. Our eyes can deceive us. We can put two pieces of wood together at a right angle and convince ourselves they are at 90 degrees to each other, only to find out that when we check our work using a square that we are off by a few degrees. Continue to work without checking for “squareness” and your entire piece will end up wrong.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul gives his readers what they need to think on in order to keep their hearts and minds right with God.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
We don’t need Satan to get us misaligned. We do that well enough on our own and just like an amateur carpenter with two pieces of wood, we can convince ourselves that everything’s square when it’s not.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25).
This is why Paul gives us this grocery list of things that we should be thinking on to keep us on a right path. I’ve said this before, when dealing with addicts who are trying to overcome an addiction, we tell them don’t concentrate on quitting the addiction. Concentrate on God. Why? Because it’s hard to concentrate on things that are bad for you when you’re meditating on the things of God. Meditating on God is a supernatural sin repellant!
That kind of counsel is not limited to addicts. When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was not writing to struggling Christians. He was writing to a strong church that was already on a right path. What does that tell us? It tells us that the only way to stay on a right path is to constantly check to make sure we’re still on it.
A good carpenter is always checking his work to make sure it’s square. He also lives by the adage: “Measure twice, cut once” because the best way to keep your work right is to always go back to some form of objective measure. Our own perceptions can deceive us. We can convince ourselves that just about anything is right or okay. Only the objective measure of God’s Word can really tell us if we are right or wrong.