“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about such things.”

// Philippians 4:8

My husband and I have a weekly date night. We have a pre-booked babysitter, so we are forced to have date night! After 12 years of marriage, we have finally learnt (with the help of a nudge from close friends) that if we don’t do this we will never go out on dates – the busyness of life, people calling for our attention, and other things will always take over and the health of our marriage will be at stake.

On a surface-level, these nights are pretty visionless, purposeless and ordinary. We laugh together, talk, eat! But we both realize they are the foundation for our whole life. If our marriage isn’t okay, then our family life isn’t okay, our church isn’t okay, and every area of our lives will be affected. Big doors swing on small hinges, I like to say.

If we are not spending time with someone, it is easy for our view of that person, our perception of that person, to become skewed. In many ways, time equals value. In the absence of communication, we leave room for misunderstanding. We can listen to other people’s opinions of that person or just our own doubtful thoughts, and before we know it, in our mind that person has become someone they are not – distant, removed, not the person we knew.

It’s the same with our relationship with God. When we stop spending time with Him in prayer, in the Word, getting to know Him, His character and who He is, it is then that our view of Him can become skewed. He becomes someone other people have told us about, or someone we have read about, rather than someone we have spent time with first-hand and have come to know.

When we come into the Father’s presence, His goodness, His love, His glory, His virtue and praise-worthiness are breath-taking and all-consuming. Of course, much like with our date nights, the battle is often in getting away and entering His presence; once we are there, there He is – and we are with Him, able to strengthen our relationship and just be together.

When we know the Father, we know His nature and when we see His goodness, His virtue, we see these same characteristics all around us. We see and admire His character in others, rather than criticizing, and we recognize His hand at work in both the magnificent and the menial alike. It’s then that we can focus on what we as believers are called to focus on: the good, the true, the just, the pure, the lovely, the commendable, the excellence around us; the things worthy of praise [Philippians 4:8]. The God-colors of the world become illuminated and we can see His character all around us.

// Pastor Georgie Kelsey