In 1826 a French lawyer named Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” Some years later, the anthropologist and philosopher Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach observed, “Man is what he eats.” Ever since then, people have been saying, “You are what you eat.”
Paul takes this idea even further. He does not say that you are what you eat, but you are what you think. To put it another way, Paul’s basic assertion is that those who hope to live Christianly must first learn to think Christianly. He identifies seven major characteristics of this way of thinking. The Christian way of thinking is marked by truth because it is shaped by Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). This way of thinking is noble. It involves patterns of thought and describes a way of life that is worthy of respect. This is because the way of Christ is also the way of righteousness. Those who have been made righteous through God’s grace learn to live uprightly.
Because the Christian way of thinking is based on the truth of Scripture, it can also be described as pure, lovely, and admirable. Throughout the ages, the teachings of Christ and the Christian way of life have been admired by millions. As Paul puts it, they have seen the Christian way of thinking as excellent or praiseworthy. This has even been true of the church’s enemies. The second-century theologian Tertullian observed how the pagans marveled at the early church and said, “look...how they love one another.” Christian love is one of the church’s most convincing arguments!
>> Do you want to learn how to think this way? Paul’s strategy is simple: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (v. 9).
Set our minds on things above, Lord God, and not on earthly things. Strengthen us to put into practice whatever we have received or heard or seen in You. Like little children, we seek to imitate You.