What is noble anyway?
It is a word that we rarely use in conversation nowadays. It is a term that we associate with old-fashioned class distinctions, or on occasion we might refer to a “noble pursuit”.
The words in the dictionary to define noble are words like:
special status; high moral qualities; dignity; eminence; magnificent; superior; excellent.
It denotes a sense of higher.
The verse in Philippians 4 asks us to think on “… whatever is noble …”
What does it mean to think about higher things?
It is so easy for me to fritter away my time on the computer. Clicking through link after link, filling my mind up with the trivial, the useless and the insignificant.
When things are higher they are harder to reach. That glass on that top shelf, or that last box of Christmas decorations at the top of the cupboard. These things require stretch, especially for a vertically-challenged person like myself.
Higher things take effort, and so it is with my thoughts.
It is surprisingly easy to lose hours in useless computer scrolling. It takes a lot more effort to focus my mind on things that are noble.
One translation of this verse says:
… whatever is honourable and worthy of respect …
That puts things in perspective.
The word ‘worthy’ implies a sense of value. Am I spending my time on things of value or not? Am I focusing my mind on things of value?
We tend to have this idea that noble pursuits are things like finding a cure for cancer, or helping those in extreme poverty. And these things are noble, but it can also be everyday ordinary things.
Keeping my mind on whatever is noble may be ignoring that text message for a minute or two, because I am in the middle of a hug with my eldest. It may be shutting down Facebook, but instead using my computer to write an email to a friend.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-technology, not even anti-social media. I am just very aware that while it is a useful tool, it can also be a time-wasting trap. With technology, as with anything in life, I need to be aware and intentional. I need to set my thoughts on things that are noble.
For me, those things that are noble are things that give space for connection and encouragement. They are the things that edify me and those around me. And I need to intentionally make the effort to think on these things.
join me on the journey,