Feb. 24, 2021 - Auspicious

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable..." (Philippians 4:8)

I am coming to the close of Philippians 4:8 and looking back I'm beginning to think (1) I'm either completely out of touch with the meaning of certain words, (2) I am a kindred spirit with Paul's audience who were scratching their heads trying to apply this as well, (3) or Paul deliberately chose words that force you to think and ask questions. Perhaps all three are true.
I have a fairly wide vocabulary. I can write without using the same words over and over and over and over. I discovered that great Thesaurus button on my computer a long time ago (actually paperback before the "machine" came into existence). "What is another word for...?" Brilliant resource for anyone stuck on the word, "COMMENDABLE." Like me...

You dummy, Dan, it means, "Auspicious." Everyone knows that.

Let's make it really simple. "commendable" means something that I can commend (note: not "recommend" although that might be true; and...a "no no"...you can't use a form of the word to define it). Stink.

Well, okay, it can mean "admirable." Is anyone else trying not to say the title of the highest ranking naval officer. I'm laughing at myself right now as I still can't seem to get the correct word out my mouth.

So something "commendable" means, something or someone that I admire, or I ausp...auspic...auspici (with a long "i" sound at the end)...okay, I'm just making up words now. I'm not sure any of this helped.

I admire people who are disciplined. I admire people who are successful at work and at home, at sports, who have an ability to create beautiful artwork. Boy, this sounds a lot like sinful envy. I'm pretty sure that this isn't where Paul wanted me to go with my thoughts.

I'm using another word but I still don't know what it means. Does it mean, "highly respect"? It could. Does it mean, "desire to be like or to do?" Perhaps. Perhaps we are getting closer.

To "commend" something is to "present something as suitable or acceptable or with warm approval."

A myriad of things are crossing my mind right now from restaurants, clothing, songs, and plumbers. But I found a couple of verses that have challenged me on this: First Peter 2:19 and 20b.

"For it is...commendable..." wait for it...you won't be expecting it..."if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God."

Down to verse 20b, "But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is...commendable before God."

I'm starting to think that "commendable" is like a gift, something that you present to someone that is, in this world, unexpected, but will change your life...and theirs.

To suffer unjustly because I am aware of a greater good, a greater God in my life, is like giving God a present, a gift - one He warmly approves. It pleases Him. And it is a gift to others - a gift that gives them a picture of what is important to God.

And now I'm starting to formulate a different list in my mind.

Suffering for what is right before God when it may cost me dearly.

Standing up against what is wrong in God's eyes.

Living for the benefit of others for God's pleasure.

Avoiding sinful pleasures and worldly entanglements.

Dying to myself so that Jesus can live through me.

These are things that my flesh fights against. Things that I wouldn't normally run to as desirable nor as an advertisement for drawing people to Christianity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "Christianity is about bidding a man to come and die." Not a popular slogan on church letterhead. Perhaps it should be.

I guess what I'm saying...to be very clear...I want my actions before God and others to be warmly approved. I want them to "auspici" me. (with a long "i" at the end).

Think on these things.