Have you ever watched a sporting event, and you said to yourself, this team is better than this! Why are they making so many mistakes? Recently while watching one of my favorite pro sports teams, I said just that. I remarked out loud that the reason they were losing (badly) was they were playing like they had forgotten all their training and conditioning. They had forgotten what they had learned and relearned throughout their careers. Their focus was elsewhere and it showed not only in the mistakes that were being made, but the final score as well. Nobody is perfect; we all make mistkes. But is it possible to live with less of the mistakes in life that bring negative consequences? Absolutely! That is the premise of Paul’s “whatever” statements as he writes the church at Philippi. This gem of a congregation that Paul is so proud of, is having problems. Like every group will from time to time. Paul uses his own situation to remind them that they need to refocus and remember what they have learned. His loving admonition begins with “Whatever is….” and proceeds to outline the things that they should focus on. He does not just leave them with a laundry list of things to do, but gives them the key to following his instructions. Pray without ceasing, stand firm in the Lord, don’t worry because God has your salvation taken care of. This allows followers of Jesus to focus on what is true, and honorable, what is pure and just, what is pleasing to God and what is excellent. When we use the tools Paul suggests that we all have in our toolbox, we can overcome anything. Not that our lives will be all rosy; Paul himself is writing from prison and does not know if he will be released or executed. Yet Paul writes in the hopefulness that he has found in Christ and in the promise of resurrection and new life in Christ. So the list of things that we can focus on, things that are true, honorable, just, pure, are a means of discovering the peace that passes all understanding. We have been given this training, we can overcome through the one who strengthens us. We’ve got this. Let’s go!