“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Paul, in the final chapter of his letter to Philippi exhorted his readers, (the brethren) fellow Christians to keep their minds focused on a few things. The fist thing he mentions is the truth. The only place complete and unquestionable truth can be found is in the Bible. Some people would actually say science – what they often don’t realize though is that scientists are always changing their minds. First, they say the earth is a little over 5,000 years old. Sir Isaac Newton attested to that. Then another scientist said – no! the earth has to be more than 10,000 years old, then yet another 100,000 years, and another 500,000 years and so on. All historical science is like this, it’s a matter of opinion. My point is, since the Bible has proven itself to be true through every test known to mankind, I’ll rely on its truth, which is the only truth.
Paul then exhorts us to focus on thing that are honest. Honesty seams to be dying in our society. Fake news, little white lies, bold face lies and so on are becoming normal and almost accepted. Paul and I agree that truth and honesty should go hand in hand and be focused upon in every situation.
Paul calls us to focus on those things that are just. Thing that are just and those seeking justice are struggling today too. When the Mayor of New Your City forces a bill through into Law that gives abortionists permission to kill babies up until the moment they are born, we know there is a problem with our system of justice. The just thing to do would allow a baby the chance at life. We really need to focus on things that are just and push them forward as God’s agenda and our own.
We see Paul also asking us to focus on the things that are pure. This would include many things, like chastity, integrity, truth and other things that separate (sanctify) us from those that sin on purpose.
We also see Paul mention those things that are lovely, from the Greek word prosphilē meaning acceptable and pleasing. That’s kind of slipping from our society too, but let’s think about the beautiful mountains, the beach, amazing vistas and waterfalls and lovely things like that. The love of God and our home in Heaven are additional lovely things we can focus on.
Paul asks us to focus on things of good report, (commendable or admirable). Things like we’ve already mentioned, truth, integrity, honor, kindness, charity, etc. These are great things to focus on as we strive to be the best we can be.
He finished with virtue and praise. Virtue is very under rated in out current society, but it is so important. From the Greek word aretē meaning excellence or virtue. Striving for excellence without expecting perfection is something everyone should strive for. Above all we should praise the Lord for all he has given us. He is truly praise worthy. These are the things we should think on every day. In the world we’re living in that can be tough, but well worth it.