Verse of the Day Devotion: Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Have you ever just sat somewhere and thought about something that was bothering you, or caused you pain? Or maybe someone hurt you or did you wrong. It is easy to just sit and reflect on these things, but it is not healthy to do so. Do you think you are alone during these times? You know you are not, for God has promised to be with you. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. We must remember we are never alone, and that He will bring us through all that happens. In fact, He goes ahead of us to address these issues. “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8.
Because He is with us at all times and goes ahead of us to protect us, we will be fine. And the fact He knows all things corroborates this idea. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9-10. So, if God has everything take care of, then our thoughts should be elsewhere. We, as Paul states in our focus verse, must keep our thoughts focused on good things and not allow ourselves to worry or think about things that are not worthy to dwell on.
Paul says there are eight things to look at to determine if something is worth contemplating. Lets look at each of these briefly and see what God desires us to focus on. First, whatever is true. Not what we want to, or wrongly believe is true, but what is true. Whatever God has declared as truth is what we need to focus on, not necessarily what man declares as truth.
Second, whatever is noble. That which is honorable and worthy of respect: honest words of a reverent nature. Many things are not worthy to be talked or thought about. However, what is should be where our mind is focused. Third, whatever is right. That which is defined by God and His character as right, not what we deem as right based on our understanding of the word. In a broad sense, thoughts that are upright, righteous, virtuous and in keeping with the commands of God. Fourth, whatever is pure. This word pure has as its original meaning that which had been sanctified for the temple. A related word that has similar meaning is holy.
Fifth, that which is lovely. This does not refer to the outward appearance, but what is inside. It has the connotation of that which is dear and amiable; that which is pleasing to address, such that one can love thinking about it and not something that is contrary to Christian thought and beliefs. Sixth, that which is of good repute or report. This speaks of things that are thought of as good by pretty much all in the world. These are virtues which all people agree are commendable, such as kindness, respect for parents, purity between brothers and sisters, as well as courtesy.
And the last two, if there be any excellence or praise. Paul knew he had not given a complete picture, which would be difficult to do, so he gives two overarching thoughts. First, if there be any excellence. Another way to express this is virtue or moral excellence. If there was anything that had the nature of true virtue in it should be looked at and adhered to. And lastly, anything that was worthy of praise such as incredibly good deeds, or that ought to be praise such as God Almighty.
These are the things we are to think about and focus on. I encourage everyone, and I include myself in this, to spend some time studying this verse and if there are areas where we need to adjust our thinking, then ask God to help you in this process. Get rid of those things that are not listed here and focus on those things that are. There is peace and joy that floods our being when we do.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.