October 27, 2022 – Thursday
Philippians 4:8 NIV
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
This came up today when I was writing to a young family member who just turned seventeen. I don’t know if you remember your teenage years, but I remember some of mine and that is a feat as I approach my 75th birthday in January 2023. I was not a Bible reader then nor a Christian, but there were times I could have used the direction in this verse.
This verse is in Paul’s closing in his letter to the church at Philippi. While this verse may be applied to Christians and non-Christians alike, it was surely intended for Christians. Let’s look at the preceding verses which are also very encouraging, 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I really like how Paul did not hold back in verse 4 when he wrote, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! You must appreciate how he repeated his exhortation to Rejoice by writing, I will say it again: Rejoice! He even ended it with an explanation mark! Of course, the original did not have an explanation mark (!) but it certainly seems appropriate as it is clearly an urgent restatement.
Returning to our verse of the day, 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things, how are we as Christians to take this, to implement this? Let’s look at the first word and the last four together, Finally think about such things. With all the places our minds might wander off to or that we might direct our minds to, Paul gives a very specific direction here, Finally think about such things.
And what kind of things are they that we can and should think about? Firstly, whatever is true and this would apply to the gospel of Jesus Christ at all times, anything else we would have to use discernment. Next is whatever is noble, and what is more noble than Jesus choosing to die for our sins on the cross. Others would be people who risk their lives for others. In the US military there is a specific honor for this called the Medal of Honor. Then there is whatever is pure, where I can think of nothing purer than God’s love for us, as so great is His love, He sent His Son to die for our sins so we would have the opportunity to go to heaven. Then there is the love of parents (not all parents) for their children. Love so great and pure that they willingly sacrifice for their children even when the children do not get it. Next is whatever is lovely where my mind goes immediately to sunrises and sunsets and watching birds on the bird feeder. So many wonderful and lovely things to look upon. Plus, this is the fall season here in Ohio, and the way God created the trees to burst into color as winter approaches is incredibly lovely. Then we have, whatever is admirable, here it would be so easy to go to a score of characters in the Bible, but for the young person I would want to make this a daily thing inside and outside the Bible. So, for me there would be the architecture of many buildings and the maze of bridges at some roadway intersections. I always find such admirable.
Then we come to the end, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. If anything is not listed and it is excellent and praiseworthy, then we are to think about such things. There are so many for me, but I will share one. It is called the astronomy picture of the day and I frequently post ones I really like on Facebook. Here is one I particularly like as I was involved in lightning research many years ago. One more here that shows how God creates incredible scenes for us to marvel at and enjoy.
Bottom Line: The Bible can provide plenty for us to think about, but God provides many other examples for us to enjoy outside the Bible as well. We can quote this verse and take a young person for a walk and point out those outside the Bible while mentioning those within the Bible.
Prayer: Almighty God, You have provided so much for us to look upon that is excellent and praiseworthy, help us to always see them and how they are a result of what You have supplied us with along with Your word. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton