“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.”
Paul gave the believers in Philippi, and by extension us also, a wonderful remedy for anxiety and a troubled spirit. He instructed Christians to come to God in humble, persistent, heartfelt prayer. “Be careful for nothing,” wrote the great apostle, “but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Here we have the clear promise that if we will come to God sincerely, humbly and with gratitude, God will adjust our heart positions and protect us from crippling anxiety and discouragement. God alone can and does make the changes in us that need to be made. Even so, we have a God-ordained part to play in our own mental and emotional health. It is our job to pray sincerely and faithfully. As today’s verse instructs us, it is also our job to manage what we set our minds on. Paul’s instructions to us in this regard are both profoundly simple and yet wonderfully effective. If we want to enjoy genuine and lasting peace in our hearts and minds, then we must resist the world’s relentless attempts to draw our attention away from that which is good in the eyes of God. We are to purposefully fix our attention on that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Things of this sort still exist in our world, though they are becoming rarer with each passing year. As the darkness around us deepens, however, these things will become more obvious to us, shining like stars against the night sky. Even as we consider the adjectives listed above and seek to set our minds on such things, let us remain ever mindful of the fact that in Jesus, all these things come to maximal expression. Jesus not only spoke the truth, He is the truth (John 14:6). No one is more just than He (John 5:30; Acts 3:!4; 7:52). No one is as pure (1 John 3:2-3). He is altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:2), maximally virtuous (Matthew 5:30) and worthy of our highest praise (1 Peter 4:11). When we look to Jesus and consider Him (Hebrews 12:2-3), we are contributing to our own spiritual health and well-being. Meditating on the Lord is the fulfillment of today’s verse passage. When we do so we are protected from weariness and discouragement. Beholding Jesus through the eyes of faith, we are transformed into the same image (2 Corinthians 3:17-16). Comfort yourselves with these words dear saints, and be encouraged!