"If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." — Philippians 4:8
What do we like talking about more—good news or bad news? How much of our conversation includes hashing over bad things going on at work or in the church? If we are honest, we might have to admit that bad news not only travels fast but can also dominate our minds. True, sometimes we are eager to share good news: to announce an engagement, a wedding, or the birth of a child. But pondering the ugly is more common. Bad news and conflict sell more news, the experts say.
Paul wants the Philippians to concentrate on what is admirable, lovely, pure, excellent, and praiseworthy. Yes, there are plenty of bad things to ponder, and we have to deal with them. But let’s try, Paul urges, to focus on what is good. Let’s try to spend long stretches in our conversations pondering beautiful things from all kinds of angles rather than hashing over bad stuff again and again.
Paul must have been pretty good at this himself, since he holds himself up as a role model. But the point is that it brings us peace to fill our minds with all that God has made lovely and praiseworthy. Pondering what is beautiful leads to gratitude, and we all know that grateful people also tend to be very content, peaceful people.
Be that way, Paul says. It is the best way to live before the face of our generous, loving God!