As Followers of Jesus We Must Focus Our Attention
Paul encourages the church in Philippi to focus their thoughts (Philippians 4:8). We should do this too. But what should we think about? Fortunately, Paul gives us a list. We are to pursue these ideas.
Think about Whatever is True
First, we should dwell on the truth. This refers to God’s truth as opposed to the world’s lies. As a source for what is true, let’s start with the Bible.
Think about Whatever is Noble
Next, we should celebrate what is honorable, upholding moral values and not letting immorality sway us. We should push aside the world’s anything-goes mentality to embrace God’s call to right living.
Think about Whatever is Right
Third, we are to acknowledge all that has merit. This means shoving aside everything that lacks value, which pulls us away from God’s call to righteous living.
Think about Whatever is Pure
Next, Paul encourages us to fixate on what is wholesome. While the world dwells on what is impure—often celebrating it—we shouldn’t sink to their level. Instead we should claim clean thoughts. We celebrate purity and refused to let immorality drag us down.
Think about Whatever is Lovely
Fifth, we can reflect on what is beautiful. By dwelling on the attractive elements in this place God created for us to live in, we tune out the opposite. By doing so we honor God—and his lovely creation.
Think about Whatever is Admirable
Next, Paul’s passage directs us to consider what is laudable. From God comes the commendable. As we pursue admirable thoughts, we push aside the interruptions and distractions of our world.
Think about Whatever is Excellent or Praiseworthy
Last, we are to deliberate on all that is exceptional and worthy of praise. This pushes aside considerations of what is less than ideal. It saves us from distractions of what doesn’t warrant our attention.
As we follow Paul’s instructions and contemplate on these God-honoring ideas, we focus our attention on what is worthwhile. To do this we start by holding every thought captive to render it obedient to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Thinking only God-honoring thoughts isn’t a once-and-done endeavor but a lifelong pursuit. We may never fully realize complete success in this area, but each step we take to achieve it is a step toward the life God calls us to—a life worthy of Jesus and all that he’s done for us.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.