“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.” (Philippians 4:8)
We are to think upon things that have any virtue, any moral excellence, anything that is worthy of praise in the eyes of God. In so doing we shift our attention and focus off of the negative that the devil is trying so hard for us to think about. It is the nature and mechanics of man for him to walk towards what he is looking at and thinking of. God wants us to always think of things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report. He wants us to think upon things with any virtue that is praise worthy because we become our thoughts.
“Whatsoever things are true”: Truth is the, “reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter” (Vines). Truth is a constant. It cannot change or alter or it wouldn’t be true. Jesus Christ is the truth. God sent the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Ghost to fill, comfort and guide each of us.
“Whatsoever things are honest”: We are to think upon things esteemed and revered.
“Whatsoever things are just”: We are to think upon things upright, righteous, virtuous, that keep the commands of God
“Whatsoever things are pure”: We are to think of what is free from carnality, that which excites reverence.
“Whatsoever things are lovely”: We are to think of what is acceptable and pleasing
“Whatsoever things are of good report”: Things spoken in a kindly spirit, auspicious and uplifting.
By thinking of pure and virtuous thoughts, by focusing on God and His attributes we are not conformed to the spirit of this world but are renewed by the spirit of our mind in Christ. We excite the Holy Spirit with in. We become filled with the fruits of the spirit which include love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).
The devil wants none of this for you. He wants us to think of the negative, the bad and the ugly. This produces adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness and revellings (Galatians 5:19-21).
The devil is a liar and the father of lies. His only purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. Man will self-destruct if he concentrates on the negative. It inspires guilt, fear and irrational behavior.
It can be difficult to think of things of virtue and good report when life is entrenched with adverse situations. But this why the Apostle Paul was adamant when he said, “think on these things”. Get your mind off of the negative and the potential negative and get it on the positive virtues that God has to offer. We head towards what we think about. Think of God and follow His path towards Him.